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Dermody Property to Create Industrial Park in Central Pennsylvania; Chesterbrook Shopping Center Sold for $8.9 Million

7 Nov 2013, 12:40 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Industrial development company Dermody Partners of Reno, NV, and its financial partner PCCP recently acquired a 107-acre parcel in Central Pennsylvania from Texas-based developer Trammel Crow Co.

LogistiCenter Carlisle

According to an official statement from Dermody, the former Mountain Creek Distribution Center—now known as LogistiCenter Carlisle—will be transformed into a 1.3-million-square-foot leasable industrial park. The property located at 2 Ames Drive in Carlisle already features a 700,000-square-foot building (pictured) immediately available for lease as a potential distribution operations facility. Dermody will break ground on a 602,250-square-foot building based on the leasing progress of the existing building, the press release said.

“The existing building at LogistiCenter Carlisle is an excellent facility for distribution operations,” said Eugene Preston, partner, Dermody Properties East Region Office. “We look forward to quickly developing another state-of-the-art facility to complement 2 Ames Drive.”

In other commercial real estate news, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that the foreclosed Chesterbrook Shopping Center in Wayne was acquired at an auction by its lender, U.S. Bank, which was the only bidder. The bank, which went by the name 500 Chesterbrook Boulevard LLC, was the only bidder and purchased the half-vacant shopping center for $8.9 million.

Previously owned by Chesterbrook Village Center Association, the 122,216-square-foot retail complex was built in 1981. Its anchor tenant, Genuardi’s, occupied nearly 40,000 square feet of space within the complex until August 2010, which led to a drastic drop in the number of shoppers.


LogistiCenter Carlisle image via Dermody Partners

Historic Buildings to Become Mixed-Use Community in Old City

31 Oct 2013, 2:22 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

An assembly of ten buildings located at the corner of Market Street and North 3rd Street (pictured) in what is known as the “Shirt Corner” in the Old City neighborhood will be converted into a mixed-use complex, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports.

Market and N 3rd Streets, Old City Philadelphia

Behind the $20 million project is Alterra Property Group, a locally based real estate investment, development and management company which has built and/or redeveloped hundreds of housing units in Philadelphia’s historic district.

While the reconversion project is not fully approved yet, the developer is working with the Philadelphia Historical Commission and community members as four properties are listed as historic buildings. Alterra should complete the acquisition of the ten properties in the following weeks, according to information by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

According to the project plans designed by Coscia Moos Architects, two buildings should be demolished and replaced by a new, 54,000-square-foot structure that will look very similar to the Colonial-style buildings in the area. The project will feature 40,000 square feet of residential space including 59 apartments. The remaining 14,000 square feet of space on the ground floor will be occupied by a CVS Pharmacy and an unnamed retailer, the Journal notes.

The developer hopes to break ground on this project in December and complete it in Spring 2015.


Image via Google Maps


Green Housing Development Breaks Ground in South Philadelphia

24 Oct 2013, 3:29 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Philadelphia’s commitment to green building and design was highlighted once again last week at an official ceremony that marked the ground breaking of a new, energy efficient residential community.


A joint venture between LPMG Companies, Postgreen Homes and Interface Studio Architects (ISA) is transforming the former site of the Drexel School at the corner of 16th and Moore Streets in the Newbold section of South Philadelphia into the area’s first affordable, green residential community designed to seek LEED Platinum and Energy Star certification.

reNewbold will include 16 superinsulated rowhomes—seven of which have already been sold or reserved—with onsite parking, one street-level retail unit and two condo units built above the retail space. The project is 100 percent privately financed and, according to Curbed Philly, it will be built in two stages, with the development effort focused initially on six units along Bancroft Street.

With prices ranging from $249,000 to $325,000, each two- or three-story home can be customized to meet the buyer’s demand. All units are designed to reach a 50 percent drop in energy use as compared to regular homes similar in size. The rowhomes will feature sustainable amenities such as triple-pane windows, green roofs, roof decks, Energy Star appliances, and low-flow fixtures that will reduce the monthly cost of utilities to around $90. The first homes will be ready for residents to move in in early 2014,


and the entire development should be completed by spring 2015.

Philadelphia Inquirer notes that there are less than 300 LEED certified homes in the city, and 47 of them have attained LEED Platinum, which is the highest level in USGBC’s rating system.


