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Movie Tavern to Open New Theater Complex in Flourtown

19 Jun 2014, 1:59 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate editor

Three years after opening its first location in the Delaware Valley, dinner & cinema chain Movie Tavern announced plans to expand its footprint in the area with a second theater in Montgomery County’s Flourtown, a small community in North Philadelphia.

“We are very excited to bring Movie Tavern to Flourtown, as part of our plan to increase our presence in the Philadelphia market after we found such tremendous success in Collegeville,” said John H. Hersker, president and CEO of Movie Tavern. “We look forward to providing families in Flourtown and surrounding cities the movie-going experience they deserve with offerings that merge both cutting-edge technology and modern convenience with great value.”

Movie Tavern - Collegeville location

Movie Tavern – Collegeville location

The Dallas-based entertainment company broke ground on an eight-screen theater facility at the Flourtown Shopping Center located at 1842 Bethlehem Pike. According to a previous report by the Montgomery News, the site was formerly occupied by a Giant supermarket that relocated into a larger building behind the shopping center in December last year. The 36,000-square-foot new Movie Tavern is set to open at the end of 2014. The movie complex will have a capacity of 1,000 seats, with four screens located in the front of the location, four in the back, and a promenade down the middle. Just like the Movie Tavern Providence Town Center in Collegeville, the theater will feature a full-service bar and restaurant area located at the entrance, as well as luxury reclining loungers in every auditorium and all-reserved purchase seating.

Located at the intersection of Bethlehem Pike and West Mill Road, the 160,000-square-foot Flourtown Shopping Center has been owned owned and managed by Federal Realty Investment Trust for more than three decades.


Image of Collegeville location courtesy of Movie Tavern

Philadelphia 76ers will Finally Have Their Own Training Center, But in Camden

12 Jun 2014, 12:53 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The Philadelphia 76ers will break ground on a new practice facility and headquarters building along the Camden waterfront in New Jersey.

The team, which is one of the oldest franchises in the National Basketball Association and yet the only team that doesn’t have a dedicated practice facility, has been training in a rented space at the College of Osteopathic Medicine in West Philadelphia since 1999. As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Sixers’ initially wanted to build a 55,000-square-foot facility with two basketball courts, locker rooms, lounge space and broadcast center at the Philadelphia Navy Yard where the team has administrative offices, but that plan fell through.

After having investigated other relocation options, the Sixers eventually decided on a site located near the Adventure Aquarium and the Susquehanna Bank Center and filed for incentives with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). Following EDA’s unanimous decision to grant $82 million in tax credits over the next ten years, the Sixers announced this week they will break ground on their very own training center in October this year.

At 120,000 square feet, the new practice space will become the largest and most advanced facility in the NBA, and will house the team’s basketball and business operations staffs. The massive development project is scheduled for completion in June 2016.

“It is imperative we are able to provide our players, coaches and staff with the resources necessary for success,” said Sixers co-Managing Owner David Blitzer. “This facility—the size and scope of which will be unmatched in the NBA—will allow our team to make great strides on and off the court as we work to join the league’s elite.”

According to the Sixers’ announcement, the new training center in Camden will be developed by Philadelphia-based AthenianRazak, while INTECH Construction will serve as the project’s construction manager. Jacobs Global Buildings Design is listed as the architect of record, and Threesixty Architecture will be the consulting design architect.

The Sixers are not the first team to train outside their home city. Last year Commercial Property Executive reported that the NFL’s Washington Redskins opened a $10 million training center in Richmond as part of an economic development between the city and Bon Secours.

Taller Puertorriqueño to Build New HQ Facility ‘El Corazón Cultural Center’

6 Jun 2014, 2:00 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

El Corazón Cultural Center

El Corazón Cultural Center

Taller Puertorriqueño, a community-based multidisciplinary arts group that has been supporting the Latino and Puerto Rican culture in the Philadelphia region for almost four decades, is looking to expand in a new headquarters facility in the Fairhill neighborhood of eastern-north Philadelphia.

Known as El Corazón del Barrio or “the golden block,” the area spans several blocks between Huntingdon Street and Lehigh Avenue that house Latino businesses, community organizations, retail and restaurant space. Taller Puertorriqueño’s new multipurpose building, which has already received approval from the City Planning Commission, will be called El Corazón Cultural Center and will replace a 2.3-acre surface parking lot located at the corner of North 5th and West Huntingdon. The City of Philadelphia transferred the 2.3-acre site to Taller Puertorriqueño in December 2007.

