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MRP's Philly Debut

MRP Residential principal Matt Robinson, SVP Charley McGrath, and SVP Kevin Schaar are excited to be in Philly: The DC-based group just snapped up the Avenue of the Arts Building in a partnership with Principal Real Estate Investors. Not bad for a first-time buy here. (Let's give them a traditional Philly welcome... actually, let's not scare them off just yet.) NYC-based Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp was the seller. The buyers plan 220 upscale apartments at 176k SF of space via a gut renovation, adding a state-of-art fitness center and roof deck, with units ready in 2016.  (The trio was snapped at the Washington Harbour complex, a mixed-use project in DC's Georgetown that MRP and Rockpoint Group sold to Principal last year.)

Erected in 1897, the building's depths are much thinner than comparable properties MRP has worked on in DC, making it ideal for conversions, they tell us. Originally built for offices (yes, people had offices back then... lit by candles), the 4th through 17th floors were most recently used as student housing. Fast forward 10 years, they predict, and the Avenue of the Arts could become the Avenue of the Trophy Market, with nary a Class-B office or multifamily space left. In the meantime, MRP's outlook on Philly is to pursue infill in core locations within the CBD, repositioning office space from Class-B to A. It also has its eyes on industrial acquisitions.