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Center City Legacy Buildings Can Compete. Here's How.

Older Center City buildings can be competitive, Rubenstein Partners' Craig Zolot tells us. If their repositioning is done right.


"Buildings in Center City do require a few ‘extras’ besides location to compete for major tenants," Craig says. "Of particular importance in the Independence Mall market is a building with different types of spaces. An attractive building has to be able to accommodate a variety of users, from traditional corporate layouts to creative space designs." In 2013, Rubenstein acquired Penn Mutual Towers, now One Washington Square, and in its repositioning, sought to create a range of options, including conventional floor plates but also "unique, dramatic, high-ceiling spaces,” as Craig puts it.


High-quality lobbies and common areas can impress tenants and visitors and create spaces to congregate, Craig adds. Rubenstein just completed major renovations of the 510 and 520 Walnut St lobbies, which included substantially increasing the amount of natural light in the 520 Walnut lobby (pictured), and its restoration to its classic look. The repositioning strategy seems to be paying off: recently, the company inked three leases in the 850k SF property totaling more than 36k SF, including an expansion for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, and new leases for a nonprofit and an engineering firm.