Saturday, July 12, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Developer O'Neill vs. bank: 'Re-negotiation by other means'

"The market knows who it is."

Developer O'Neill vs. bank: 'Re-negotiation by other means'

When you owe $100,000, you have a problem. When you owe $100 million, your bank has a problem.

Builder Brian O'Neill owes Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania $61 million for office construction at his Uptown Worthington development out in Frazer, and they're fighting about it, as Phila Business Journal's Natalie Kostelni documented here last week. Follows VWR Corp.'s decision to not put its headquarters at Worthington after all, as my colleague Diane Mastrull wrote here.

I asked O'Neill where that's headed: The bank is taking over the office part of the project? "No way." So what is this, renegotiation by other means? "I like that. That's exactly what it is. Renegotiation by other means. Can I use that?" 

You're still building the store piece, though? "Wegman's is planning to open in June. Target is well on their way." The fancy movie theater? "Next year." Hotels? "Not yet."

You have other office tenants? "We do." Signed? "Signed." Like who? "The market knows who it is." People in the market told me they thought the bank is taking over that piece. "No way." They're not big companies like VWR? "We're talking about 50,000, 75,000 square feet." You broke it in pieces. "Mid-size."

And those 753 housing units? "Residences are moving forward to completion. Late 2010, early 2011." Condos? "We're renting, to start." You have residential tenants? "A backlog equivalent to 300 percent of available property." Old folks, empty-nesters? "A lot of young people from Vanguard and other companies."

Is Vanguard one of your office tenants, since they don't seem to be building in Uwchlan after all? "I'd like that."


About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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