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Revamped Hotel Thrives Near Downtown Philly

29 Jul 2015, 1:59 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

The completion of a multi-million dollar renovation of the Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia/Fort Washington marks the beginning of a new chapter in the hotel’s successful history.

Hilton Garden Inn  Philadelphia Ft. WashingtonReal estate investment and development firm Laurus Corp. recently announced the repositioning of the 146-key property, which it acquired in 2013. The enhancements have been well received by guests, as the hotel experienced a spike in occupancy rates in recent months.

The Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia/Fort Washington is very well located along the Pennsylvania Turnpike business corridor, only 15 miles north of downtown Philadelphia.

Upgrades include purposefully refreshed guestrooms, significant enhancements to the lobby and to the meeting space (which totals 3,350 square feet), and an improved outdoor courtyard with ample seating areas and an outdoor fire pit.

The six-story upscale property features many unique amenities including the brand’s signature restaurant, The Great American Grill and The Pavilion Lounge. Guests here also have access to an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, business center and complimentary Wi-Fi.

“The acquisition of the Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia/Fort Washington provided an opportunity for Laurus to step in and extract maximum revenue potential of an extremely well-located hotel with a strong brand affiliation that is now thriving near the flourishing downtown Philadelphia area,” said Andres Szita, chairman & co-founder of Laurus Corp.

Strong corporate demand for lodging facilities in the Philadelphia area is sustained by notable companies including Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Aetna and three major corporate office parks: Fort Washington Office Park, Willow Grove Office Park and Metroplex Corporate Center in Plymouth Meeting. The local market will also benefit from the highly-anticipated reopening of the Fort Washington Expo Center in 2016 and the development of the 113,000 square-foot Life Time Fitness facility next to the newly refurbished hotel.

Photo credits: hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com

Suburban Office Market Hot in Philly

27 Jul 2015, 1:09 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

Colliers International leased one of the last large blocks of contiguous Class A office space in the heart of Philadelphia’s suburbs to a single user.

335 Commerce Drive in Fort WashingtonThe 75,000-square-foot property at 335 Commerce Drive in Fort Washington will become the new headquarters for TruMark Financial Credit Union. The company also plans to open a branch location with a drive-thru on-site.

TruMark selected this building because of its strategic location and great visibility. The facility also offers excellent access to major roadways including the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Route 309.

Greg Soffian and Matthew Sall of Savills Studley represented the tenant in the transaction. The Colliers team of John Susanin, Kyle Hilbert, and Sandy Richardson represented the owner, Somerset Properties.

“This will have a major impact on the Fort Washington office market. This transaction represents nearly 10 percent of Fort Washington’s Class A inventory,” said John Susanin, senior vice president at Colliers International. “It adds positive momentum to an already hot market that is benefiting from the relocation of several local headquarters and a growing retail corridor, helping to draw new and retain existing tenants in Fort Washington.”

Somerset Properties retained Colliers as the exclusive leasing agent for its five-building, one million-square-foot Fort Washington portfolio in 2014. With the conclusion of the TruMark lease, these assets are currently more than 98 percent occupied.

Photo credits: Colliers International

Major Revitalization Coming to Camden’s Waterfront?

14 Jul 2015, 6:10 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

A long-stalled commercial and residential project that could transform the Greater Philadelphia riverfront at Camden is back on the drawing board.

Coopers Crossing - Greater Philadelphia Riverfront at CamdenAccording to The Inquirer, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) recently approved a four-month financing deadline extension on its development agreement with Camden Town Center L.L.C., a realty company affiliated with Ohio-based Steiner & Associates.

Preliminary plans call for more than 400,000 square feet of commercial space, including retail and office venues, about 1,600 homes, and a 140-room hotel.

The project is being considered for an area north of the Adventure Aquarium, along the Delaware River, which currently hosts three large buildings and six parking lots. Steiner owns the aquarium and has been attempting to develop the site for more than a decade. Its initial development agreement dates back to 2004, according to the EDA.

