Commercial Real Estate Industry Expert, Tony Nichols, Joins Workspace Property Trust as Senior Vice President

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Workspace Property Trust (WPT) welcomes industry expert, Tony Nichols, to their executive team as Senior Vice President. Nichols brings with him years of fundamental knowledge in asset management, development and leasing. He joins Workspace Property Trust from Liberty Property Trust where he held the position of Vice President & Market Officer for suburban Philadelphia.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Tony become a senior member of our team,” said Roger Thomas, WPT President and COO. “Tony has decades of knowledge and experience in the commercial real estate industry in general, and with much of our portfolio in particular. He is a well-respected executive throughout our industry, with an esteemed record of success, and is the perfect complement to our team of progressive professionals. Tom Rizk and I are extremely excited to have Tony join us.”

Nichols’ professional footprint includes prominent positions and groundbreaking involvements within the industry. From 1989-1996, he was Vice President of Marketing and Property Management for the Nichols Company, a private commercial real estate developer. Nichols played an instrumental role in the Nichols Company before and during its merger with Brandywine Realty Trust in 1996. Nichols has 19 years of NYSE publicly traded REIT experience.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from East Carolina University and a Masters of Business Administration degree from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. An active member in the Philadelphia CRE community, he is both a former president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP) and a past member of NAIOP’s National Board of Directors. 

In 2016, Workspace Property Trust acquired 108 office and flex buildings, plus 26.7 acres of land in PA, MN, FL, MN and AZ in a $969 million-dollar deal with Liberty Property Trust. This deal added to their preexisting 2.3 million square-feet, 41 building portfolio in Horsham, PA; bringing their total to 149 buildings and 10 million square-feet of office and office-flex properties throughout the United States. The acquisition has put Workspace Property Trust at the forefront of suburban commercial real estate and positioned the company as a leading suburban landlord.

For more information, contact Diana Vilares at dvilares@workspaceproperty.com or call 215.328.2746.

About Workspace Property Trust

Workspace Property Trust owns and operates 149 buildings consisting of approximately 10 million square feet of office and office-flex properties in the United States. Founded and led by Thomas A. Rizk and Roger W. Thomas, Workspace Property Trust is a privately held, vertically integrated, full-service commercial real estate company specializing in the development, management, and operation of office and flex space in large metropolitan suburbs. Workspace Property Trust is a partnership among Rizk Ventures, Safanad, Square Mile Capital, Forum Partners, JMP Group, and EverWatch Capital. www.workspaceproperty.com

Source: Philadelphia Business Journal

Workspace Property’s Roger Thomas Talks About Bold Contrarian Play for Liberty’s Suburban Office Portfolios

Workspace Property Trust (WPT) this week closed one of the largest suburban office portfolio acquisitions of the year, acquiring 108 office and flex buildings and 26.7 acres of land in five markets from Liberty Property Trust (NYSE: LPT).

The $969 million purchase with partners Safanad, a Dubai-based global principal investment firm; and affiliates of diversified investment firm Square Mile Capital Management LLC is WPT’s second major transaction with Liberty Property and expands Workspace’s holdings to 149 properties totaling 10 million square feet.

In the last year, Workplace Property Trust, led by former Mack-Cali Realty executives Tom Rizk and Roger Thomas, have so far amassed more than $1.2 billion in assets as part of its strategic plan to build a pure-play portfolio of suburban office properties in what they consider strategic locations.

Most investors continue to funnel capital into urban core office submarkets following millennial workers flocking into urban areas offering a “live, work and play” environment. However, somewhat under tha radar, U.S. suburban office markets have improved occupancy and rent growth significantly in the later stages of the economic recovery.

WPT President and Chief Operating Officer Roger Thomas proudly touted the firm’s contrarian investment philosophy in an interview with CoStar this week.

CoStar:Why are you bullish on suburban properties at a time when most other investors continue to shy away from the segment?

Thomas:We’ve heard all the predictions – that there’s been a demographic shift and that all millennials want to live in the urban core and all employers are going to chase them and therefore the suburbs are dead or dying. We’ve seen Wall Street and the analyst community push the big institutional players like Liberty and Brandywine Realty Trust to get out or pare down their suburban office holdings. But suburban office is simply too big and important a component of the office market to simply go away.

We believe that the prediction of the death of the suburbs is greatly exaggerated. The desire of millennials to live and work in urban cores is true, to a point. They’re young and before they have kids, it’s very exciting to live in an urban environment. But it’s only true to a point. Not all millennials want to live in the urban core, and not all employers want to be there.

