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Monday, April 28, 2008

Good Enough Equals Great in Commercial Real Estate

downtown Chicago area
Sometimes average isn't so bad, especially amid economic uncertainty.

Several commercial real estate industry observers have issued reports in recent days, examining how the Chicago market is faring. What they found in general: Chicago real estate markets and Chicago Loop apartments may not be outperforming, but neither are they in distress.

Studley, which specializes in representing tenants in commercial real estate transactions, found the overall Chicago market for office space to be healthy for landlords but, in recent months, beginning to tilt in favor of tenants.

For Class A office properties, "total rent, $42.11 [per square foot], posted its fourth consecutive year of increase," Studley said, adding that owners asked for higher rates in 2007 during the peak of the investment sales market.

But that could change.

"As vacancies and rental rates flattened toward the end of 2007, the market could see a turn toward a tenant-favored environment as rental rates fall and concessions rise, especially in non-trophy buildings," Studley said. Concessions include anything from office improvements to free rent.

Moody's Investor Services had its own take on various types of Chicago commercial real estate. Moody's described the city's central business district as having a moderate number of vacancies, weaker than New York or San Francisco but stronger than Dallas or Philadelphia.

Chicago's suburban office markets improved, according to Moody's, but supply still remained on the high side. For industrial properties, Chicago was graded as having a moderate amount of vacant space.

Cushman & Wakefield recently noted a nationwide slowdown in office demand.

"The combination of three straight months of employment declines and broad economic uncertainty caused a mild slowdown in leasing activity in the first quarter," said Maria Sicola, executive managing director and head of research for Cushman & Wakefield.

But the Chicago central business district vacancy rate wasn't much changed, the company said.

"The vacancy rate remained relatively flat during the quarter at 12 percent, up from 11.9 percent at the end of the year," it said.

Nationally, office vacancies rose from 9.7 percent at the end of last year to 9.9 percent in the first quarter.

Ellis chosen as marketer: CB Richard Ellis has been chosen to handle marketing and leasing for Northwest Village, a mixed-use project at the northwest corner of Interstate Highway 90 and Illinois Highway 53 in Rolling Meadows. The real estate giant cited the project's close proximity to Woodfield mall.

When complete, Northwest Village is expected to offer 500,000 square feet of retail space, 1,000 resident units, two hotels and office space.

Amcol's move: Amcol International Corp. will be occupying a 72,000-square-foot international headquarters and lab at the southwest corner of Forbs Avenue and Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates. Amcol will move in during the third quarter of the year.

Amcol, which is publicly traded, offers a wide range of specialty mineral products.

Second-Home Buyers Go Condo

luxurious condos serve as great second homes
Vacation Houses Lose Out In a Weak Market; Coping With Pool Rules

The second-home market is in a slump. But one type of vacation property is still showing signs of life: condos (see Ballantyne Condos & Matthews Condos.

A new National Association of Realtors study estimates that sales of vacation homes in 2007 fell 31%, to 740,000, from 2006. But sales of condos dipped only slightly -- down 2.8% -- while sales of detached homes dropped 38%. The upshot is that condos cornered a substantially larger share of the vacation-home market last year: 29%, up from 21% in 2006.

Condos, including South Charlotte Condos, are selling better than single-family vacation houses for a number of reasons. They don't require their owners to maintain lawns, trim shrubs, paint the exteriors or replace roofs -- increasingly important concerns to an aging population. Condo communities also tend to offer amenities such as pools and clubhouses. And condos usually are cheaper to buy, and easier to resell, than houses.

Yet the prices of vacation condos haven't held up. Median prices fell almost 10% to $180,000 last year from the year before, while prices of single-family second homes remained flat, says the Realtor group. Part of that decline reflects the general downturn in the housing market, but the price pressure on condos also comes from investors who bought units in resort markets during the real-estate boom and now are trying to get rid of them. While the price-cutting is bad news for existing condo owners, it can make the units seem like relative bargains to buyers compared to houses.

Tod Phelps and his wife, Shelly, are among the second-home buyers attracted to condos. The couple since 2001 have owned a three-bedroom house on Beech Mountain, N.C., a 2½-hour drive from their primary home in Greensboro, N.C. But Mr. Phelps, an information-technology executive, says he is tired of spending weekends cleaning gutters and painting doors, and paying at least $3,000 a year to have people mow the lawn, weed flowerbeds and plow the drive in winter. "I didn't expect it to be as much trouble as it was," he says. Now the couple plan to sell the house and replace it with a "ski-in, ski-out" condo in the same community.