“This type of project proves that Camden is a smart investment and is ready for the next phase of its revitalization,” Camden County Freeholder Louis Cappelli Jr. said. “We are experiencing a historic economic recovery in Camden City. There are currently hundreds of millions of dollars in private investments committed to Camden that will result in tens of thousands of new jobs.”

Steiner’s website shows renderings of its proposed $200 million development on Camden’s waterfront. Called Cooper’s Crossing, the project aims to take advantage of Philadelphia’s excursion market of over 28 million people, which ranks as the third largest in the United States.

Photo credits: Steiner & Associates

Suburban Office Park Sale Reaches Pre-Recession Level

10 Jul 2015, 5:32 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

A new owner emerged for the Plymouth Woods Office Center, a five-building office park at 521-531 Plymouth Road in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

Plymouth Woods Office CenterAccording to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Exeter Property Group recently acquired the 188,360-square-foot property from GPX Realty of Wayne, Pa. for about $20 million.

Sources and rough estimates show that this is approximately the same amount the asset traded for at the peak of the real estate market in 2007. At the time, GPX Realty bought the complex, along with the Woods Office Center, a 370,000-square-foot facility off Old Eagle School Road in Wayne, for a combined $60 million.

Exeter now plans to bring several exterior and interior upgrades to its new Plymouth addition, in order to reposition this asset in the area’s strong office market. The renovation will also include the lobbies, restrooms and common areas. Beneficial Bank and Coca Cola are among the property’s tenants.

Exeter owns mostly industrial facilities, but intends to add more office assets to its portfolio in the near future. The company currently owns office properties in several other areas, including Malvern, Pa., Conshohocken, Pa., Baltimore and other cities.

“We have always been in the office business,” Ward Fitzgerald, president & CEO of Exeter, told the newspaper.

Robert E. Yoshimura, Joseph B. Hill and R. Eric Mattson Jr. with Cushman & Wakefield and Gene McHale and Colin McHale of Beacon Commercial Real Estate represented GPX Realty in the transaction.

Photo credits: GPX Realty

Apartment Building Sale in Philadelphia Sets New Record

30 Jun 2015, 3:45 pm

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

ICON 1616 Apartment Building in Philadelphia

ICON 1616 Apartment Building in Philadelphia

A new transaction highlights the strength of Philadelphia’s multifamily market.

Icon, a 206-unit Art Deco apartment building at 1616 Walnut St., recently sold for $112 million, which equates to a record-breaking price tag of more than $542,000 per unit.

According to the Commercial Observer, Meridian Capital Group negotiated an $80.4 million Fannie Mae loan on behalf of the property’s new owner, Castle Rock Equity Group of New York.

The 10-year loan, originated by Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, includes a 4.06 percent interest rate and a 30-year amortization schedule.

Located less than two blocks from Rittenhouse Square, the 25-story historic tower was previously owned by a partnership involving Federal Capital Partners, Cross Properties and Alterra Property Group.

The companies acquired the high-rise in 2012 for an undisclosed amount and invested $50 million into its conversion from office to residential use.

Open since April 2014, the rebranded Icon high-rise now features a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, with an average size of 730 square feet. There are also 160 parking spaces and 23,000 square feet of retail space occupied by Santander Bank, Theory, TownHome and Pizzeria Vetri.

Amenities include a sky deck with a grilling station, herb garden, outdoor living area and fireplace; a private dining room with fireplace; club level with kitchen, pool table, and large-screen televisions; and a fitness floor with a yoga studio and massage room.

What is special about this conversion project is that the developers worked with Delos, a New York real estate company that came up with the Well Building standards, which are similar to sustainable and LEED building standards, but focus on promoting human health and wellness within the built environment.

The property came up for sale in October and was marketed by Jim Galbally and Erin Miller of JLL. According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the Icon apartments command an average rental rate of about $3.50 per square foot, which ranks as one of the highest in Philadelphia’s Center City.

Photo credits: www.icon1616.com

Find out more about the newly-developed WELL Building Standard, the first protocol of its kind to focus on human wellness within the built environment.

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