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West Suburban Sizzle
February 7, 2013

West Suburb Surprise

It's no longer OK for office space in the western suburbs to just be new boxes. Major projects in Malvern and Valley Forge reveal sunlight may be a guiding force. (Bad news for Dracula & Sons Development.)

In Malvern, Liberty Property Trust will break ground on a 200k SF BTS for Vanguard Group at its Great Valley Corporate Center. Liberty VP Tom Sklow tells us that the building will be designed to accommodate more open spaces and daylighting, fewer walls, and not many cubicles. The goal is collaboration in ways that more conventional floor plans don't offer, such as a highly visible, sunlit staircase that spans all six floors (pictured below, and another place Drac can't go).
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Vanguard rendering 1-2013
"We're seeing demand for private offices and even cubicles drop off dramatically," Tom says. Vanguard inked a long-term lease, repped by JLL's Ron Cariola and Mike Morrone. The new building will be LEED certified, and at six stories, it's twice of height of any other building in the business park, which Liberty has been developing for more than four decades.
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The redevelopers of the 272k SF CrossPoint at Valley Forge—the Davis Cos and MIM Hayden Real Estate Funds—are adding features that bring light into the structure, such as a two-story lobby boasting glass elevators. Redevelopment of the vacant structure began with no pre-leasing—something the market hasn't seen in a while—and then Medical device specialist Teleflex stepped up to lease 84k SF of the early '80s vintage property, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank exec managing director Jeff Mack tells us. He, along with Adam Shute and Taylor King, repped the owner, while CBRE's Scott Miller and Rija Beares repped Teleflex.


We deployed our world-spanning journalistic resources—well, one crack reporter anyway—this week to San Diego for the Mortgage Bankers Association annual meeting, buttonholing as many finance pros as we could. MBA's Jamie Woodwell says investors are now chasing yield into secondary and tertiary markets. And underwriting is still cautious in the hinterlands. As those tertiary markets' job growth recovers, so too will underwriting loosen, Jamie says.

movie art
We ran into a Philly CRE vet in San Diego with a real taste in art. Haverford Capital president David Spoont showed us his latest purchase: A metallic paper print reproduction of a famous Brigitte Bardot movie by the San Diego artist Christian Michaels he picked up during the MBA conference. David tells us he was wandering around the city when he ran into a gallery and fell in love with this piece.

On the business front, David says he's seeing more property owners seeking short-term financing to buy some extra time to stabilize properties. "I think that there will be demand for floating-rate, balance sheet financing for terms of two to three years to allow owners to complete business plans and sell properties," he says.

"I never do anything by chance." — Brigitte Bardot. Send suggestions and ideas purposefully to dees.stribling@bisnow.com.

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