We see the trend of the millennials living downtown to be part of a cycle. It may be a little bit longer of a cycle, but we think they will go through it and return to the suburbs when they start families, just as generations of adults before them have done. When we saw the pressure on the large institutional owners like Liberty to shed their suburban holdings, with no one else coming into the space to pick up the slack, that’s when Tom and I saw the opportunity. We see the disconnect.

What types of suburban assets meet your acquisition criteria?

When the market recovered in the mid-1990s (in the previous cycle), it lifted all property types, including suburban office. Almost all the suburban markets did really well across the board. (However,) we don’t think that will be the case this time around. While we think there’s a bit of a demographic shift, there will be haves and have-not properties.

The type of product we’re looking for are well-located properties close-in to the city, in communities with a 24/7 lifestyle lots of food and retail options, and good public and highway transportation infrastructure.

What we’re not looking for are those one-off assets, the corporate headquarters white elephants that are far flung out in the middle of nowhere, where you have to drive 10 minutes just to find lunch.

Can you give us a little background on how the mega-transactions with Liberty Property played out?

The $245 million acquisition of Liberty’s Horsham, PA portfolio was our first deal out of the box, closing last December. Having been in the public sphere through Mack-Cali and others, we know most of the players. Liberty had been shopping the Horsham portfolio, but it was not widely circulated, and we connected with them. The portfolio fit what we were looking for. It has maintained occupancy of 85% or above, for the most part, over the last 10 years.

Soon after that deal closed, in the beginning of 2016, we started talking again with Liberty, which was still in the middle of its disposition program of $1 billion in assets. We were impressed with the properties (in the second portfolio), which were well-leased and did not have a ton of deferred maintenance.

While there were understandable challenges putting together and executing such a sizable portfolio in the most recent transaction, all of the main players, including JPMorgan, Safanad, Square Mile and Liberty, worked well and cooperatively together to get to the finish. We hope to build on those relationships and take full advantage of the disconnect in the capital markets and our contrarian philosophy before the market tide shifts. Which we think is imminent.

At what point did Safanad come into the deal? Did you court them earlier for the Horsham portfolio as well?

Yes. We’re very friendly with Safanad, particularly Vin Pica, their managing partner for North America. But it was a contrarian play and our first deal out of the box. So I think they were a little skittish about that and took a pass.

Once we closed that first deal, we went back to them again with the most recent Liberty portfolio and they were more interested. After we had the transaction tied up and structured with Liberty, we started working with Safanad. We started discussions around April, shortly after signing a non-binding term sheet with Liberty at the end of March.

Do you expect to broaden your search for suburban assets to other states or regions? Any markets or regions you’re not immediately interested in shopping for assets?

Some suburban markets may be a little too far along in the evolution of their recovery. Cap rates are bid way down and prices are pretty high. There are so many opportunities in other good markets that we may not chase the more expensive deals. We want to broaden our footprint and we don’t believe we’re limited to any geographic area.

I think the slowest suburban markets to recover may be those around New York City like Westchester County and New Jersey. They might present new opportunities. I think a market like Denver is almost too far along in its recovery; the cap rates are so low there.

Source: CoStar

Workspace Property Trust closes acquisition on $969 Million portfolio from Liberty Property Trust

HORSHAM, Pa., —Workspace Property Trust (“WPT”), a real estate investment firm led by longtime successful industry veterans Thomas Rizk and Roger Thomas, today announced the purchase of 108 office and flex buildings, plus 26.7 acres of land, in five markets from Liberty Property Trust (NYSE: LPT) for approximately $969 million.  The acquisition was made in partnership with Safanad, a global principal investment firm, and affiliates of Square Mile Capital Management LLC (“Square Mile”), a diversified real estate investment firm.

This acquisition is the second significant real estate transaction by WPT and has expanded its portfolio to149 properties totaling approximately 10 million square feet.   In less than one year, WPT has acquired over $1.2 billion dollars of assets, consistent with its strategic plan to build a portfolio of superior, well-positioned suburban real estate assets.

Thomas Rizk, Chief Executive Officer and a founding principal of WPT, commented, “This exciting acquisition is a key step in establishing our platform for investment in high quality suburban office properties in select markets.  The addition of Safanad,with its management in world wideinvestments and Square Mile, which along with its affiliates has approximately $15 Billion of assets under management, provides the financial strength to continue building our portfolio.”

