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Vacant School Building in Pointe Breeze Goes Residential

23 Feb 2015, 4:14 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The 120-year-old building that for years has been sitting vacant at the corner of 17th and Tasker Streets in Pointe Breeze will be coming back to life as residential and community space.

George W. Childs Elementary School - 1501 S. 17th Street - Pointe Breeze

George W. Childs Elementary School – 1501 S. 17th Street – Pointe Breeze

Last month the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment approved a redevelopment project that will transform the former George W. Childs Elementary School which left the building in 2010 and moved to a new address at 16th and Wharton Streets.

The Philadelphia Inquirer previously reported that the 72,900-sq.-ft. asset was purchased for $1.2 million by Metal Ventures, Inc. in spring 2014, after the School Reform Commission had approved the sale of seven shuttered schools and a former administrative building to multiple buyers in a transaction totaling $37.8 million.

Metal Ventures’ adaptive reuse project calls for a mixed-use property that will include 73 apartments—10 of which will be offered as affordable housing to individuals earning less than 80 percent of Philadelphia’s Area Median Income, or less than $44,150 per year for an individual. As detailed by PlanPhilly, a studio in the redeveloped building could rent for as much as $1,100 per month, including utilities.

The project will also have a parking garage for 48 cars, one of which will be set aside for a car-sharing service, as well as 11 parking spaces for bikes and a green roof and roof decks. The former school’s auditorium, which encompasses 7,000 square feet of space, will be available to local community groups two nights per week, free of charge.

The three-story, brick-clad structure was built in 1894 by Johnson & Byrens under plans designed by Joseph W. Anschutz, with two additional wings completed 34 years later. The Classic Revival-style building was added to the national Register of Historic Places in 1988.


Image via Google Street View

TGM Associates Snags $36.5 Million for Rental Community in West Chester

15 Feb 2015, 7:21 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A rental apartment and townhome community sitting on more than 11 acres in West Chester, Pa., recently changed hands.

Halstead - West Chester PA

Halstead – West Chester PA

According to a press release announcing the sale, HFF marketed the property on behalf of TGM Associates, a New York-based investment advisory firm focused on multifamily properties. Narberth, Pa.-based Metropolitan Management Corporation purchased the property, which is located at 812 Goshen Road near Routes 202 and 322 and the West Chester Pike, just minutes away from downtown West Chester. The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that the apartment asset sold for $36.5 million.

Completed in 1976, Halstead is a garden- and townhome-style community consisting of 198 apartments ranging from 770 square feet to 1,200 square feet in a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units across six, two-story buildings. The list of amenities includes a fitness center and concierge services. Monthly rents at Halstead vary from $1,090 for a one-bedroom to $1,620 for a three-bedroom unit.

“Halstead represents the opportunity to continue a proven renovation strategy in one of Philadelphia’s most highly-acclaimed suburban submarkets,” said in a prepared statement Mark Thomson, who was part of the HFF sales team representing TGM Associates. “Investors continue to target West Chester due to strong rental growth, low vacancy, high household income, and the increasing number of jobs throughout the area,” he added.

Image via Google Street View

Penn Approves Final Design for $77.6 Million Perelman Center

30 Jan 2015, 4:14 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The West Philadelphia Title and Trust Company building in University City is ready for a three-year, multi-million renovation and expansion project.

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics - Philadelphia

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics – Philadelphia

The property’s owner, the University of Pennsylvania, will build a new academic center designed to bring under the same roof the departments of Political Science and Economics in Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences with some of the school’s most popular majors such as economics, political science, international relations and the interdisciplinary philosophy, politics and economics program.

The University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees recently green-lighted KPMB Architects’ design plans for the building, which will be renamed into the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics. Penn News reports that construction at the 100,000-square-foot center is scheduled to start in December this year, with an anticipated completion date set for January 2018.

Plans for the new academic center were revealed in early 2013. The University of Pennsylvania received a $25 million donation from Ronald O. Perelman, a University of Pennsylvania alumnus.

To complete the $77.6 million project, the development team will rehab the existing 9-story building located at 133 S. 36th Street in the heart of Penn’s campus, which totals 54,440 square feet and was designed by Davis, Dunlap, & Barney in the mid-1920s. The structure will be expanded to the north with a 56,700-square-foot addition that will resonate with the vertical style of the historic West Philadelphia Title and Trust Company building. The two structures will be connected, according to project details revealed by the university, and will include an auditorium, class rooms, offices and lounge space for the departments and programs that will relocate in the new center.


Rendering courtesy of KPMB Architects

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

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