Taller Puertorriqueño currently operates in two separate buildings totaling 10,000 square feet on

El Corazón Cultural Center

El Corazón Cultural Center

North 5th Street that are two blocks away; with the new cultural center, the organization hopes to create a more visible space in a single location that will accommodate Taller’s existing programs while introducing new programs and activities that will reach a broader audience in the Latino community.

The 24,000-square-foot cultural facility was designed by Philadelphia’s Wallace Roberts & Todd Architects (WRT), with Antonio Fiol-Silva and Modesto Bigas- Valedón, serving as principal architects. According to Taller Puertorriqueño, El Corazón Cultural Center will include a larger gift shop, a more spacious and more flexible exhibition gallery, seven classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology, as well as dance and theater studios that can combine into a 5,000-square-foot event space with 220 seats. The cultural center will also feature an expanded bookstore, a café, a family/community gathering space, children’s play area, administrative offices, a patio and 100 parking spaces.

According to PlanPhilly, the project is estimated to cost up to $11 million, of which Taller Puertorriqueño has already secured $6.6 million. The project is eligible for $3 million in New Market Tax Credits, which leaves the organization with a $1.5 gap that the group is trying to close by running fundraising campaigns and offering naming opportunities for specific spaces in the El Corazón Cultural Center.

Rendering courtesy of WRT Architects

65-Unit Affordable Housing Community to Replace Old Knitting Mill Site in Burlington

28 May 2014, 4:02 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Apartments at the Mill - Burlington NJ

Apartments at the Mill – Burlington NJ

The City of Burlington and Ingerman Development Group, a real estate development company based in Cherry Hill, NJ, this week celebrated the official start of construction of a new affordable housing project located only 20 miles from Philadelphia. Dubbed “Apartments at the Mill,” the residential project will be built on a vacant, 2.4-acre site and is part of a larger redevelopment plan to transform the derelict Knitting Mill Area into a new, dynamic neighborhood that is expected to ease the strong housing demand in Burlington County’s oldest city.

Overall, the new apartment complex located at 505 Mitchell Avenue will have 65 affordable rental units in a combination of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments that will be housed in five, three-story multifamily buildings constructed at the site. According to the Burlington County Times, construction at the Apartments at the Mill will be completed this fall. Leasing of the units is expected to begin in spring 2015, with monthly rents ranging from $300 to $1,000 depending on the income, the news source said.

Knitting Mill Structure on Mitchell Avenue - Burlington NJ

Knitting Mill Structure on Mitchell Avenue – Burlington NJ

The development site includes an abandoned, 11,000-square-foot textile mill (pictured at right) that was last occupied by the Raffino Knitting Corp. Once renovated, the building will house a community center and office spaces on the ground floor and 11 apartment units on the remaining two floors.

As reported by The Courier-Post, the $15 million project was financed through a mix of affordable housing credits from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, Wells Fargo and the Burlington County HOME program.

Project rendering via the City of Burlington on Eventbrite

Failed Marina View Project on Columbus Blvd. Comes Back to Life as 250-Unit Residential Building

22 May 2014, 4:06 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

One Water Street

One Water Street

PMC Property Group plans to revitalize 230 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard, one of the many vacant parcels near the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing District. According to PlanPhilly, the lot has a decade-long history of failed redevelopment projects that have been revolving around Marina View—Lou Cicalese’s plan to create a residential and commercial building on Philadelphia’s Central Delaware Waterfront.

The final version of the Marina View tower that was OK’d by the City Planning Commission in late 2012 called for a 14-story building with 180 apartments built on top of a three-story podium base of structured parking with retail space. However, the developer never went forward with his controversial project and, as previously reported by the Philadelphia Business Journal, sold it for around $5.5 million to an entity affiliated with PMC Property Group.

The new owner has renamed the project One Water Street and hopes to break ground on a 16-story building with 250 rental apartments this July. Designed by Varenhorst Architects to seek LEED certification, the project will also include 73 parking spaces, a fitness center, bike storage room, a green roof and two public green spaces along Columbus Avenue designed by Land Collective’s landscape architect David Rubin. As reported by PlanPhilly, the two public spaces will encompass approximately 11,600 square feet, or 20 percent of the development site.

Though One Water Street is not included in the Central Delaware Master Plan, it received positive feedback from the Central Delaware Advocacy Group which pledged to send a letter of support for the project to the Civic Design Review Committee.

If One Water Street gets the green light for construction, PMC Property Group hopes to complete the project in about 18 months.

