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425,000 Sq. Ft. Class A Office Space Unveiled in Suburban Philadelphia

17 Dec 2014, 9:40 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A newly redeveloped office park formerly known as Sentry Park West was unveiled in suburban Philadelphia.

VEVA Office Park - Blue Bell, PA

VEVA Office Park – Blue Bell, PA

Owned by Keystone Property Group, a commercial real estate investment and development company headquartered in Bala Cynwyd, VEVA is now a 16-acre business complex comprising seven completely renovated mid-rise buildings located on VEVA Boulevard in Blue Bell, PA. According to an official statement from Keystone, VEVA was reinvented to reflect the owner’s mission to create aesthetically and functionally innovative workspaces.

“At VEVA, we’ve created the workplace of tomorrow—a tenant experience that will attract and connect with today’s forward-thinking businesses,” said Bill Glazer, president of Keystone Property Group. “Businesses in the region have long been attracted to this complex due to its accessible location and high-quality office space. However, the grand-scale upgrades we’ve made will inspire a higher level of creativity, productivity, collaboration and imagination.”

Located at 1777 Sentry Park West and just 22 miles from Philadelphia, the office property was completed in 1973. Four decades later the Class C office buildings were acquired by Keystone which went on to redesign and upgrade the assets to Class A. Reportedly, Keystone invested approximately $10 million meant to dramatically improve rental rates and increase occupancy at the site.

The list of Class A amenities at VEVA includes a fully reinvented plaza and public pavilion, enhanced inter- and-intranet connectivity, renovated building entrances, upgraded furniture and room design, as well as a fitness and wellness center, café and lounge space, conference space and collaborative outdoor/green workspaces.

According to Keystone, VEVA offers 425,000 square feet of space and is currently 83 percent occupied. The list of tenants includes CIGNA, Citizens Bank, Fiberlink Communications, inVentiv Health Clinical, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Fesnak and Associates.


Image courtesy of Keystone Property Group

Subaru of America Seeks $180 Million in Tax Breaks to Relocate Headquarters to Camden

11 Dec 2014, 9:43 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

After almost three decades spent in the corporate headquarters in Cherry Hill, N.J., Subaru of America, Inc. has found a new home for its growing North American operations.

Subaru of America

Subaru of America

Just like the Philadelphia 76ers, who received $82 million in development incentives from the state of New Jersey this summer, the US arm of the Japanese carmaker Subaru is seeking nearly $118 million in tax breaks over the course of ten years to develop its new headquarters in Camden, just four miles from the company’s current home at 2235 Route 70 West in Cherry Hill.

According to an official statement, Subaru of America is looking to expand its footprint in North America by building an all-new facility that is part of an office park owned and developed by Campbell Soup Company, the largest and oldest business in Camden. The move is a natural result of the company’s tremendous growth and record sales over the past six years.

“We are very excited to be moving this project forward as we seek to bring all of our corporate employees together on one site, in a first class facility,” said Thomas J. Doll, president and chief operating officer of Subaru of America. “This move cements the long-term future of Subaru in the Delaware Valley and we are pleased that after more than 45 years here, we can plan to continue to be a part of the local community we have supported for so long,” he added.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is expected to make a final decision on Subaru of America’s tax break application by April 2015. If successful, the company will team up with developer Brandywine Realty Trust to complete the 250,000 square feet facility that will be double the size of the offices in Cherry Hill. According to the press statement, Subaru of America’s new headquarters should become fully operational by the end of 2016 or in early 2017. The office building will house around 300 employees who will relocate from Cherry Hill, and 200 people from the company’s offices in Pennsauken, N.J. Additionally, Subaru of America plans to create another 100 jobs over the next decade.

Campbell Soup Company's Gateway Office Park in Camden NJ

Campbell Soup Company’s Gateway Office Park in Camden N.J.

Located in the Gateway District of Camden, Campbell’s 45-acre office park is being developed by Brandywine Realty Trust on and around the site of the demolished Sears Building at 1300 Admiral Wilson Boulevard—which Campbell purchased in June 2012 from owner Ilan Zaken for $3.5 million—and multiple adjacent parcels that the master developer acquired since then. Projected to revitalize the business sector in Camden, a former industrial city, the $132 million Gateway Office Park was designed by architecture firm Cooper, Robertson & Partners. With Campbell as anchor tenant, the office park is expected to attract several other businesses in Camden.

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Gateway Office Park plans via Campbell Soup Company

Blighted Orinoka Mills Textile Factory Rehabbed Into 51-Unit Rental Building

8 Dec 2014, 2:29 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

As local authorities are working on strategies to redevelop derelict or abandoned buildings throughout Philadelphia, the city’s historic neighborhoods are buzzing with adaptive reuse projects.

Orinoka Mills Civic House - Kensington, Philadelphia

Orinoka Mills Civic House – Kensington, Philadelphia

Kensington, located between the Lower Northeast section of Philadelphia and North Philadelphia, was once known as one of the nation’s largest centers of the textile industry. But the post-war deindustrialization left the neighborhood almost empty during the 1950s, as most of the factories shut down and thousands of workers were forced to abandon their homes and look for jobs elsewhere. In recent years some of Kensington’s blighted industrial properties have been redeveloped into apartment buildings and offices that are luring back residents and businesses.

One year after D3 Real Estate Development announced plans to reconvert a former warehouse located at 1601-23 N. Front Street into a mixed-use complex with retail, office, dining and entertainment space, a new reconversion project is ready to break ground at the intersection of Ruth and Somerset Streets. At the end of November the Philadelphia Zoning Board greenlighted a $16.2 million adaptive reuse project proposed by the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC).