Along with the acquisition of these properties, Workspace has hired approximately 50 new employees to expand its franchise.   Roger Thomas, President, Chief Operating Officer and a founding principal of WPT,stated,”Everyone at WPT is ecstatic to have acquired these well-maintained, well-located assets from Liberty.  This exceptional acquisition adds tremendous growth and potential to our platform.  We have built an outstanding organization with fantastic talent in all aspects of owning, managing, and leasing quality suburban properties.  We look forward to a successful future as a leader in suburban office markets.”

This portfolio acquired by Workspace Property Trust includes suburban submarkets in Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Tampa, Phoenix, and South Florida.  The portfolio boasts strong, consistent overall occupancy and financial performance.  Workspace Property Trust closed on its first transaction last year when it purchased 41 office and flex buildings in Horsham, PAfrom Liberty Property Trustfor approximately $245.3 million.   WPT’s first acquisition was in partnership with Forum Partners, JMP Group, and EverWatch Capital.

Kamal Bahamdan, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Safanad commented, “Safanad’sapproach to investing aligns very well with Workspace Property Trust’s vision and strategic plan of building a strong overall portfolio in vibrant submarkets.  We have great confidence that our partnership with Tom and Roger,together with their original investing partners and Square Mile, will create tremendous value in these suburban office markets.”

Elliot Rattner, Principal for Square Mile commented, “We are pleased to join WPT, its existing capital partners and Safanad in this high quality and diversified portfolio acquisition. Square Mile invests utilizing a value-oriented approach to commercial real estate assets through alignment with likeminded and institutional sponsors. Tom, Roger, and the WPT portfolio fit squarely with these objectives and we are excited to be a part of this important step towards their firm’s growth and future success.”

 

This portfolio breakdown of assets is as follows:

City# of BuildingsSquare FeetLand (Acres)
Arizona141,078,65218.1
Florida (South)111,136,0208.6
Florida (Tampa)341,799,568
Minnesota191,488,832
Pennsylvania302,075,764
Total1087,578,83626.7
    

 

FTI Consulting, Eastdil Secured, and JMP Securities served as advisors to Workspace Property Trust on this transaction.

J.P. Morgan Securities, LLC served as advisor to Liberty in connection with this transaction.

About Workspace Property Trust

Workspace Property Trust is a privately held, vertically integrated, full service commercial real estate company specializing in the development, management, and operation of office and flex space.  Workspace Property Trust is a partnership among Rizk Ventures, Safanad, Square Mile Capital, Forum Partners, JMP Group, and EverWatch Capital.

www.workspaceproperty.com

About Safanad

Safanad is a global principal investment firm that invests in real estate and private equity in specific industries in a highly disciplined way.  As principal investors, Safanad preserves and grows wealth through a disciplined industry focused investment approach that builds relationships with exceptional management partners and top industry leaders. With offices in New York, Dubai, and London, the firm seeks to identify global investment opportunities poised to deliver competitively superior returns, where the firm’s capital and investment expertise support value creation. For more information, visit www.safanad.com

About Square Mile Capital Management, LLC

Square Mile Capital Management LLC is an integrated institutional real estate finance and investment management firm based in New York. Square Mile’s large U.S. footprint, enhanced by the firm’s strategic partnership with USAA Real Estate Company, enables Square Mile to leverage proprietary market insights through a unified sourcing and investment philosophy that positions the firm to capitalize upon opportunities through all phases of the commercial real estate cycle. Square Mile’s opportunistic investment platform takes a value oriented approach to its activities, with an emphasis on opportunities to acquire or capitalize real estate assets or enterprises that are undervalued, complex or undercapitalized. Square Mile’s commercial real estate debt platform provides customized capital solutions for real estate owners and developers throughout the United States. http://www.squaremilecapital.com

Source: Workspace Property Trust

WORKSPACE PROPERTY TRUST TO ACQUIRE 108 PROPERTIES FOR $969 MILLION FROM LIBERTY PROPERTY TRUST

HORSHAM, Pa., July 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Workspace Property Trust(“WPT”), a real estate investment firm led by longtime successful industry veterans Thomas Rizk and Roger Thomas, in a strategic relationship with Safanad, a global principal investment firm, announced today that it has entered into an agreement to buy 108 office and flex buildings in five markets from Liberty Property Trust (NYSE: LPT) for approximately $969 million. The sale is expected to close late in the third quarter of 2016.