Renderings via Postgreen Homes

Urban Outfitters Receives 10-Year Tax Break for $200 Million Investment in Pennsylvania

11 Oct 2013, 6:17 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Urban Outfitters, a global retailer of clothing and decor founded in University City in 1970, is planning an unprecedented expansion of two of its production centers in the Philadelphia area. The $200 million investment announced recently by the company will result in a larger headquarters at Urban’s existing facility at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and a new, direct-to-customer fulfillment center in Gap, Lancaster County.

With 2,500 new jobs in the pipeline (2,000 new employees are expected to join the 250,000-square-foot headquarters building at the Navy Yard, while 500 will be hired at the new fulfillment center in Gap), Urban’s investment will have a positive economic impact in the region as it will more than double the company’s workforce in Pennsylvania. In fact, according to a Pennsylvania Independent news report, both projects will be developed under a state-run strategy that grants businesses a 10-year tax break for investing and creating new job opportunities in undeveloped or underdeveloped areas and communities.

Called Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZ), the program started in 1999 and gradually developed throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 12 regions. As reported by the news source, KOZ created more than 15,000 jobs and retained another 9,000 in 2012 alone.

The $105 million distribution center planned for Gap will be built on a 52-acre property that Urban purchased for $9.04 million, Lancaster Online reports. It will have 1.2 million square feet, exactly the same size as Walmart’s recently announced fulfillment center in Bethlehem, Lehigh Valley. Urban will break ground on its third distribution facility at Brackbill Road and Route 30 in Gap in early November and is expected to open the e-commerce order-fulfillment center in the summer of 2015.

Walmart to Open 1.2 Million Sq. Ft. Fulfillment Center in Bethlehem, Add 350 New Jobs

3 Oct 2013, 3:21 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Liberty Property Trust, one of the biggest commercial landlords which owns and manages more than 15.1 million square feet of space in the Lehigh Valley area, announced a record 1.2 million-square-foot lease in the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII in Bethlehem.

According to a press release from the company, the distribution facility located at 2785 Commerce Center Blvd. was leased to Walmart and stands as Liberty Property’s highest quarterly leasing in its history of 41 years. The lease will commence January 1, 2014.

The retail giant plans to open a new center—the largest of its kind for the company—dedicated to filling online orders at the Bethlehem location. When fully operational in the first quarter of 2014, the large-scale distribution facility will employ more than 350 full-time positions to support the company’s growing, multi-billion dollar e-commerce services, with more temporary jobs likely to be added during holiday and other peak seasons. The Bethlehem distribution center will be fully managed by Walmart and will house electronics, toys, apparel, fitness equipment, sporting goods and other products that will be delivered faster and at lower costs.

“As Walmart moves forward with expansion of its e-commerce business we will be a partner in ensuring Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley remain a continued part of that growth,” said Governor Tom Corbett who was quoted in a press statement.

As reported by Businessweek, Walmart’s new distribution center in the Lehigh Valley area will compete directly with Amazon.com, which also has a fulfillment center at 705 Boulder Drive in Breinigsville. To balance this out, Walmart’s recruitment staff could take advantage of one of the largest layoffs in the Lehigh Valley, as Walgreens recently announced that it will shut down its distribution center in Hanover Township and release around 400 employees.

Walmart also opened another large-scale fulfillment center in Fort Worth, Texas. Totaling 800,000 square feet of space, the facility has already started shipping orders.


Company logo via walmart.com


Hersha Sells Hotel Portfolio to Blackstone; Tower Place Seeks New Owner

26 Sep 2013, 5:04 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Hersha Hospitality Trust, a Harrisburg,PA-based real estate investment trust that owns and operates 48 luxury hotels located in urban gateway markets, will sell a large part of its portfolio to BRE NE Hospitality Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors, for $217 million. The deal is subject to customary conditions for real estate transactions and is expected to close by the end of Q1 2014.

The deal includes 16 non-core hotels in Long Island, suburban Philadelphia, Connecticut and Rhode Island and marks Hersha’s exit from these markets in an effort to set up “a pure play, urban transient portfolio with exposure to some of the highest demand gateway markets in the United States,” according to Jay H. Shah, the company’s chief executive officer. “Including the anticipated sale of these 16 non-core hotels, we have sold 46 non-strategic hotels generating approximately $460 million in gross proceeds since 2008. In addition to further reducing leverage, we expect to redeploy the cash proceeds from this sale into higher growth opportunities in Miami and the West Coast,” he added.