Condos are also making inroads in vacation spots where they've rarely been seen before, including beach villages along Lake Michigan. Some of these are attracting a new type of buyer used to an urban environment. Mary Morrissey, a government policy consultant in Chicago, and her husband recently bought a $350,000, two-bedroom loft at the Vineyards, a converted winery in Harbert, Mich. It features such downtown design elements as concrete fireplaces and window seats, exposed ductwork and soaring ceilings. The unit is much more open, light and fun than the usual cramped cottages found in the area, Ms. Morrissey says, and the contemporary style was the main reason they were attracted to it. "We never even thought about buying a single-family home," she says.

And in some places, such as Hawaii, prices have risen so high in recent years that condos are the only viable choice for many buyers. Maui broker Georgina Hunter says $1 million buys a two-bedroom condo in a resort with golf, pool and fitness center, but isn't enough for a single-family home. Since acquisition costs are so high, many buyers look to rent out their places when they're not vacationing there. Here condos also have the edge: Local zoning allows most condos to be rented for a short period, while most houses must be rented for at least 180 days. "You just get more bang for your buck," Ms. Hunter says.

But condos aren't popular in every second-home area. In New York's Hamptons, people prefer detached houses because they offer a yard, extra rooms and privacy -- "exactly what New Yorkers often lack in their primary residences," says Rick Hoffman, East End Regional vice president for the Corcoran Group brokers.

Condo living also can require an attitude adjustment as owners contend with close-by neighbors and live under a condo association's rules. Wayne Zawila, an Orlando, Fla., futures trader, paid $619,000 a little over a year ago for a three-bedroom weekend getaway in Daytona Beach, Fla. He thought the fourth-floor condo would be more secure and easier to manage than the Galena, Ill., lakefront house he used to own, which he once drove to at 3 a.m. because he was worried the pipes had frozen. But though condo life can be more carefree, at least when it comes to security and exterior maintenance, it's not rules-free. Mr. Zawila sometimes chafes under communal regulations he's never had to deal with before, like the one that bans him from smoking cigars while lounging in the pool. "It drives me nuts," he says.

Because many affluent second-home buyers like the common ownership and upkeep of exterior elements but still want a detached house, some builders are combining them in "condo homes." That setup attracted Sue Anne Davidson-Kalkus, a retired antiques dealer in Rome, Ga., and her husband, Tony, a retired Army colonel, who were married last year. A few months ago they listed her four-bedroom vacation retreat on 10 acres on Lookout Mountain, Ga., for $1 million and started searching for an easy-care vacation condo in the $600,000 range in New England, nearer to Mr. Kalkus's grown children. But after owning a custom-built place, Mrs. Davidson-Kalkus found the apartment-style condos she looked at to be "very ordinary." So the couple has just inked a deal to buy a detached, two-bedroom condo home at Winnapaug Cottages, a 35-acre development in Westerly, R.I. Their $300-a-month homeowner's fee covers landscaping, garbage collection, snow removal and exterior maintenance. "This is the best of both worlds," she says.

April 18, 2008; WSJ

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Builder's open house draws bonanza of brokers

To Long & Foster agent Mary Blair, yesterday's brokers' open house at the Links in West Chester seemed "just like the old days."

"There was excitement about something new, a buildup to a big event - something really special," said Blair, who works out of the real estate firm's Devon office.

That was just what builder John Benson, of the Benson Cos. in Malvern, was hoping to hear.

"We have always been known as a single-family builder, and I wanted to introduce brokers and agents to the fact that we've been shifting to multifamily," said Benson, a third-generation builder.

Yet with so many existing and new homes on the market and sales of both down locally as a result of last summer's subprime crisis, Benson decided he had to do something extraordinary to get brokers - and, ultimately, buyers - talking about his townhouses.

The homes' golf-course views, fine finishes and amenities weren't going to be enough. Nor would the spectacular spread of food for which such events are known. What was needed was something the brokers would remember.

Prizes. Big ones. Just for showing up.

Blair took her chance, dropping her business card into a fishbowl perched on a knee wall near the entrance to the Brentwood, the four-story model for the 12 townhouses that comprise the Links.

In several hours, three cards would be drawn from that bowl, and the winners would share $10,000 in cash. One would get $5,000, two would get $2,500 each.

There was a lot of competition. More than 300 brokers and agents representing the region's major real estate companies (Weichert, Keller Williams, Century 21, ReMax, Prudential Fox & Roach, to name a few), as well as a few lenders, dropped their cards into the fishbowl during the five-hour open house.