At the closing of this transaction, WPT’s total portfolio will be comprised of approximately 9.9 million square-feet of leasable space across 149 properties in five markets. The portfolio boasts strong, consistent overall occupancy and financial performance.

Thomas Rizk, Chief Executive Officer and a founding principal of WPT, commented, “We are excited about entering into this new relationship with Safanad and this acquisition represents the next step of our strategic plan to build a portfolio of high quality, well-positioned suburban real estate assets.”

Kamal Bahamdan, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Safanad commented, “At Safanad, we align ourselves with experienced industry partners through carefully selected investments. We are looking forward to working with Tom, Roger and the rest of the Workspace team who have extensive experience and a distinguished track record of creating value in suburban office markets. We have worked with and known them for over 20 years and this experience gives us great confidence in the future of this platform.”

This portfolio consists of assets in the following markets:

City# of BuildingsSquare FeetLand (Acres)
Arizona141,078,65218.1
Florida (South)111,136,0208.6
Florida (Tampa)341,799,568
Minnesota191,488,832
Pennsylvania302,075,764
Total1087,578,83626.7

About Workspace Property Trust

Workspace Property Trust is a privately held, vertically integrated, full service commercial real estate company specializing in the development, management, and operation of office and flexspace.  Workspace Property Trust is a partnership between Rizk Ventures, Forum Partners, JMP Group, EverWatch Capital, and with the closing of this transaction, Safanad.

About Safanad

Safanad is a global principal investment firm that invests in real estate, private equity and public markets.  As principal investors, Safanad preserves and grows wealth through a disciplined industry focused investment approach that builds relationships with exceptional management partners and top industry leaders. With offices in New York, Dubai, and London, the firm seeks to identify global investment opportunities poised to deliver consistently attractive returns, where the firm’s capital and investment expertise support value creation. For more information, visit www.safanad.com

Source: Workspace Property Trust

Workspace Property Trust Announces Strong First Quarter Leasing Activity

HORSHAM, Pa., April 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Workspace Property Trust (“WPT”), a leading real estate investment firm, today announced the completion of 13 lease transactions in the first quarter of 2016, comprising over 150,000 square feet of space.  These significant lease transactions are indicative of the strong demand for office/flex space in the vibrant Horsham submarket.

“Since acquiring this portfolio in early December, we have worked hard to introduce ourselves to the Horsham community, to engage and partner with the brokerage community and to show ourselves as the new faces and future of suburban office,” said Roger Thomas, President and Chief Operating Officer of WPT.  “This portfolio has boasted strong, consistent occupancy over the last decade.  Our ability to continue to focus on driving absorption is proof positive of the resurgence of the suburbs.”

Notable lease signings in the first quarter of 2016 for Workspace Property Trust included:

  • Tyco SimplexGrinnell (36,000 sf), at 261-283 Gibraltar Rd.
  • Finance of America Mortgage (33,205 sf) at 300 Welsh Rd.
  • New York Life Insurance Company (25,324 sf) at 100 Witmer Rd.

“WPT consistently provides first class landlord services to our tenants.  As a direct result, we have seen strong demand for companies looking to expand as well as take on a significant footprint in the local market,” said Michael Gervasio, Senior Vice President of Workspace Property Trust.

Strategically located directly off the Pennsylvania Turnpike within the prestigious corporate community of Horsham, PA, this portfolio is comprised of 2,374,749 square-feet across 41 buildings.  While the portfolio is diverse across property type and tenant mix, the most heavily concentrated property type within the portfolio is 860,000-square-feet of Class A, multi-story office. Tenants are drawn by the area’s proximity to major thoroughfares, which provide convenient access to Philadelphia and New York City.

Workspace Property Trust is a privately held, vertically integrated, full service commercial real estate company specializing in the development, management, and operation of office and flex space. Workspace Property Trust is a partnership between Rizk Ventures, Forum Partners, JMP Group and EverWatch Capital.

Contact:

Sloane & Company

Elliot Sloane, 212-446-1860 or Jaimee Pavia, 212-446-1863

Source: Workspace Property Trust

Workspace Property Trust’s Inaugural Broker Event

On Thursday, April 7th, 2016, Workspace Property Trust held its Inaugural Broker Event at 767 Electronic Drive in Horsham, PA. Over 100 Brokers from the Greater Philadelphia area attended and participated in golf themed activities, as Thursday also kicked off the 2016 Masters Tournament.