In further commercial real estate news, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that developer Bart Blatstein is selling Tower Place, a recently renovated apartment building located at 1400 Spring Garden Street. According to the source, the structure was built in 1958 by the General State Authority to serve as the Philadelphia State Office Building. In 2011 Blatstein’s Tower Investments Inc. invested around $70 million in reconverting the 300,000-square-foot high-rise into 204 luxury residential units with rents between $1,500 and $3,000 a month. The building, which is marketed by Jones Lang LaSalle, is currently 75 percent occupied.


Photo via Tower Place Facebook Page

Former Broad Street Armory Building Demolished, Replaced by Apartments

19 Sep 2013, 3:48 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The 127-year-old Broad Street Armory building, one of Philadelphia’s oldest constructions, is almost history. Less than one month after a crane started tearing down the long-vacant crumbling building located at 1221 South Broad Street in Passyunk Square, the Zoning Board of Adjustment approved a zoning variance to developer Michael Carosella’s plans to replace the property with a new, modern structure that will include 50 apartments.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the six-story rental building designed by Landmark Architectural Design will also feature an eco-friendly 1,000-square-foot green roof, a community meeting room, indoor storage space for up to 20 bikes and an outdoor parking garage with 52 spaces.

The plans do not include ground floor commercial/retail space at this point, but an adjustment could be made provided that the members of the South Broad Street Neighbors Association approve it and a potential tenant would want to lease space in the building. All units will be two-bedroom from 900 to 1,300 square feet with rents estimated to go between $1,500 and $2,900 a month. Reportedly, the project should be completed by the end of 2014.

Built in 1886 to house the National Guard Third Regiment Armory, the brick-clad structure was owned since the 1980s by the Tolentine Community Center which purchased it from the City for $106,000 to be used solely for community and social service programs, according to The Passyunk Post. Earlier this year the building was acquired by Carosella, which owns C&R Building Supply on Washington Avenue.


Photo of Broad Street Armory Building in 2011 via Google Maps

USGBC Awards LEED Gold to Iroko Pharmaceuticals Navy Yard Headquarters

12 Sep 2013, 3:23 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) awarded a LEED Gold certification under the Core & Shell rating system to a state-of-the-art facility located at 150 Rouse Boulevard in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard Corporate Center, which represents one of the largest collections of energy-efficient commercial buildings in the Greater Philadelphia area. According to USGBC LEED rating systems, a LEED Certification for Core & Shell can be awarded to projects where the developer controls the design and construction process of the entire core and shell base building—all mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems—but has no control over the tenant’s design and construction plans. Usually, these development projects include commercial or medical office buildings, retail centers, warehouses or research/lab facilities.

 The 56,412-square-foot building was opened in December 2012 as the new global headquarters of Iroko Pharmaceuticals, LLC. A $15.4 million investment by Liberty Property Trust and Synterra Partners was designed by Philadelphia-based architecture firm DIGSAU and constructed by Penn Construction Company.

“The Iroko headquarters at 150 Rouse Boulevard is the ultimate expression of our vision and growth as a company,” said John Vavricka, President and CEO of Iroko Pharmaceuticals in a press statement. He added, “The sustainable building design and the open spaces represent our unlimited potential and reflect well on the spirit of our company.”

Iroko’s headquarters facility offers exterior views to 90 percent of regularly occupied building space, which means that employees can benefit from maximum daylight usage. Other sustainable amenities include high performance systems that manage energy, air and water quality, high-efficiency low-flow fixtures and secure bike racks and changing/shower facilities to promote the use of eco-friendly transportation.

The office building at 150 Rouse Boulevard is the seventh LEED-certified project developed by the Liberty Property/Synterra joint venture at the Philadelphia Navy Yard Corporate Center. The partnership recently announced an eighth sustainable office building, located at 201 Rouse Boulevard, which will break ground this month.

Rendering of Iroko Pharmaceuticals’ headquarters building courtesy of DIGSAU

Dranoff Properties Ready to Break Ground on One Riverside Place Luxury Rentals

9 Sep 2013, 4:30 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

After weeks of debates, the Civic Design Review board of Philadelphia unanimously green lighted on September 3 a mixed-use tower on a triangle-shaped parking lot at the intersection of 25thStreet and Locust Street in the Fitler Square neighborhood.

