Post Bros. buys Kushner Cos.' stake in Northern Liberties Piazza complex for $44.1M

The Liberties Walk retail-and-residential street at the development known as the Piazza in Northern Liberties.

Philadelphia’s Post Bros. property group has acquired a stake in the Northern Liberties apartment and retail complex known as the Piazza from Kushner Cos., the New York-based real estate firm formerly headed by presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Post Bros. paid $44.1 million for Kushner’s interest in the property, which is centered on North Second and Wildey Streets, with plans to renovate units in three of the development’s buildings with new kitchens and bathrooms, it said in a release Friday.

“We see a tremendous amount of potential in this property,” Post Bros. chief executive Michael Pestronk said in the release. “There is an exciting energy in this neighborhood, and Piazza is the only rental property of this scale in the area.”

The Piazza — also known as Schmidt’s Commons — is a 500-apartment complex that includes 125,000 feet of commercial space across nine adjoining properties. Tenants include a WeWork coworking venue, which leases space in a former brewery building.

Kushner and partner Oaktree Capital Management acquired the property in 2013 for a reported $130 million from developer Bart Blatstein, who built the complex on part of a cluster of properties he began assembling in the early 2000s around the former Schmidt’s brewery site.

Oaktree was previously said to have been seeking to sell its share of the property but will now apparently retain its stake in a deal that’s characterized in the release as a recapitalization of the partnership.

In addition to the apartment renovations, Post Bros. plans to add a pool for residents in the property’s courtyard as part of a “strategic effort to reposition the Piazza,” the company said in the release.

The complex’s two biggest apartment buildings, Erbe and Navona, are 77 percent and 85 percent filled, well below citywide averages that run between 90 and 95 percent depending on neighborhood, according to data earlier this year from the CoStar Group, a real estate market tracker.

Post Bros.’s acquisition comes amid moves by Blatstein to develop a new apartment and retail complex on another section of the land he acquired while planning the Piazza that has remained vacant.

The new development, which Blatstein is calling Piazza Terminal, will comprise nearly 1,200 rental apartments across six buildings with 45,000 square feet of retail space on 4.4 acres just west of the existing complex.

It is scheduled for consideration on June 5 by Philadelphia’s Civic Design Review panel, which makes nonbinding suggestions on the city’s biggest development proposals.

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