The turnout was a lot larger than anyone - Benson, his sales manager Alison Richter and Janet Rubino, the Long & Foster vice president who worked with them on the event - had expected.

"We printed 500 brochures," Rubino said as she reached for another stack. "Maybe we'll have enough."

Food, they definitely ran out of, and the caterers called their office three times for more, she said.

"We never expected that we'd get so many," Benson said. "I'm encouraged because this kind of turnout is a rarity these days."

A typical brokers' open house draws 30 to 50 people, especially in Philadelphia, where things are closer together and agents can walk from event to event.

But Amy Cass of Prudential Fox & Roach's West Chester office was not at all surprised to see the crowd.

"A gourmet lunch is always a big draw," said Cass, who stopped by for a look at the townhouses, which start at $709,000.

And the prizes - if there are prizes at an open house - are "usually a couple of hundred dollars at the most," said Art Herling, Long & Foster's regional vice president.

Besides a shot at the cash, agents will receive bonuses for bringing in multiple buyers ($2,500 for the second, $5,000 for the third).

Just about every agent managed to get past the fishbowl and the kitchen, Rubino said, spending 15 minutes on average touring the townhouse before picking up a brochure on the way out.

Judith Alignon, office manager for Weichert Realtors in West Chester, accompanied her agents to the open house, but not, she said, for the prizes.

"Managers should be aware of the market inventory and trends," Alignon said. "Visiting open houses with their agents is one of the best ways to do that."

Cass said she was intrigued by the description of the townhouses and had to see them for herself.

"The layout is really cool, and the fact that they have elevators is ideal for 55-plus [buyers] without being limited to that group," she said.

"I also was pleased to see that there were garages, which is something we don't have a lot of in the borough. They were also in the rear of the houses, which means it isn't the first thing you see when you drive up."

But wasn't the prize drawing a factor in her coming?

She said it wasn't - and she didn't think she had a chance at winning: "There were a lot of cards in the bowl."

By: Al Heavens
Philadelphia Inquirer; April 23, 2008

Band of civic saviors pays off Kimmel's debt

Kimmel Center lit up at night
More than six years after opening night, the $275 million Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is finally paid for.

In the largest arts bailout in the city's history, several large philanthropies have opened their silk purses to help eliminate the $30 million debt left over from the Kimmel's construction phase, while dozens of individual donors are pitching in to boost the center's endowment to $72 million.

The complex deal - involving the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Lenfest Foundation, Sidney Kimmel, the state and other sources - brings almost $74 million in total assistance to Philadelphia's arts center.

"I think this is a giant step for the Kimmel, and now it's truly out of the woods," Gov. Rendell said yesterday. "Now it can look forward to doing new things and creating new momentum. The debt sort of hung over the center like the sword of Damocles," forcing the Kimmel to incur deficits, curtail operations, reduce staff and defer maintenance.

"I'm just very happy and very relieved," said Kimmel board chairman William P. Hankowsky.

How does the milestone make Kimmel CEO Anne Ewers feel?

"Ecstasy doesn't begin to say it," said Ewers, whose primary focus upon starting the job nine months ago was dissolving the $30 million debt.

Now that the debt has been dealt with, the Kimmel hopes to tackle other hurdles - like improving Verizon Hall's much-criticized acoustic, and enlivening the center during non-performance times.

The cash infusion comes from the city's largest philanthropic forces, and is to be applied in a variety of ways:

The biggest single chunk comes from the center's namesake, clothier and film producer Sidney Kimmel, who has agreed to give $25 million toward the endowment over a number of years, bringing the total amount he has given to the project to $60 million.

H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, the William Penn Foundation, the Neubauer Family Foundation and Pew collectively have provided $25 million to relieve the debt in a financial deal with Wachovia and Citizens banks.

Rendell is committing $5.5 million in new state money - contingent on the General Assembly's approving new funds for the Capital Redevelopment Assistance Program. The city is kicking in $2 million. These monies will help fund future physical improvements.

Dorrance H. Hamilton has contributed an additional $2.5 million, raising her total commitment to $10 million, to pay down debt and create a cash reserve.

Passing the hat among Kimmel board members produced $13.7 million in contributions from them, and in some cases the corporations they represent.

"It was kind of like a house-closing," said Ewers. "Everyone came to the table at the same time with something - the banks, the board, donors, foundations."