One Riverside Place, 210-20 South 25th Street, Philadelphia

Dranoff Properties, a Philadelphia-based real estate developer, now has all the approvals to break ground on One Riverside Place, a 21-story luxury rental high rise overlooking the Schuylkill River. Though the construction start date is yet to be announced, the anticipated One Riverside Place is expected to animate the Schuylkill River waterfront and serve as an active urban destination.

The 167,282-square-foot glass tower at 210-20 South 25th Street was designed by Cecil Baker + Partners. It will include 147 luxury apartments on 18 levels—from floors 3 to 20—with three penthouse units on the top floor, 81 parking spaces and 49 spaces for bicycle storage. According to the project description that was filed with the Civic Design Review board in early August, One Riverside Place will also include 14,000 square feet of landscaped terrace built over a parking/café podium, as well as 6,000 square feet of indoor amenities, a fitness center and administrative offices on the first two floors.

Designed to achieve LEED Silver certification, One Riverside Place will feature several green amenities that will make it a sustainable addition to the Fitler Square neighborhood. The tower, built from recycled and locally produced materials, is expected to reduce energy consumption and water use by 20 percent. A green deck above the parking garage and new plants and trees at sidewalk level will improve the quality of air. In order to maximize natural daylight and reduce the need for artificial light, each residential unit will feature floor-to-ceiling windows.

Rendering courtesy of Dranoff Properties and Cecil Baker + Partners

Cross Properties’ 132-Unit Multifamily Development to Replace Former School in Lower Merion

25 Aug 2013, 6:37 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Steven Rock, a senior director with Marcus & Millichap’s Manhattan office, recently arranged $23.5 million in financing for a 120,000-square-foot property in Lower Merion Township, on behalf of real estate developer Cross Properties of Center City Philadelphia.

Located at 6 E. Lancaster Avenue in Wynnewood, a suburb of Philadelphia, the school was built in 1919 by famous Philadelphia Architect Horace Trumbauer and operated as the elegant Green Hills Farms Hotel until 1939, then housed the former Palmer Theological Seminary for more than 70 years. Main Line Media News previously reported that in 2011 the Palmer Seminary building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a “Class 1” status under Lower Merion’s Historic Preservation ordinance. This means that the building can be demolished only with permission from the board of the Lower Merion board of commissioners.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, in spring 2013 the school’s parent institution, Eastern University, sold the property to Cross Properties for $35 million and relocated its theological programs to a temporary facility located at its campus in St. David’s, PA.

Cross Properties will reconvert the property into a residential building with 132 luxury apartments—100 of which will be one-bedroom units—and the rest will be a combination of studios and two-bedrooms.

“This property is a historical landmark,” said Steven Rock in a press statement. “The conversion to luxury apartments has enormous demand and will add tremendous value to the property and location.”

According to Cross Properties’ redevelopment plan, a 13,500-square-foot chapel will be transformed into medical office space and exclusive amenities, such as a fitness center, pool, club room and roof deck.

Photo via Palmer Theological Seminary’s Facebook page

Ridge Flats Net-Zero Energy Community in East Falls Gets the Green Light for Construction

15 Aug 2013, 7:40 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Onion Flats’ efforts to build Philadelphia’s first Passive House Certified and Net-Zero-Energy mixed-use community will finally come to fruition. Almost two years after the local developer was selected by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) to create the most innovative, energy-efficient housing development in the East Falls section of Northwest Philadelphia, the project received the green light from the City Planning Commission and a final OK from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

This means that the Philadelphia-based developer can begin construction at the Ridge Flats in late 2013 or early 2014 and start receiving applications by mid-2015, according to NewsWorks. Located at 4300-4326 Ridge Avenue and designed by Plumbob LLC, the community will serve as a “gateway” into the East Falls area and a transitional buffer between the heavily transited Kelly Drive and the pedestrian oriented Fairmount Park trails. By using several high-performance building and sustainability strategies, Ridge Flats will incorporate renewable, recycled and locally sourced construction materials. Once completed, the project is expected to become a model of sustainable design and building practices. The list of “green” amenities includes:

-          Intensive and extensive green roofs for the entire built area

-          Storm water management systems

-          Low-flow fixtures and faucets which will reduce water consumption by at least 50%

-          An energy-monitoring system that will be accessible online by all residents

-          A solar PV array of 200 KW that will generate enough electricity for the community to operate

-          Triple-pane windows, super-insulation and air-tight construction

-          ZIP/Philly Car Share parking spaces and electric charging ports within the parking lot

According to the project description, the nearly 130,000-square-foot community will include 146 one- and two-bedroom rentals, with rents varying from $1,300 to $2,000 per month. The five-story building will also have up to 9,500 square feet of street-level retail space along Ridge Avenue and Calumet Street, 138 parking spaces, and a large public plaza at the intersection of Kelly Drive and Calumet Street.