According to PlanPhilly.com, NKCDC wants to reconvert the dilapidated Orinoka Mills, a vacant textile factory, into a residential and commercial complex that is expected to revitalize the nearby Kensington and Somerset corner which for decades has been known as one of Philadelphia’s drug corners. Dubbed Orinoka Mills Civic House and designed by Jibe Design, the project is part of NKCDC’s North of Lehigh Neighborhood Revitalization Plan.

Located at 2753 Ruth Street, the dis-used industrial complex consists of several mid-rise brick buildings built between 1890 and 1920 by the Solomon brothers who owned the Orinoka Mills textile company. In the 1980s the industrial complex was acquired by Lantal Textiles, and in 2013 it was purchased at sheriff sale by the city on behalf of NKCDC.

When fully rehabbed, Orinoka Mills Civic House will offer 51 one- and two-bedroom units targeting primarily residents who already live in the Somerset area and who earn between 20 percent and 60 percent of Area Median Income (or between $14,000 and $33,000 per year per individual). According to PlanPhilly.com, the project will also include a coffee shop and community space for NKCDC, as well as a parking garage with spaces for 26 vehicles.

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Rendering courtesy of NKCDC

Work Is Under Way at King of Prussia Mall’s $150M Expansion Project

29 Nov 2014, 5:18 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Philadelphia’s largest shopping venue and the second largest retail center in the United States, the King of Prussia Mall, is about to get even larger as construction crews began preparing the site for a major expansion project.

King of Prussia Mall expansion project - rendering

King of Prussia Mall expansion project – rendering

First announced three years ago by Indianapolis-based retail giant Simon Property Group, the estimated $150 million expansion will bring the mall’s layout to 2.8 million square feet. Earlier this year IMC Construction of Malvern was selected as general contractor for the project and workers have already begun tearing down a parking deck located next to the Neiman Marcus store to prep the site for construction. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the total number of parking spaces at the King of Prussia Mall will be reduced from nearly 13,200 to 12,728.

When completed in fall 2016, the enclosed 155,000-square-foot expansion designed by RTKL will connect the Plaza next to the Neiman Marcus store with the Court. To make up for the redeveloped parking deck, the mall’s owner will replace it with a valet parking garage with speed ramps providing convenient access to new stores and restaurants.

“The expansion of King of Prussia Mall will further enhance the shopping and dining experience of one of the nation’s largest and most compelling retail destinations,” said in a prepared statement David J. Contis, President of Simon Malls. “Based on the success of luxury retailers like Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Hermes and Louis Vuitton, we’re seeing a strong interest from other luxury brands to join the King of Prussia roster of retailers. Interest by national and Philadelphia-area restaurants is also high.”

The number of retail shops at the King of Prussia Mall will grow from 450 to 470, with the list of tenants including Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Lord &  Taylor, Macy’s, JCPenney, and Dick’s Sporting Goods and other retail and dining options.

Located at 160 North Gulph Mall in Upper Merrion, about 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia, the giant mall serves the shopping needs of the Greater Philadelphia region including Montgomery, Chester and Delaware counties. According to the Inquirer, around 25,000 shoppers visit the mall each day. The upcoming holiday shopping season is expected to attract more than 125,000 shoppers a day.

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Rendering courtesy of IMC Construction

Keystone NAP Reinvents Former Fairless Works Steel Mill into Advanced Data Center

21 Nov 2014, 7:45 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Keystone NAP Data Center - Bucks County PA

Keystone NAP Data Center – Bucks County PA

Once a buzzing steel mill that employed thousands of people, the former Fairless Works located on the bank of the Delaware River in Bucks County will be replaced by an advanced data center that is expected to cater to the technology needs of the Northeast’s growing business environment.

Keystone Network Access Point (NAP)—a relatively new partnership which was incorporated by a veteran team of IT executives in 2013 and is based in Fairless Hills, PA—is betting on the severe lack of data centers immediately north and east of Philadelphia. “We are bridging a crucial technology gap on the East Coast,” said Peter Ritz, founder and CEO of Keystone NAP. “Yet until now, there haven’t been solutions in the region to address the new demands those applications create. Companies increasingly need greater data center power and connectivity, as well as service support to keep operations running smoothly while employees focus on core business functions,” he added.

Located on South Pennsylvania Avenue on the USX Industrial Park, Fairless Works became fully operational in December 1952. According to a case study by Carnegie Mellon University, the 2,500-acre facility originally consisted of a coke plant, a chemical plant, a power house, a steel mill and finishing and forging facilities. The plant reached peak operations in the mid-1970s, when it employed around 7,000 workers. The plant closed most of its operations during the 1980s and only the steel finishing facility, which employed 100 people, remained operational.

Keystone NAP Data Center -aerial rendering - Bucks County PA

Keystone NAP Data Center—aerial rendering—Bucks County PA

Two years ago the Philadelphia Business Journal reported that Steel ORCA had plans to invest approximately $750 million in a large size data center, but the project fell through eventually.

Keystone NAP, which has developed a system of private modular, stackable data center vaults called KeyBlocks, expects the 180,000-square-foot data center to become operational in early 2015. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the co-location and IT services provider has raised capital from a group of Philadelphia-based investors led by Ira Lubert along with additional investors arranged by DH Capital. Taking advantage of the existing power infrastructure at the site—Exelon Fairless Hills Steam Generating Station, Waste Management Landfill Gas Reserve, PSEG Mercer Generating Station, Wheelabrator Falls, and Dominion Energy Clearinghouse—Keystone NAP will offer a web-scale infrastructure and 2,040 megawatts of guaranteed power durability.


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Renderings courtesy of Keystone NAP


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