Some came to the table making exceptions to long-standing practice, as Pew president and CEO Rebecca W. Rimel admitted yesterday.

"It's unprecedented for us to come in this way after a capital campaign has closed," she said, "and certainly this debt burden was crippling the Kimmel. But this is an extraordinary community resource and a worldwide asset, home to many performing arts organizations with which we have relationships. So it wasn't just about the Kimmel and its future. It was about all these organizations."

The Kimmel's 2,500-seat Verizon Hall is full-time home to the Philadelphia Orchestra between September and May, and Verizon and the 650-seat Perelman Theater are full- or part-time home to seven other organizations.

The project started life solely as a concert hall for the orchestra, but after years of stop-and-go fund-raising, a new board chairman, Willard G. Rouse 3d, reconfigured the vision as a larger arts center, and promised that the building would be completed and paid for on opening day in December 2001.

Neither promise came true, and the Kimmel has been playing financial catch-up ever since. (Rouse died in 2003.)

"This has been a big cloud over all of us," said Judge Marjorie O. Rendell, a Kimmel board member and one of the project's most persuasive and stalwart cheerleaders. "The fact that we've removed that cloud is a great morale booster as well as a boon to the bottom line."

Contributions to capital campaigns so long after their close are unusual in the arts and culture realm. Other groups, such as the Franklin Institute, have ended capital campaigns without having met their goals and turned the gap into long-term debt, as the Kimmel did. But in the Franklin's case, no foundation has come along with late-in-the-day munificence.

Fund-raising for new buildings typically falls off precipitously after opening day. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has raised $2 million for its Perelman annex since opening the doors in September; it still has $20 million to raise on the $90 million project.

In this case, Rimel worked with Wachovia and Citizens banks to structure the $30 million debt-relief portion of the deal.

"Basically the banks are taking the $25 million" the foundations are providing "as satisfying the [$30 million] debt. The Kimmel will now be debt-free," Rimel said. "The banks are going to invest that money over a period of time and hopefully the wind will be at their backs and they will realize the full amount of the debt obligation. If that doesn't happen it will not come back to the donors. The debt is satisfied."

Janice C. Price, the former Kimmel president under whose watch this effort began several years ago, said she was "thrilled to see it have this outcome. It was a huge challenge to get it kicked off, and this was a critical step for the center in really being able to move fully past that building stage to now focus on the programming and service to the community."

And the financial assist comes along just as another is expiring - an aid package from the Pew, Lenfest and Annenberg foundations that provided millions to the Kimmel and resident companies each year.

Several donors to the current funding package stipulated that their gifts were contingent upon the Kimmel's retiring its debt.

Now that the debt is gone, Ewers said, the Kimmel will concentrate on two other ambitious efforts: enlivening the public spaces of the center, which are currently populated only around performance times, and undertaking an acoustical remake of Verizon Hall.

Questions about the acoustical work involve not only how to fund it, but also whether the hall's original acoustician or another firm should undertake the effort. Strategies for enlivening the public spaces were unveiled last week in a series of ideas crafted by PennPraxis, the University of Pennsylvania planning authority, proposing physical changes to the building.

Ewers said that the Kimmel's prospects for raising money for both acoustical and civic-space improvement have been brightened.

"What's best of all is the ability to reach out to new funding sources for annual support and some of the capital things we're looking for. It's so much easier when you do not have a debt hanging over your head."

By Peter Dobrin

Philadelphia Inquirer; April 23, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

How Long Will Lower Vacancy Rate Hold Up?

The subprime-mortgage fallout is spreading from Wall Street to New York's Long Island, putting pressure on the office market. Still, the slice of suburbia boasts one of the lowest vacancy rates in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region.

New York's Nassau and Suffolk counties, a region consisting of the central and eastern portions of the island that juts into the Atlantic Ocean, had a first-quarter office-vacancy rate of 10.4%, below the 13.9% of Fairfield County, Conn., or the 14.6% in northern New Jersey, according to Reis Inc., a New York real-estate-research firm. New York City had a vacancy rate of 5.6%.

Lackluster rent growth earlier in the decade may have positioned the region better for today's slowing economy by deterring some developers from ramping up construction, according to Sam Chandan, chief economist with Reis. Looking ahead, new supply is expected to remain low: An average of 88,000 square feet of space is expected to be delivered this year and next, slightly less than the space contained on one of the lower floors of the Empire State Building.