Rendering credits to Onion Flats/Plumbob 


Liberty Property Trust, Synterra Partners to Build New Headquarters for Franklin Square

12 Aug 2013, 5:52 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Franklin Square Capital Partners, an investment company specialized in creating and managing alternative investment funds, will move its offices and nearly 150 employees down south to the thriving Navy Yard Corporate Center. Owned and developed by a partnership between Liberty Property Trust and Synterra Partners, the 6.5-million-square-foot Navy Yard accommodates more than 130 companies and 10,000 employees working in the office, industrial/manufacturing and research and development sectors.

Currently based at the Cira Centre in Philadelphia’s University City district, Franklin Square recently signed a long-term lease for an 80,050-square-foot building that will be developed by Liberty Property Trust/Synterra Partners LP. According to an official statement, the company was represented in the transaction by Glenn Blumenfeld and Kartik Patel of Radnor,PA-based Tactix Real Estate Advisors.

Located at 201 Rouse Boulevard on a 4.4-acre parcel just south of the construction site of the city’s newest Courtyard by Marriott hotel, the four-story building will accommodate Franklin Square’s rapid growth while fostering the company’s collaborative and innovative culture. “We are excited to keep our headquarters in Philadelphia and to join the growing community at The Navy Yard,” said Michael C. Forman, Founder and CEO of Franklin Square, in a press statement.

Construction at the site will begin in September and the developers hope to deliver the completed building in the first quarter of 2015.

The new headquarters building marketed as 201 Rouse was designed by local architectural firm DIGSAU to offer views of both Philadelphia’s skyline and the five-acre public park that Liberty Property Trust will also develop at the Corporate Center. Apart from the office component, 201 Rouse will include a café-style restaurant offering healthy food, a fitness facility, and state-of-the-art conference space.

Rendering credits to DIGSAU

PHL Terminal F Renovation Generates 300 New Jobs

5 Aug 2013, 9:02 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Terminal F, one of the busiest terminals at the Philadelphia International Airport, is in the final stages of a $127 million, multi-year renovation and expansion project that aims to enhance passenger services, facilities and airline operations.

Phase I of the project kicked off in April 2011 and included a new and expanded “central hub” that features a redesigned US Airways Club, a food court with 400 seats, several sit-down restaurants and new retail space. In all, Terminal F expanded by approximately 70,000 square feet of space, increasing the total square footage by 33 percent.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the airport is expected to hire around 300 workers to fill the positions—running from entry-level to management—for the 19 spaces that are scheduled to open in the Terminal F in October.

Opened in 2001, the $98 million Terminal F was designed by Odell Associates and The Sheward Partnership as a regional terminal used by US Airways Express flights for an anticipated 150 departures a day in aircraft that sat up to 50 passengers. More than a decade later, the terminal’s 38 gates operate as many as 275 flights daily and an increased number of passengers, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.

Phase II of the project launched in January 2013 and calls for an expanded baggage claim facility and a larger ticket lobby and public area. All renovation and expansion work is set for completion in late 2015/early 2016, according to the source.


Rendering courtesy of www.phl.org


Radnor Property Group to Move Forward with 25-Story Mixed-Use Tower Project

25 Jul 2013, 4:11 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A controversial development project spearheaded by Radnor Property Group finally received the green light for construction from the Historical Commission’s architectural committee.

Several weeks after reaching an agreement with the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia on the long-term care and preservation of the historic Cathedral building constructed in 1855 by Samuel Sloan and located at 38th and Chestnut Streets (pictured to the right), the partnership between Radnor and the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral will break ground in September on a mixed-use project that will replace two buildings—a parish house and rectory, also of historical significance—with a 25-story residential and commercial high-rise.

According to a recent news report by University City Review, the $105 million project was designed by Bower Lewis Thrower Architects (BLTa) and will include 280 rental apartments for young professionals and graduate students. The project’s commercial component totaling 30,000 square feet will consist of 15,000 square feet of street level retail space along both Chestnut and 38th Streets, while the remaining space will house a community center and a childcare center for 110 children.

