Saturday, February 28, 2015

Commercial Real Estate in the Phila. Region

Commercial Real Estate in the Phila. Region

Ouch!! That is the collective assessment of commercial developers and property owners in these still-rough post-recession times.

 

With city and suburban vacancy rates lingering in the double digits, the focus now is keeping tenants and luring new ones. For property owners, that means keeping up with what’s in demand – from more energy-efficient building infrastructure to work spaces that are less cubicle and confining and more free-flowing and interactive. For developers, the search for financing is still a frustrating one, meaning that new projects will require partnering.

 

Here’s a look at readjustment efforts of the region’s commercial real estate market. 

More Coverage

A green park above the old Reading Viaduct train trestle north of Chinatown might be beautiful if it happens, but some neighbors fear it would be built "on the backs" of working-class people.

Center City's office market is still lots weaker and cheaper than New York's. It's worse in the suburbs, where the drug industry has lately been abandoning space, instead of renting new offices and hiring people.

A Phila.-based firm is on a mission to find waste in construction projects, from cost overruns to fraud. Talson Solutions' projects have ranged from CB Park and the Comcast Center to the Panama Canal expansion.

Changing Skyline: Revising strategies on Dela. waterfront

Philadelphia’s waterfront has shifted identity many times since William Penn first stuck his toe in the Delaware. And now it's being prepped to take on a new role - as a 21st-century lifestyle city.

 

Every town seems to have one: The shell of an old gas station, sometimes recognizable as a former Exxon, Sunoco, Mobil, or Texaco. From Glen Mills to Mullica Hill, they often sit empty for years, patches of gravel showing where aging underground tanks came out, a succession of “available” or “for sale” signs on display.

 

Deirdre Connelly, GlaxoSmithKline's North American president, helped break ground and plant trees  as the global pharmaceutical giant put down a new corporate footprint in Philadelphia at the Navy Yard. But once the new building rises from the dirt, she won't have a big corner office

Never mind the blow that GlaxoSmithKline's decision to leave Center City has dealt Philadelphia's already vacancy-battered commercial landlords. What about the effect on the pharmaceutical company's 1,300 employees? Talk about culture shock.

The two Center City office buildings are not likely to turn many heads. One and Three Franklin Plaza simply have been upstaged by the Comcast Center and the Cira Centre. But in recent weeks the Franklin Plaza duo, have become the focus of much attention after pharma titan GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C. announced plans to move to the Navy Yard.

Cleaning crews are boldly steering janitorial carts into office buildings' lobbies, work cubicles, and restrooms when such potentially disruptive activity has long been considered a no-no: In the daytime.

Nine years after the Philadelphia Regional Produce Market began looking for a new home, it's finally about to get one. The 686,000-square-foot building is nearly complete - a bright and airy indoor mall that will cater to the public, commercial chain stores, small mom-and-pop groceries, restaurants, schools, and government buyers.

Twenty years ago, Kramer + Marks Architects landed a contract to renovate the Germantown YMCA. That job has led to 23 more YMCA projects in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York - and a business niche that has enabled the 33-year-old firm to do more than just survive the current construction doldrums.

J. Brian O'Neill

The performance was vintage J. Brian O’Neill. The King of Prussia developer paced around a conference room at his company’s headquarters, showing a side that hasn't been on display much lately.

Market East

The sketch for a possible Girard Square transformation on Market Street between 11th and 12th looks as if it were designed by Apple: a glass box filled with white light. So, why hasn't it been done yet?
 

"Market East needs help," said Alan Greenberger, the city's deputy mayor for economic development. "We need to get something going."

Commercial slump
It's just a hint of the harrowing state of affairs in commercial real estate, where vacancies are on the rise across virtually all sectors, rents and property values are dropping, building owners are low on funds, and financing options are drying up.