Work starts at $31M West Philly office building

Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., and other officials are listed for Monday morning's groundbreaking of Univeristy Place Associates LLC's five-story office building at 41st and Filbert (just below Market), where partners Scott Mazo and Jim Levin of Neighborhood Restorations (which owns and manages 1,000 mostly single-family city rentals), and Tom Leonard (partner at Obermayer, real estate investor and Democratic fundraiser), have already started work on the $31 million, 105,000-sq-ft office building, one of the biggest office projects in town since the recession started.

The federal government's Citizenship and Immigration Services will lease three of the floors, moving from 16th and Callwowhill after the building won a General Services Administraotin bidding process, GSA said last year. Other tenants are in discussion, Mazo told me.

Mazo says lenders led by TD Bank are in for a little over 60% of the price, with the three partners, as University Place Associates Equity, putting up the cash balance. The site, once home to a ball-bearing plant, is the first in the city pre-certified Platinum LEED for efficient energy and water use, according to Mazo. "It's appropriate, in one of the nation's largest research centers, to have a building with this level of energy efficiency, environmental responsibility and workplace enfvironment," he said. "That's a statement about who we are." 

Penntex Construction's Fort Washington office, whose clients include University Property Trust, will manage construction on the union-labor site. Special features include a green roof, stormwater holding tanks, a gray-water recycling system that feeds toilets and other non-potable uses, solar-band glass from PPG Industries, and a European chilled-beam heating-ventilating-air conditioning system. 

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