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This Week's Philadelphia Deal Sheet

Keystone Development + Investment's conversion of The Curtis into life sciences space is adding to its list of successes.

A Bisnow event panel discussion conducted in the atrium of The Curtis in November 2021.

BioLabs, an advanced biotech incubator and accelerator, is more than doubling its space at The Curtis, leasing an additional 30K SF to add to the 23K SF it has operated for a little more than a year. BioLabs, which provides supportive services for tenants of varying sizes, from lab cleaning and maintenance services to networking and fundraising connections, leases to companies at various early stages with some pre-existing financial backing. Single desks go for $3K per month.

Keystone has now spent $70M to convert over 200K SF of the 910K SF former publishing plant to life sciences, capitalizing on the building's combination of industrial-grade infrastructure, office-grade amenities and location in Old City to appeal to tenants with both research and biomanufacturing needs. Though some of the Curtis' square footage is taken up by apartments, a further 300K SF is slated to be converted from office to life sciences when current leases expire.


Long Island, New York-based commercial real estate investment firm Milbrook Properties has acquired a regional shopping center in the South Central Pennsylvania township of Chambersburg. The 174K SF Franklin Center was 91.5% leased at the time of the sale, with Dick's Sporting Goods and T.J. Maxx as anchor tenants. Florida-based shopping center investor Coastal Equities sold the property, represented by a JLL Capital Markets team led by senior managing directors Christopher Munley and James Galbally.


Federal Realty Investment Trust, a REIT focused on outdoor shopping centers, has hired three new managers for its Philadelphia regional office, based in the suburb of Wynnewood: Adam Hendricks, Nick Fornaro and Kristin Blaser. Federal has also relocated Vice President of Development Mark Brennan from its New York office to oversee the company's regional development operations.

Hendricks will serve as Federal's development manager in Philly after being hired from a similar position at German grocery chain Lidl. Fornaro has been named a construction manager after departing a similar position at Camden-based construction management firm Scungio Borst & Associates, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March. Blaser will serve as property manager overseeing a list of centers in the region, including Wynnewood Shopping Center near Federal's office.


The Bok Building at 1901 South Ninth St. in South Philadelphia, seen in 2019.

Scout Ltd. has culminated seven years of owning the Bok Building, a former vocational school at 1901 South Ninth St. in South Philly, by signing its largest tenant yet, bringing the eight-story, 338K SF building to 98% leased, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports. Upper 90 Soccer will open a 21K SF academy in the former school gymnasium, at least partially financed through the crowdfunding platform WeFunder.

The bulk of Bok's 250 tenants are small, independent artisans, nonprofits and other forms of community-focused enterprises, with 30% of tenants leasing less than 750 SF. More than 80% are self-owned businesses (with over 70% of those owners living in the neighborhood), over 50% are woman-owned and 20% are minority-owned. Crowned with the wildly popular Bok Bar on the roof, the building will now serve as a template for Scout's next acquisition, where it hopes to execute a similar business plan, PBJ reports. 

***, an online novelty and gift retailer, has leased a 20K SF flex warehouse and office building in the Camden County township of Pennsauken, New Jersey, for its new headquarters. The property sits within Airport Industrial Park and is owned by an affiliate of Israeli investment firm Faropoint, a voracious acquirer of small industrial properties in the Philadelphia market among others. A Vantage Commercial team of Executive Director Ken Richardson and sales associate Vince Ceroli represented in its search for a new headquarters, which took all of one month, per a Vantage press release.

A rendering of 2020 Acquisitions' distribution center in the Philadelphia suburb of Mansfield Township, New Jersey, under speculative construction as of June 2022.

Hybrid, a digital media firm based in the UK, has leased just under 4K SF at Center City office tower 1600 Market St. for its U.S. headquarters, PBJ reports. The company is looking to hire aggressively, targeting an employee headcount of more than 80 within three years, and expects to add square footage to its lease when it does so.

A Tactix Real Estate Advisors team of Michael Rabinowitz and Dan Ritterman represented Hybrid as it decided between 30 different potential homes across Center City and University City before landing on 1600 Market, owned by American Real Estate Partners and anchored by PNC Bank (which shrank its footprint at the building from 350K SF to 230K SF soon after AREP purchased it in 2018). AREP refinanced 1600 Market with a $162.5M loan from Natixis early this year.


2020 Acquisitions, a New Jersey-based developer with business lines in single-family, multifamily, creative office and golf courses, is underway on a 610K SF distribution center in Burlington County's Mansfield Township in its home state, and it has retained JLL as the exclusive leasing agent for the property. Built on speculation, the facility at 5206 Route 130 will contain 123 loading docks, 40-foot clear heights and parking for 95 trailers and 173 cars when it delivers, which is expected to be before summer ends.