Scheduled for completion in the fall of 2015, the 300,000-square-foot project is estimated to be generating nearly 160 construction jobs and $1 million in tax revenues for the city.

Images courtesy of Google Maps and BLTa respectively

Historic Germantown Church to Become Waldorf School’s New Home in Philadelphia

18 Jul 2013, 2:23 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is one of Philadelphia’s architectural jewels, but for the past eight years it has been lying vacant and blighted, with very little hope of resurrection.

Great news surfaced last week for the 140-year-old church located in Germantown at the corner of Wayne Avenue and Harvey Street. NewsWorks reported that the historic building was recently acquired for $435,000 by developer Ken Weinstein, who plans to renovate the church to become the new home of the independent Waldorf School of Philadelphia.

Built between 1873 and 1883 by architects Frank Furness and George Hewitt, St. Peter’s Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in September 1985. Twenty-five years later, the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia added the Gothic stone structure to the city’s list of severely endangered sites.

The two-acre property at 6000 Wayne Avenue will reportedly require around $4 million in upgrades, especially for roof repairs, but the new owner hopes to offset those with historical-preservation tax credits. Renovation efforts will focus especially on energy-efficiency by reducing the building’s cooling and heating costs.

According to their website, the Waldorf School of Philadelphia—currently based in Mt. Airy—identified the potential home as early as 2009. Then, in 2011, the school’s board met with local developer Ken Weinstein, who agreed to renovate the property according to the school’s needs. The Waldorf School of Philadelphia plans to relocate to the new home in September 2014, when the renovation project is expected to be completed

Image credits to author Smallbones on Wikipedia

Eakins Oval Reinterpreted as Urban Beach Area for the Summer

12 Jul 2013, 1:51 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Eakins Oval, one of Philadelphia’s hot spots during summers thanks to its prime location right in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will be transformed this summer into the city’s new center of fun. An initiative of Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation in partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy, the $180,000 project is supported by the William Penn Foundation and the City of Philadelphia.

From July 17 until August 18—between the Welcome America and Made in America Festivals—the seven-acre area connecting Philadelphia’s core with Fairmount Park, Kelly Drive and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive will be closed for traffic, allowing pedestrians to enjoy The Oval, a temporary summer park where people can hang out, play, socialize and attend themed programs.

Designed by LRSLAstudio, The Oval will resemble an urban beach area similar to the artificial beaches that pop-up in Paris along the river Seine every July and August. According to the Philadelphia Real Estate Blog, the park will also include sandboxes for children, lifeguard chairs, a game area with life-size chess and checkers boards, a large Twister mat, an outdoor food truck café and a portable stage at the end of the café area.

Though The Oval will be closed only on Mondays, visitors will have the opportunity to get involved into plenty of free-access themed programs during the rest of the week: wellness, arts and culture, environment, food and flicks, music and family fun..

Rendering credits to LRSLAstudio via The Oval Facebook page

200 Philadelphia Vacant Homes to Be Auctioned Off

3 Jul 2013, 7:45 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Philadelphia will soon unload approximately 200 of its abandoned homes and properties around the city at a public auction that will be conducted by Max Spann, one of the largest real estate auction companies in the country. The announcement was made by Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) President and CEO Kelvin Jeremiah during an official event held last week in front of one of the houses offered for sale on N. Marston Street.

Scheduled for 10 a.m. on July 16 at the First District Plaza, 3801 Market Street in University City, the auction is meant to reduce blight and put long-term abandoned properties back on the market as PHA is no longer able to rehab or maintain these properties because of recent budget costs—around $32 million that followed the federal government’s sequester, the Philadelphia Business Journal notes.

According to PlanPhilly.com, PHA currently oversees 1,700 vacant homes scattered around the city. By selling them one by one at prices ranging from $6,000 to $300,000, PHA hopes to gather additional revenue that can be used to fuel other projects and initiatives.

Three auction informational sessions will be held by Max Spann on June 26, July 2 and July 9 from 12:00 to 3:00 a.m. at the Greater Grays Ferry Estates, 1800 S. 32nd Street to help prospective bidders see how the auction works, get the full list of properties and ask more details about the process.

“The variety of properties offered means there are homes for just about anyone, even those who didn’t think they could afford to buy a home,” said Max Spann Executive Vice President Bob Dann.


Image via PlanPhilly.com/Google Maps

Eagles to Spend $125 Million for Linc Revitalization

12 Jun 2013, 9:29 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Eagles’ home for ten years, is on track for a two-year revitalization process that aims to create an improved fan experience for the South Philadelphia venue, officials announced recently.