Rendering credits to Varenhorst Architects via PlanPhilly

Construction Starts at 72,000 Sq. Ft. Outpatient Healthcare Facility in Penn Township

14 May 2014, 3:50 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Anchor Health Properties, a Wilmington, DE-based development company focused on medical facilities, recently started construction on Penn Medicine Southern Chester County, a new outpatient healthcare facility located at the intersection of Route 1 and Route 79—two of the most heavily traveled roads in Chester County.

Penn Medicine Southern Chester County

Penn Medicine Southern Chester County

The 72,000-square-foot medical building in Penn Township will be anchored by the physicians and services of the Chester County Hospital. According to Anchor Health Properties, these services include imaging, lab draw, physical therapy, primary care as well as outpatient, same-day surgical procedures. Special amenities will include a concierge desk located in a two-story atrium, a café offering ready-to-go snacks and refreshments, a community resource room and outdoor event space. Penn Medicine Southern Chester County will be conveniently situated on a spacious 45-acre site with walking trails, meadows, landscaping and free parking.

The project’s construction manager is The Norwood Company of Malvern, while conceptual plans were designed by ARRAY Architects, according to the developer who hopes to finish construction at the site by spring 2015.

“The design creates a comfortable, high-quality healthcare experience for the convenience and customer service of physicians, patients and visitors, and utilizes building materials and landscape elements that reflect the history and environment of southern Chester County,” said Paula Crowley, CEO of Anchor Health Properties, in a press statement.

According to Chester County officials quoted by the Daily Local News, a market research study from 2009 found that the southern Chester County area needed an additional 21 physicians. However, given the fact that nearly 20 percent of Chester County Hospital patients come from the southwestern part of the region, the need is expected to grow to more than 30 by next spring.


Rendering courtesy of ARRAY Architects

Hospitality 3 Announces Study Hotels Concept for Philadelphia’s University City

7 May 2014, 8:21 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Hospitality 3, a hotel and real estate development company with offices in Manhattan and New Haven, CT, is set to break ground on a new hotel facility in West Philadelphia.

The Study at University City - Philadelphia

The Study at University City – Philadelphia

The company announced it entered a long-term ground lease with Drexel University to develop a 10-story facility on the northwest corner of 33rd and Chestnut streets in the University City district. The 145,000-square-foot hotel called The Study at University City will be operated by Hospitality 3’s Study Hotels—a brand described as a lifestyle concept conceived to accommodate the news of university markets by offering high quality, full-service lodging.

“We are delighted to have secured such an incredible site in the heart of University City and a short walk from 30th Street Station,” said Paul McGowan, Hospitality 3 Principal. According to the company, McGowan himself developed the Study Hotels concept that caters to students and staff members in dense college and university areas. Designed to create an “urban retreat” for visitors, professors, students, families and locals, Study Hotels also look to have a strong relevance within the community by capturing the character of the area and the personality of the neighboring institutions—such is the case for The Study at Yale, Hospitality 3’s first hotel of this kind that was developed on the Yale University campus in New Haven, CT. The 124-key boutique hotel opened in 2008 and went on to become one of the favorite lodging options in the area (apparently Hollywood star James Franco lived there during his years at Yale).

Award-winning architecture firm DIGSAU created the conceptual design for the building in Philadelphia’s University City. The hotel will offer 212 guest rooms along with a restaurant that can accommodate more than 100 people, a fitness center and 7,000 square feet of meeting space.

According to Hospitality 3, the hotel project is scheduled for completion in 2016.

Rendering courtesy of DIGSAU

Liberty/Synterra JV Breaks Ground on 75,000 Sq. Ft. Building at the Navy Yard Commerce Center

30 Apr 2014, 4:09 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Activity is buzzing at the old Philadelphia Navy Yard as the business campus continues to add new office buildings to accommodate the growing list of companies that are rapidly joining the site’s tenant roster.

4000 S 26th Street - Navy Yard Commerce Center

4000 S 26th Street – Navy Yard Commerce Center

Located in South Philadelphia and developed by the now-famous Liberty Property Trust/Synterra Partners partnership, the 40-acre Navy Yard Commerce Center is a master-planned project that consists of a mix of renovated historic buildings and new high-performance and LEED certified buildings. The Commerce Center is part of the Navy Yard, a 1,200-acre waterfront business campus designated as a Keystone Opportunity Improvement Zone (KOIZ) that is currently home to more than 11,000 employees and 143 companies in the office, industrial/manufacturing, and research and development sectors.

