Drexel University Signs 185 KSF Lease in Philly

In downtown Philadelphia's largest office expansion deal of 2012, Drexel University has graduated from 67,000 square feet to 186,000 square feet at Three Parkway.

In downtown Philadelphia’s largest office expansion deal of 2012, Drexel University has graduated from 67,000 square feet to 186,000 square feet at Three Parkway. The 10-year lease agreement with landlord Behringer Harvard REIT I Inc. will push the 561,400-square-foot office building’s occupancy level up to 96 percent.

The university called on commercial real estate services firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank for representation in the lease transaction, while BH REIT I relied on Jones Lang LaSalle.

Drexel will house administrative operations and classrooms for its College of Nursing and Health Professions and College of Medicine in the additional square footage at the 20-story office tower at 1601 Cherry St., in Center City Philadelphia. The four-decade-old building, which has maintained its luster through three major makeovers between 1996 and 2005, has been a part of BH REIT I’s portfolio since 2006, when the REIT acquired it from real estate private equity firm Amstar for approximately $90 million.

“Three Parkway stands out because of its convenient, highly accessible location in close proximity to all mass transit and major roadways,” Deidre Hardister, senior vice president, asset management with BH REIT I, told Commercial Property Executive. “It’s also only one block from Hahnemann University Hospital, where Drexel’s nurses currently practice. These factors helped make Three Parkway the most desirable building for Drexel’s School of Nursing.”

Drexel’s renewed and expanded commitment to Center City continues a leasing trend in the area. As JLL describes in a fourth quarter report, the “eds and meds” sector is driving demand and buoying absorption. Among the educational institutions that have recently grown in size downtown are Thomas Jefferson University at 833 Chestnut St., and Penn State University at the Navy Yard.

Drexel’s expanded home is currently in the build-out phase and the school will settle into the additional elbowroom in phases until 2015.

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