Just how long the lower vacancy rate will hold up, though, is unclear given the volatility in the nation's economy. One risk is the New York region's weakening finance sector. Long Island saw a 4.2% year-over-year decline in its financial-service-related jobs in February, the 11th-steepest decline of the country's 100 largest metro areas, according to Moody's Economy.com.

The nearly vacant 183,000-square-foot Melville headquarters of American Home Mortgage Investment Corp., which has filed for bankruptcy-court protection, has been put up for sale, according to CB Richard Ellis Group, a property-services firm. Meanwhile, Delta Financial Corp., another failed mortgage lender, recently moved out of about 100,000 square feet of space in Woodbury; Delta couldn't be reached for comment.

While Reis expects that growth in office rents will slow, many in the market remain optimistic that the sector will weather the space given up by contracting mortgage companies. "From a landlord's perspective it's inconvenient," said David Glaser, chief operating officer of Woodbury-based CLK/HP, which owns the building that contained Delta Financial's headquarters. But Mr. Glaser said the office market "is still very solid," adding that he has already leased about one-quarter of the space vacated by Delta. He says demand is coming from insurance and pension companies.

Long Island, home to such companies as Arrow Electronics Inc. and health-care-product provider Henry Schein Inc., also contains older suburbs such as Levittown and wealthy enclaves such as Oyster Bay. The area's population fell about 0.1% in the fourth quarter to 2.8 million, while the region's overall annual job growth rose nearly 1% in February, helped by the education, health care, and tourism and leisure sectors, according to Moody's Economy.com.

Though still above average for the nation, Long Island home prices have slumped, and the area's retail market also is weakening. The vacancy rate for neighborhood and community shopping centers ticked above 5% in the fourth quarter, and effective-rent gains are slowing.

Meanwhile, the rental-apartment market, like the office market, has benefited from supply constraints. It posted the second-lowest vacancy rate and seventh-highest percentage gain in effective rent of 79 U.S. markets in the first quarter, according to Reis.

One project in the pipeline is banking on that demand in a big way: Developer Gerald Wolkoff's Heartland Town Square would include about 9,000 apartments as well as offices and retail space on a 452-acre site that was once part of the Pilgrim Psychiatric Center in Islip.

Mr. Wolkoff, who needs local approvals, wants to start construction next year and says the credit crunch won't slow him down. He says he can afford to finance the initial $100 million phase, mostly for infrastructure such as water and roads, himself.

He believes longer term that more rental apartments will be needed by young adults priced out of the region, while the sector will also benefit during tough times as those unable to obtain mortgages will opt to rent. "There's always a need for my type of units," said Mr. Wolkoff.

By: Maura Webber Sadovi
Wall Street Journal; April 16, 2008

German Market Proves Tricky

Patrizia in a Bind After Buying Spree; Perils of Stable Prices

In 2006, German real-estate company Patrizia Immobilien AG stepped on the gas.

The Augsburg-based company had been slowly converting apartments into for-sale homes, but two years ago, it raised €118.4 million (now equivalent to $187.2 million) in an initial public offering and began borrowing heavily to increase its pace of acquisitions.

Patrizia Immobilien has increased its holdings of apartments and debt since going public in 2006. One of its projects in Germany is the Pressestadt in Munich.

The strategy proved ill-conceived. Today, with sales slowing dramatically, Patrizia is holding about 13,000 units, compared with roughly 1,300 in late 2006. Furthermore, this year, it must refinance €656 million in debt from its acquisition spree, and some analysts have questioned whether it can pull that off in today's tight credit environment. If it can't, Patrizia may need to dump apartments at discount prices to raise cash.

Patrizia's shares, which were first offered in 2006 at €18.50, fell more than 77% last year and are now trading below €3.50.

Patrizia's problems demonstrate that housing woes are hitting even countries that didn't see a sharp increase in prices. Much of the German market stagnated in the past decade, while home prices in countries like the U.S. and the United Kingdom rose sharply. In 1997, the average price of an 864-square-foot flat in Berlin was €206,960; in 2007, it was €209,600, according to Tobias Just, real-estate analyst at Deutsche Bank AG in Frankfurt.

Still, by the middle of this decade, private-equity firms were spending billions of euros snapping up residential-property portfolios in Germany, expecting the boom to spill over its borders. Buyers included Fortress Investment Group LLC, which spun off its Luxembourg-based German-residential-property unit, Gagfah SA, in an IPO in October 2006. Gagfah's stock price is now in the €11 range, down from a closing price of €23.35 on the day of its IPO.