The red carpet event showed support for the brokers that continue to bring value to the local market. In the 1st quarter of 2016, Workspace Property Trust leased over 150,000 sq ft. in its Horsham Portfolio. Workspace Property Trust recognized several brokers whose business contributed to this significant leasing velocity.

Guests lined up to take their swing at a $20,000 Hole-in-One/Closest to the pin Challenge, as well as a 30 foot putting competition. Bryan Smyth of CBRE took home a Taylor Made M1 Driver for winning the closest to the pin. Workspace Property Trust also announced an Audi A8 prize will be awarded to the Broker who adds the most value to WPT in 2016.

Workspace Property Trust looks to build on its 1st quarter momentum by continuing to work with all the brokers who service the local market and hope to recognize many more in 2017.

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WORKSPACE PROPERTY TRUST ONE OF 26 PROJECTS AWARDED BEST REAL ESTATE DEALS OF 2015 BY THE PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL

On March 24 the Philadelphia Business Journal held its 2015 Best Real Estate Deals event at the Loews hotel in Center City. We recognized 26 projects at various stages: construction, development, leasing, relocation and more. To be considered all projects had to have completed an element of transaction during the calendar year of 2015.

These are the transactions that made the headlines and are helping cement Greater Philadelphia’s reputation as a true renaissance region. To make the list, the projects were judged on size, impact, creativity and what we’ll call the general WOW! factor.

Workspace Property Trust Acquisition

ScreenHunter_87 Apr. 13 15.08

Project size: 41 building accruing 2.4 million SF in Horsham

Value: $250 million

Workspace Property Trust purchased 41 office and flex buildings in Horsham from Liberty Property Trust. WPT management teamed up with Rizk Ventures, Forum Partners, JMP Group, and EverWatch Capital in this transaction. The deal established a footprint in the Philadelphia suburban office market for Workspace.

Purchased from: Liberty Property Trust

Transaction involved: Workspace Property Trust, and partnered with Rizk Ventures, Forum Partners, JMP Group and EverWatch Capital.

Source: Philadelphia Business Journal

WHY A CRE INDUSTRY VET IS SALIVATING OVER THE SUBURBS

Roger Thomas is bullish on the ’burbs.

That may be an understatement. Thomas sees the suburbs as the third rung in the real estate cycle following, in order, apartments and then office properties located in urban centers.

“We’re big believers in the suburbs,” he said. “Perhaps we’re a bit contrarian.”

Maybe you need to say that if you spent $245.3 million buying 41 office buildings in Horsham from Liberty Property Trust, which Thomas’ new company did last year. Sitting in the conference room at 5 Walnut Grove Drive, one ofthe buildings he bought, Thomas made his case for the suburban office. He’s not the only one.

Even though companies such as Liberty Property and Brandywine Realty Trust have unloaded large portfolios of suburban office properties and exited some suburbs such as Horsham and South Jersey, there’s a bit of a drum beat tamping its way into the milieu about the suburbs. Earlier this month, Urban Land Institute held a developer’s forum in which Eli Kahn of E. Kahn Development Corp., Michael Markman of BET Investments and Jim Mazzarelli of Liberty Property disabused those who think the suburbs are dead. Or as Thomas put it, invoking a variation of an oft quoted line from Mark Twain: “The reports of the death of the suburbs have been greatly exaggerated,” he said.

large-roger_thomas_photo
Thomas is familiar with the suburbs having spent years with Mack-Cali Realty Corp., which owned properties in the Philadelphia area before selling them to Keystone Property Group.

With his new company, Workspace Property Trust, Thomas is banking on the success of the suburbs. But it’s not just any suburbs. It’s well located suburbs that aren’t too from urban centers, near transit or highway access and with amenities nearby. These are suburbs that almost mimic the vitality of a 24/7 city.

It’s what Kahn called “urban light” at the ULI forum. They are the suburbs that give people a “quasi-urban experience,” he said. Those are the type of communities where Kahn focuses his work and they include Malvern, West Chester and Media. That’s also what Liberty is looking to create at the Great Valley Corporate Center in Malvern. It wants to integrate social, work, entertainment and other spaces in something more akin to a community rather than an office park.

In contrast, those properties on the outskirts, those that once had their heyday in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, aren’t as attractive. “Far-flung suburban office assets aren’t coming back at all,” Thomas said.

