Thursday, July 30, 2015

Suburban rents fall with office values

$18.75/sq ft

Suburban rents fall with office values

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Exton Corporate Center
Exton Corporate Center

Willner Properties says it's seeking tenants at $18.75/sq ft -- includes cleaning, but not electric -- for its newly acquired "Class A" 80,000 sq ft Exton Corporate Center five-story lakeside office building at 102 Pickering Way off state Route 100 at Gordon Drive, West Whiteland Township, between U.S. 30 and the Downingtown exit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike/I-76.

"We are able to offer an equal if not superior product well below" the $21-to-$26/sq ft (plus electric) asking price for competing space nearby, says Craig R. Bradley, Willner vice president. Past tenants have included Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, American Executive Centers and service-company offices. The property was 80% vacant earlier this year, according to Bradley.

Willner isn't yet saying what it paid for the complex, bought from lenders via managing agent CSS after prevoius owners defaulted. But office real estate prices in the western suburbs have fallen as much as half since the mid-2000s, allowing local owners to buy properties from disappionted REITs and other institutional investors, and to cut rents for tenants, Conshohocken-based investor J. Anthony Hayden says here. 

But realty agents and owners say lease values have held up better at Radnor Financial Center, Tower Bridge, and other mostly rented corporate spaces at locations that are newer or closer to Philadelphia.

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PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

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Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

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