The Liberty/Synterra joint venture recently broke ground on its third flex building at the Navy Yard Commerce Center, an official statement shows. The 75,000-square-foot Class A commercial facility is located at 4000 S. 26th Street and is already fully pre-leased to three international tenants.

Conceptual plans for the $13 million development project were designed by Environetics, a New York-based architecture and interior design firm. Set for completion by December 2014, the single-story structure will join Liberty/Synterra’s two other build-to-suit flex buildings located at 4020 and 4050 S. 26th Street, which are also 100 percent leased.

“The appeal for high-quality flex space centrally located in the region continues to attract new companies to The Navy Yard, in this case from as far as China, Australia and the United Kingdom. With all five flex buildings in The Navy Yard at capacity, we will continue to meet this growing demand with plans already underway for our sixth flex building,” said Brian Cohen, Liberty Property Trust vice president and city manager at the ground breaking ceremony.

EcoSave, a large Australian energy efficiency company, announced earlier this year that it has chosen the Navy Yard as the location for its headquarters in the U.S. The company has already leased 20,000 square feet at 4000 S. 26th Street and plans to move in as soon as the building is completed.

Clinigen, a specialty global pharmaceuticals and services business based in the United Kingdom, will also set up its U.S. headquarters at 4000 S. 26th Street. According to the developers, the company will occupy approximately 10,000 square feet of space in the new building.

The third tenant is WuXi AppTec, Inc., a global pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and medical device outsourcing company with operations in China and the United States. WuXi Apptec was Liberty’s first tenant in the Navy Yard in 2003, when it leased 75,000 square feet of research and development space. Reportedly, Wuxi AppTec will expand into 45,000 square feet of the building, bringing its total footprint in the navy Yard to nearly 130,000 square feet.

Rendering courtesy of Libery Property Trust and Synterra Partners

HOW Properties Working on New Student Housing Complex in West Philly

16 Apr 2014, 7:55 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A local real estate management company is building a new student housing facility on Woodland Avenue in the west section of Philadelphia—or West Philly, where student housing is scarce though the area is home to several well-established universities such as the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, the University of Sciences in Philadelphia and Saint Joseph’s University.

4619 Woodland Avenue - West Philadelphia

4619 Woodland Avenue – West Philadelphia

West Philly Local reports that HOW Properties is currently working on a 20,000-square-foot complex at 4619 Woodland Avenue that will offer housing options to students enrolled in the University of Sciences in Philadelphia (USP). The 1,890-square-foot development site is a formerly vacant parcel that HOW Properties acquired in July 2013 for $865,000 according to data from PropertyShark.

The three-story building will include 16 housing units in a combination of two-, three-, four-, and five-bedrooms and only one studio. Reportedly, the project had an estimated completion date set for August but the developer decided to push this date until next summer because many students had already signed leases for the 2014-2015 school year. According to West Philly Local, the units will be available for rents between $800 and $3,200 a month but the prices are expected to change next year.

HOW Properties also included a commercial retail space on the ground floor of the building and hopes to work with the USP board to identify a tenant that would be beneficial for the area and the building’s residents.


Rendering credits: HOW Properties

Rittenhouse Realty Advisors Sells Wyndmoor Gardens Apartment Asset for $7.1 Million

14 Apr 2014, 1:52 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A residential complex in Chestnut Hill, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Philadelphia, recently changed ownership in a $7.1 million transaction.

Wyndmoor Gardens - Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia

Wyndmoor Gardens – Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia

Rittenhouse Realty Advisors sold the Wyndmoor Gardens apartment community at 219 E. Willow Grove Avenue to an undisclosed local private capital group. Located directly across the street from the Wyndmoor SEPTA Regional Rail Station and offering convenient access to downtown Philadelphia, Conshohocken and King of Prussia, the horse shoe shaped complex consists of five residential buildings totaling 88 apartments (63 percent of which are two-bedroom units), one retail store and 21 income-producing garages.

“The property traded at a sub 5% CAP on trailing 12 month numbers in the heart of Chestnut Hill,” stated Ken Wellar, managing partner with Rittenhouse Realty Advisors.

Wyndmoor Gardens was sold with excellent value-add opportunity for the buyer as most of the units haven’t been renovated and are still rented at below the market average. Information from LoopNet.com reveals that average rents in the Chestnut Hill submarket range from $900-$1,000 per month for one-bedroom units to $1,300-$1,400 per months for two-bedroom units. According to Rittenhouse, the new owner of Wyndmoor Gardens plans to complete high-end upgrades to the 88 units which could push up rents by a whopping 25 percent.


Image via Rittenhouse Realty Advisors

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