“Our main goal when we began this project was to dramatically enhance the game day experience for our fans. They deserve an exciting and fun experience when they visit Lincoln Financial Field and we are committed to that,” said Philadelphia Eagles president Don Smolenski.

Officially opened on August 3, 2003 with a soccer match between Manchester United and FC Barcelona, the $512 million sports venue was completed in two years as a replacement for the Eagles’ old Veterans Stadium which was imploded in March 2004. Dubbed The Linc, the 1.7 million-square-foot stadium has 68,532 seats, including 10,828 club seats and 172 suites. It was jointly designed by NBBJ, a global architecture firm, and Philadelphia-based Agoos Lovera Architects and it is located at 1020 Pattison Avenue as part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, the current home of the city’s professional sports teams.

The Eagles have retained architectural firm Gensler and Turner Construction for the $125 million redevelopment project. According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the stadium will be completely revamped by 2014 but some of the changes will be finished in time for the 2013 season, when the Eagles will play against the San Diego Chargers.

Reportedly, these changes include enlarged entrance areas for easier access into the stadium for fans, an expanded stadium store, the installation of a new integrated wireless network with 600 access points that will be able to handle 45,000 simultaneous users, expanded and upgraded concession stands, two new HD video boards behind the end zone areas and a LED ribbon-board (pictured) placed along each side of the stadium that will offer 360 degrees of video, animation, real-time scores and statistics. Renovation plans for the 2014 regular season include new carpet, paint and furniture; 1,600 new seats installed in the stadium; a new escalator built on the West side; and two bridges constructed in the Southwest corner that will allow fans to easily walk from one side of the venue to the other.


Rendering via lincolnfinancialfield.com


CardioNet to Relocate Headquarters to Class A Office Building in Malvern

31 May 2013, 6:59 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Here North America LLC, formerly known as NAVTEQ—a Chicago-based provider of Geograpfic Information Systems (GIS) data and electronic navigable maps, recently closed on a sublease transaction with CardioNet. According to a report from jayrickey.com, the transaction was brokered by CBRE Inc. and Colliers International, who represented the sublandlord, and Cresa, who represented the subtenant.

Headquartered in Conshohocken at 227 Washington St., CardioNet is best known for having developed an integrated technology and service called Mobile Cardiac Outpatient Telemetry (MCOT), which enables ECG monitoring, analysis and response at home and away.

Since the company’s current lease contract will expire at the end of the year, CardioNet will relocate its operations at 1000 Cedar Hollow Rd. in Malvern near the Great Valley Commerce Center. Reportedly, CardioNet has subleased nearly 50,000 square feet of space Malvern. The sublease will commence on Jan. 1, 2014, with an expiration date set for March 30, 2021.

1000 Cedar Hollow was built during the 1960s as a two-story office facility. After a complex renovation process completed in 2011 under plans by Meyer Design Inc., the facility was transformed into a modern, Class A office building anchored by NAVTEQ’s expanding operations.

Rendering via Meyer Design, Inc.

Health Centers Industry Sees Improvement in Suburban Philadelphia

24 May 2013, 7:36 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A 43-acre retirement community in Doylestown is only weeks away from embarking on an extensive $11 million renovation project, PhillyBurbs.com reports. Built 37 years ago and serving around 500 short-term and long-terms rehab patients, the Pine Run Retirement Community Health Center at 777 Ferry Rd. is owned by Doylestown Hospital and run by the Village Improvement Association Health System.

With McDonald Building Company LLC of Blue Bell, Pa. serving as lead contractor, the renovation project at the five-story facility will begin in July under plans designed by Kramer + Marks Architects. According to PhillyBurbs.com, the health center will remain open during the renovation, which is scheduled to complete in spring 2015.

The redeveloped health center will be 88,000 square feet. It will include 123 new resident rooms with private bathrooms, as well as bistro-style dining areas on each floor, activity centers, gathering spaces for visitors, and a fully renovated central kitchen.

The Pine Run renovation project was announced shortly after Temple University Health System revealed plans to open a $4 million medical complex in Fort Washington. According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the new Fort Washington ReadyCare center will open in July, with speciality-care and physician offices scheduled to start receiving patients in October. Temple’s new 29,000-square-foot medical facility will be located in an existing office building on Pennsylvania Avenue, where it will occupy two full floors.

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