GSK building in South Philly's Navy Yard to be latest sale to big overseas investor

Liberty Property Trust is selling the U.S. headquarters building for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in the Philadelphia Navy Yard to an overseas buyer, an executive with the Malvern-based developer said Tuesday.

Liberty is under agreement to sell the four-story, 208,000-square-foot building at 5 Crescent Drive in the Navy Yard’s Corporate Center section to a “foreign institutional investor,” John Gattuso, regional director for the development firm, said in an interview.

He declined to identify the buyer or disclose the purchase price. The transaction is expected to close during the first half of next month.

The deal extends a recent string of acquisitions by big overseas institutions in University City and Center City to the Navy Yard, a sprawling business and industrial park in the city’s south.

“It’s a vote of confidence in the City of Philadelphia that the city can attract foreign, institutional-quality capital,” Gattuso said. “It signals Philadelphia’s increasing emergence as a place where people feel confident investing long term.”

The transaction will also mark Liberty’s first sale of a property that it built for its Navy Yard portfolio since it began buying and developing land on the city-owned former military base more than a decade ago.

GSK has nine years remaining on its lease for its glass-sheathed Navy Yard office building, which was completed in 2013 following a design by Robert A. M. Stern Architects.

Liberty Property Trust is under contract to sell the U.S. headquarters building for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in the Philadelphia Navy Yard to an overseas buyer, an executive with the Malvern-based developer said Tuesday.

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