From 2004 through 2006, British and American companies bought 560,000 units of German residential property from municipalities that needed to raise money, Mr. Just says. The market looked compelling partly because of the low rate of homeownership in Germany, analysts said. Only 43% of the country's housing stock is owner-occupied, while the figure for Western Europe in general is about 60% and for the U.K. about 70%, Mr. Just says.

"People thought this would pick up," says Gerhard Orgonas, an analyst at Citigroup in London. "There was a lot of optimism at the time about the German residential market."

Although Patrizia's primary business is buying apartment buildings and selling the units, it also buys and upgrades apartment buildings and sells the rental units in block deals. The company was founded by Wolfgang Egger when he was 18 years old. Now 42, Mr. Egger is chairman and chief executive and owns a majority stake in the company.

Patrizia says the past year's problems have been caused largely by rapid expansion. Last year, it took over two portfolios of about 9,700 units combined and hired 110 people to manage and sell them. "To integrate all these people, to optimize the processes and to integrate these two big portfolios; this was harder than we calculated," says Klaus Schmitt, Patrizia's chief operating officer.

It also took longer than expected to obtain permits that allow the acquisitions to be sold. The result: Most of the new portfolio wasn't available for sale until the mid-2007, Mr. Schmitt says.

Last year, Patrizia sold 487 units, down from 2,250 the previous year. Some analysts say part of the problem has been the company's difficulty in exporting its formula from Munich, where it has been successful, to other cities. "In our view, it's difficult to scale this model," says Jochen Schmitt, analyst at Frankfurt-based private bank B. Metzler seel. Sohn & Co.

Patrizia's Mr. Schmitt says other market forces bode well for the company. He notes that the number of building permits being issued in Germany is historically low and construction costs are rising, factors that could boost the sales market for existing apartments. Also, interest rates are still low, and there has been no change in the mortgage availability for buyers, he says.

Still, the sales slowdown is particularly problematic because of the €656 million of debt Patrizia must refinance. Citigroup's Mr. Orgonas says the company isn't bringing in enough rental revenue to cover debt service. "They need to [sell] flats to break even," he says.

Patrizia's Mr. Schmitt says the company already has been able to refinance "a very big part" of the debt, but he declined to provide details.

By: Beth Carney (special to the WSJ)
Wall Street Journal; April 16, 2008

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Spacious, upscale apartments at The Lofts at Logan View

Luxury condo buildings have sprung up all over the city, but those searching for a luxury apartment don’t have nearly as much to choose from. J.A. Reinhold Residential is addressing that need with The Lofts at Logan View, a collection of flats and bi-level apartments in a historic building in Philadelphia’s Logan Square neighborhood. “This is a classic timber-and-brick building dating from the turn of the century. It’s architecturally distinct, with very high ceilings, a lot of exposed brick, huge windows and beamed ceilings,” says Jeff Reinhold of J.A. Reinhold Residential. “It’s unique.”

Also setting The Lofts at Logan View apart is the size of the apartments. The L-shaped studios, which start at just $1,295 a month, are over 700 square feet; the two- bedrooms (some with working fireplaces) are 1,150 square feet. “The units are larger than you’d normally see,” Reinhold says. “And the building is still affordable and a great value for Center City living.” The building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was originally home to the Harrington Hoist Company.

A hoist set on the ceiling of the spacious lobby reflects the building’s roots, and lends it character. Original art- work, commissioned for the building from Philadelphia artists, is also on display. “We went with a museum theme, to complement the neighborhood,” says Reinhold. “We have people coming in just to look at the art in the lobby.” Neighborhood museums include The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Rodin Museum, The Franklin Institute and The Academy of Natural Sciences. The Free Library is also right up the street, as is the future site of The Barnes Foundation.

In addition to cultural pursuits, conveniences such as Whole Foods Market and Philadelphia Sports Club, plus an array of restaurants and bars, are within walking distance of The Lofts at Logan View. The Philadelphia Inquirer, Day & Zimmerman, CBS3, Independence Blue Cross, North American Publishing Co., and GlaxoSmithKline also call the neighborhood home. Center City’s core business district is just blocks away. Nearby entrances and exits to the Vine Street Expressway are perfect for those commuting to New Jersey or the western suburbs. “This is an area of Center City that has really taken off, and is attracting a lot of attention,” says Reinhold. “There’s all this residential support — supermarkets, health club, restaurants. That’s what you see when you have an emerging high-growth residential area.” Decorated models at The Lofts at Logan View are open daily for potential renters to tour.