New B-School for La Salle; Suburbanites Repurpose Historical Buildings; and Potential Rebirth of West Market Street

Please enjoy this week’s edition of Capstone Law’s Philadelphia Real Estate Trends:

 

  • La Salle University announced plans to construct a new $35 million state-of-the-art home for its business school. The University intends to open the new 78,000 square foot Northwest Philadelphia facility by January, 2016. La Salle intends to mimic the “collaborative learning and teamwork environment” of the 21st century business world by locating classrooms, common areas and faulty offices very close together. University leaders hope that the new facility will position its business program as a fierce competitor to nearby business schools such as Drexel University, most of whom have already constructed new buildings or substantially upgraded their existing facilities.

 

  • While developers in the City of Philadelphia have successfully repurposed many vacant historical churches to new uses, suburban developers often demolish these buildings in favor of new ground-up construction projects.  Narberth Borough, however, hopes to buck this trend and preserve some of the borough’s older landmark structures by streamlining the development process for those developers proposing to retain the existing landmarks. For example, this past week the Narberth Borough Council voted unanimously to approve Main Line Realty Investors’ intended repurposing of the circa-1920’s former United Methodist Church of Narberth into 12 residential condominiums while retaining the historic structure indefinitely. Narberth’s leaders hope that the new streamlined development process will encourage more developers to follow Main Line Realty Investor’s example and consider retaining rather than demolishing these historical buildings.

 

  • The Philadelphia Housing Authority is allegedly on the move. The PHA intends to consolidate its city-wide departments into a new single ~300,000 square foot Center City facility (possibly at GlaxoSmithKline’s former headquarters at 16th and Race Streets). In connection with the consolidation, PHA would likely vacate its current headquarters on 23rd and Market Streets. Given the recent demolition of the nearby Forum Theater and other (seedy) businesses once located on this strip of Market Street, the City of Philadelphia and local developers will have a huge opportunity to replace these now-vacant lots with a true gateway between Center City and University City. Conceivably Drexel University and/or the University of Pennsylvania could acquire some of these properties and build a direct link between their campuses and Center City. Alternatively, developers could build apartments tailored to the thousands of Philadelphians who regularly commute to jobs in New York City via nearby 30th Street Station.

As always, please check-out Capstone’s website and the “Llenrock Local”, for the latest news from Philadelphia’s busy commercial real estate sector.  

 

Until next time, have a great week!

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