THE SHOPS AT LIACOURAS WALK
Temple University, North Philadelphia, PA
From Vision to Vitality….
In the center of Temple’s Campus, lay two derelict, uninhabitable rows of townhouses, a blight on the campus of this great university. Many Temple students chose to live in other areas rather than in the crime-ridden neighborhoods surrounding the “island” that was Temple. In 2000, Ahsan Nasratullah, Robert Hoe, and Kevin Duffy saw the potential of the future prosperity in this campus and entered into a 50-year ground lease with Temple University. The vision was to create a “campus main street” where people can gather, shop, and stay. These circa 1900 brick row houses turned into life amenity retail stores, campus offices, and a 22-room boutique hotel. Combined with the newly renovated pedestrian mall in the front, the Shops at Liacouras Walk immediately became the main street in the campus. Although the area tenant market rent was barely over $10 per sf, Shops at Liacouras achieved rent ranging from $23/sf triple net to $35/sf triple net. This factor immediately affected the area’s investment climate in a significantly positive manner as evident from the developments that followed. Once ignored and walled out by the campus, North Broad Street now features new 400-unit student apartments, a movie theater, and over 30,000 sf of retail shopping.
THE HUB ON CHESTNUT
University of Pennsylvaina, University City, Philadelphia, PA
From Weak to Welcoming….
Dilapidated, underutilized retail space occupied the corner of 40th and Chestnut Street at the edge of the University of Pennsylvania campus. The area was tired, unkempt, and failing. This was a section of the campus untouched by the redevelopment efforts put forth by the University and other developers. Although the University had a vision of redevelopment of 40th Street corridor, most of its investments were concentrated on 40th and Walnut Streets which is just one block below the corner of the 40th and Chestnut Street, the project site. The Teres’ principals, again, saw a potential of this location and entered into a 40-year ground lease with the University of Pennsylvania. The principals believed that the project would be a critical bridge between the surrounding neighborhood and the University, thereby increasing the overall value of the area. This new ground-up project was placed in service in 2006. Within its post-modern architectural design, the project was programmed with 101 apartment units and 26,000 sf of three-level retail space. Because of its iconic design, the building created a strong identity at the corner and enhanced its physical appearance. This fact paved the way for a Mexican-theme high-end restaurant run by acclaimed chef Jose Garces as a lead tenant and a beauty spa/salon and cosmetology school as another anchor tenant. The corner, once boring and unattractive, was thus transformed into the “Hub” of community activities. The positive impact on the value/investment climate was evident by the opening of a new Japanese restaurant one block from the project and existing businesses started renovation around the corner.
THE HUB AT WIDENER
Widener University, Chester City, PA
From Distressed to Destination….
The City of Chester has lost one-half of its WWII population due to crime, property deterioration, and lack of employment. The City has been struggling with the stigma of being the poorest city in the Philadelphia region. The recent change of the state gaming law and new opening of a race track began the city’s hope of economic revitalization. In the meantime, Widener University and Crozer Medical Center, located in the north side of Interstate 95, were contemplating an initiative to revitalize the north side of the Chester City. Widener and Crozier came together to launch the revitalization efforts for the surrounding distressed communities. Based on its previous successful experiences, Teres Holdings was selected as the master developer for the Providence Avenue Retail Corridor development efforts. Teres formulated a 3-phased development plan named the University Crossings Projects to be implemented over 2 – 3 years. Phase one includes an 85,000 sf a new construction project completed in December 2008. Its modern architectural design includes 57 apartment units, a 60-room hotel flagged as a Best Western, and 14,000 sf of ground level space for a bank branch, a convenience store, a café, and a restaurant. Because of its location advantage, being at the “Crossroads” between Widener University, the hospital, and the I-95 Interstate access, Teres’ principals saw the potential for a critical mass of development to support and spur the just-started renaissance of the Chester City.