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vXchnge to Open New Data Center at 1500 Spring Garden Street

16 Jul 2014, 6:42 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

1500 Spring Garden Street

1500 Spring Garden Street

Philadelphia is one of the densest cities in the U.S. according to official data, and the demand for data centers and interconnection services is on the rise as well. As a result, many data center-oriented companies are choosing Philadelphia in an attempt to meet the growing demand for colocation facilities.

One such company is vXchnge, a data center services company based in Tampa, Florida. vXchnge recently announced it will expand into Philadelphia by creating a state-of-the-art data center at 1500 Spring Garden Street, a mixed-use office building located between 15th and 16th Streets and Hamilton and Spring Garden Streets in Center City. The new facility is part of vXchnge’s strategy to create “Built for Performance” data centers in 15 markets to address localization issues for the cloud and service providers in the internet economy. Construction of the 70,000-square-foot data center has already begun, and vXchnge hopes to open the 1500 Spring Garden Street facility by mid-2015.

Built in phases starting in 1947, the 1.1 million-square-foot glass and concrete office tower served as the headquarters and manufacturing site for GlaxoSmithKline until the late 1990s, when the pharma company sold the asset to Amerimar Enterprises Inc. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that in early 2000s the new ownership invested $100 million to upgrade the 12-story building and redevelop it for office and telecommunications and data center use—thanks to the building’s location near Philadelphia’s major fiber-optic-cable routes—which pushed the occupancy up to nearly 80 percent at the time.

In November 2013 CoStar reported that the office tower at 1500 Spring Garden was acquired by a joint venture between The Nightingale Group and Carlton Associates, Inc. in a $184.5 million deal (or approximately $171 per square foot of space).

Click here for more market data on Philadelphia.


Image via 1500 Spring Garden

94-Unit Residential Building to Rise on Empty Lot at 810 Arch Street

9 Jul 2014, 9:31 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

810 Arch Street - Philadelphia

810 Arch Street – Philadelphia

With the grand opening of the JBJ Soul Homes not too far in the past, a new affordable housing complex backed by Project H.O.M.E. is set to break ground this September. This time Project H.O.M.E.—a non-profit organization that provides housing, employment opportunities, and medical care to homeless and low-income persons in Philadelphia—teamed up with the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) to revitalize a city-owned, empty site in the heart of the Chinatown.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the 0.5-acre lot that now looks like a missing tooth in the 800 block on the south side of Arch Street will be replaced by a much-needed rental apartment building that is also expected to enliven the pedestrian experience in the area. The private-public partnership will invest $23.5 million in this residential project, the source said.

Designed by Kramer Marks Architects and developed by McDonald Building Company, the 78,000-square-foot apartment building at 810 Arch Street is expected to be completed by late 2015. It will include 94 affordable housing units for low-income residents ranging from homeless elderly and adults to youth aging out of the child protection system. According to project details available on McDonald Building Company’s website, six floors will be fully residential, with 13 efficiency apartment units per floor, while two floors will hold eight efficiency apartments and amenity spaces such as administrative offices, exercise room, library with Wi-Fi access, a green roof and two terraces. The development project will also have 2,800 square feet of ground floor retail space along Arch Street.

According to the Inquirer, monthly rents at 810 Arch Street are expected to vary between $690 and $799. After completion, the residential building will seek LEED Silver certification by MaGrann Associates, a building consulting and engineering company specialized in energy efficiency and green building.

Click here for more market data on Philadelphia.


Rendering courtesy of McDonald Building Company

Distressed Norris Apartments Housing Complex in North Philadelphia Receives $30 Million Revitalization Grant

2 Jul 2014, 8:24 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Four communities that are part of the “Choice Neighborhoods Initiative” kicked off July on a strong note. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced this week that it has awarded a combined $119.7 million to redevelop severely distressed neighborhoods in Columbus, OH, Norwalk, CT, and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. According to a statement from HUD, the money will be used for the process of transforming, rehabilitating and preserving public housing and privately owned HUD-assisted housing.

City of Philadelphia - HUD

City of Philadelphia – HUD

Introduced in 2009 under the “White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative” and as a successor of the HOPE VI program, the “Choice Neighborhoods Initiative” started as a multi-million planning experiment that targeted poor neighborhoods and underdeveloped communities. One such community is located in the north-central section of Philadelphia and contains 147 low-income public housing units between Berks and Norris Streets near Temple University.

The $30 million grant awarded to the Norris Apartments community located at 2037 North 11th Street will bring a much-needed redevelopment of the building that was completed in the 1950s. An additional $125 million in a combination of federal, state, city and private investment is expected to support the revitalization effort in this section of Philadelphia. Furthermore, a $1 million donation from Temple University will support the creation of educational programs in the neighborhood, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Apart from the refurbished 147 apartments at the Norris Apartments site, the revitalization process will bring more than 150 units of affordable units and market-rate units on several vacant lots in the area. With work expected to start in six to nine months, the neighborhood revitalization project is estimated to generate around 600 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs over the following five years.

Originally proposed by the non-profit organization Asociacion de Puertorriquenos en Marcha (APM), the Norris Apartments revitalization project comes less than one year after the grand opening of the nearby Paseo Verde multifamily complex, the first housing development in the United States to receive LEED Platinum certification. A joint venture between APM and Jonathan Rose Companies, Paseo Verde was developed on a 1.9-acre brownfield at the corner of 9th and Berks Streets in the Temple University area that was decontaminated prior to construction. The project was seen as a veritable milestone in the renaissance of North Central Philadelphia, a largely distressed neighborhood with over 1,400 vacant and blighted properties that encouraged crime and slowed down private investments and economic development.

Click here for more market data on Philadelphia.

Bon Jovi’s JBJ Soul Homes Project Officially Opens in Philadelphia, Receives ULI Award for Excellence

28 Jun 2014, 1:55 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

JBJ Soul Homes Philadelphia

JBJ Soul Homes Philadelphia

JBJ Soul Homes, one of the most advertised housing projects in Philadelphia, celebrated its grand opening earlier this spring. Located on a 0.5-acre triangular block in the neighborhood of Francisville, the development was backed by musician Jon Bon Jovi’s Project H.O.M.E. program that offers subsidized supportive housing for low-income and formerly homeless individuals and families.

As previously reported by Multi-Housing News Online, JBJ Soul Homes broke ground in Fall 2012 and was designed by architecture firm Kitchen and Associates to achieve LEED Silver certification. Financed through a mix of public and private donations coming from the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, the Middleton Housing Partnership, US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), FHL Bank Pittsburgh and the City of Philadelphia, the $20 million project located at the intersection of North Broad Street and Fairmount and

JBJ Soul Homes Philadelphia - side view

JBJ Soul Homes Philadelphia – side view

Ridge Avenues—three major arteries in Philadelphia—offers 55 fully furnished units of permanent, supportive housing for adults. The four-story structure also includes nearly 12,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, 5,500 square feet of administrative offices and suites for supportive services, as well as shared community spaces, storage facilities, computer lab and laundry room. The complex also contains 20 parking spaces available for both residents and Project H.O.M.E. staff members.

Shortly after the official opening, JBJ Soul Homes was among the nine winners of the first ever Urban Land Institute Philadelphia (ULI Philadelphia) Willard G. “Bill” Rouse Awards for Excellence. According to an official statement, ULI Philadelphia received 57 nominations of projects in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware which were completed within the last five years, with a number of 28 projects selected as finalists. The project developed by McDonald Building Company was particularly praised for its strong integration of “community mission, living space and supportive amenities.”


Click here for further market data on Philadelphia.

Images courtesy of Project H.O.M.E.

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

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