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European Fashion Retailer Signs Long-Term Lease for 677,000 Sq. Ft. Lehigh Valley Warehouse

18 Jan 2015, 9:45 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A European fashion retailer looking to expand overseas has officially entered the US market by leasing a 40-acre site in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley industrial market to support its east coast operations.

2485 Commerce Center Boulevard Warehouse - Bethlehem PA

2485 Commerce Center Boulevard Warehouse – Bethlehem PA

UK-based Primark, which was founded in Ireland in 1969 under the name Penneys and focuses on affordable and trendy clothing for men and women, will open a distribution center in a warehouse located in the former Bethlehem Steel complex. According to a press statement, Primark signed a 10-year lease for a 677,000-square-foot Class A speculative warehouse owned by a joint venture between Trammell Crow Company and Clarion Partners.

“This is a truly significant transaction for the entire Lehigh Valley community,” said in a prepared statement Vincent Ranalli of CBRE, who represented the property’s owner. “This site is part of the overall redevelopment of the former Bethlehem Steel Company properties. The neighborhood now includes Walmart, which recently leased 2.4 million square feet in two buildings; Crayola, which leased 800,000 square feet; and Zulily, which also leased 800,000 square feet

Located at 2485 Commerce Center Boulevard, the warehouse is close to Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York, which makes it a perfect location for distribution of product to customers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. As previously reported by Commercial Property Executive, construction at the $38 million spec warehouse broke ground in July 2013 as part of a revitalization project that aimed to transform the former Bethlehem Steel complex into a new industrial complex called Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII. The development partners acquired the 40-acre site for approximately $6.4 million.

Image courtesy of CBRE


Queen Lane Apartments in Germantown Coming Back to Life

7 Jan 2015, 6:03 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

After years of community meetings and intense debates—and three months after the city imploded the derelict Queen Lane apartment tower in Philadelphia’s historic Germantown—the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) will start construction of a brand new residential community that will revitalize the neighborhood.

The old Queen Lane apartment tower was built in the 1950s and designed by architect Thaddeus Longstreth. According to Hidden City Philadelphia, the 16-story building was created as a “non-white,” high-density public housing complex with nearly 120 units crammed into 112,330 square feet of space.

Designed by Kitchen & Associates of Collingswood, NJ, the new Queen Lane development will include 55 affordable and low-density rental units that will blend in with the surrounding neighborhood. According to a press release issued by PHA, the complex will be built around a former “potter’s field” burial ground dating from the late 1790s.

“PHA is delivering on its commitment to have affordable housing on the Queen Lane site and to being a partner in revitalizing this Germantown neighborhood,” said PHA President and CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah. “We know the Queen Lane neighborhood will benefit from the construction of new, modern affordable housing that matches the existing housing designs. The history and the memory of those souls formerly buried at the site will be recognized. We are honoring our past while building for the future in this historic neighborhood,” he added.

Queen Lane residential complex - close up- Germantown, Philadelphia

Queen Lane residential complex – Germantown, Philadelphia

Scheduled for completion by the end of 2016, the $22 million Queen Lane complex will feature a mix of two-story flats, walk-up apartments, and three-story townhouses. The project will also include a community room and a management office with meeting spaces.

Renderings courtesy of Kitchen & Associates via the Philadelphia Housing Authority

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

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