Horsham, which isn’t quite Conshohocken, Radnor or Wayne, has a lot going for it, Thomas said. Among its strengths, he said, is that it draws from the east and west with its highway access, its housing stock is strong, and the township is seeking to improve the business center with zoning that will encourage denser development and a range of development uses. Thomas is already thinking about putting a hotel on a nearby parcel at 104 Witmer Road.

What Thomas and the other developers keen on the suburbs are also banking on is the return of millennials to the suburbs as they look for better public schools for their children, a little more room to live in and more green space around them.

“I think they will come back to the suburbs — kicking and screaming,” Mazarelli said at the ULI forum. But they will come back.

“You’re starting to see that now,” Thomas said. “Not all millennials can live and work in an urban environment. Not all want to live and work in an urban environment and not all employers want to be in an urban environment.”

To that end, Workspace is on the hunt for more suburban portfolios here and across the country. Since Wall Street keeps pressuring public real estate companies to sell suburban office parks, Thomas will be poised to buy.

“Suburban office is one of the few places to get yield,” he said.

Source: Philadelphia Business Journal

Workspace Property Trust Leads Horsham Township Freezer 5k Sponsorship

Sunday, December 13th, 2015 marked the Horsham Township Parks & Recreation’s 4th Annual Freezer 5K and 1 Mile Family Fun Walk. Workspace Property Trust (WPT) led the sponsorship effort of the Horsham Township event, signifying Workspace’s support of the Horsham community. Mike Sweeney and Angela Fagnani of WPT’s Horsham office headed the WPT team for the run.

WPT became a significant part of Horsham Township on December 4th when they purchased 41 office and flex buildings in Horsham from Liberty Property Trust for approximately $245.3 million. “Workspace Property Trust was very excited to be a part of this special event.  We are pleased to now be a part of the Horsham community and are thrilled to be supporting a great cause,” said Michael Gervasio, Senior Vice President of WPT, who took part in the day’s events.

Workspace Property Trust's Mike Sweeney, Angela Fagnani, and Michael Gervasio

Workspace Property Trust’s Mike Sweeney, Angela Fagnani, and Michael Gervasio

The event turned out to be a success as exceptional December weather brought 444 participants from the community and a new course record was set. The 5K took runners along the Powerline Trail which also flows through the Pennsylvania Business Campus which is majority owned by Workspace Property Trust. The run was followed by awards in various age categories and post-race activities included a DJ and family entertainment.

LIBERTY PROPERTY TRUST SELLS HORSHAM BUSINESS CAMPUS FOR $245.3M

Former Mack-Cali Realty Corp. chief executive officer Thomas Rizk is betting that suburban office parks still have some life left in them with the $245.3 million acquisition of a 41-building corporate center in Horsham.

Workspace Property Trust (WPT), of which Rizk now is chief executive, bought the Pennsylvania Business Campus from Malvern’s Liberty Property Trust, the companies said in separate releases Friday.

It is WPT’s first step toward building a portfolio of suburban real estate in the northeastern United States, Rizk said.

Office tenants and developers increasingly favor urban areas over some suburbs. Liberty sold the Horsham business park in a strategy to sell suburban properties to focus on cities.

“This is a counterintuitive play,” Rizk said. “You’ll read a lot of articles about how millennials want to live and play in the cities. While we think there is probably truth to that, we believe it is probably exaggerated.”

The portfolio includes 2.4 million square feet of interior space and 20 acres of buildable land, Liberty said. Tenants include United Healthcare Services Inc. and Comcast Corp., which performs back-office tasks at the site, Rizk said.

The Horsham transaction follows the July sale of a three-building complex in Wayne and brings year-to-date asset sales to $536 million, Liberty said.

Other companies shedding suburban assets in favor of a focus on central Philadelphia include Brandywine Realty Trust, which recently sold five Mount Laurel office buildings.

The Horsham market is due for a hit from the impending closure of Philidor Rx Services L.L.C. amid allegations of financial improprieties. The mail-order pharmacy leases 200,000 square feet at three buildings in the Pennsylvania Business Campus, Liberty spokeswoman Jeanne Leonard said.

But Rizk, who served as chief executive of Edison, N.J.-based Mack-Cali until 1999, remained confident about Horsham, which he said offers a high living standard with a strong sense of community.

The business park acquisition was financed with a $200 million loan from JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., Horsham-based WPT said. The company is considering the full redevelopment of two properties and may upgrade others to Class A offices in the near term, Rizksaid.

“We get these properties for a reasonable price at a time when the investment community feels they may be less valuable,” he said. “We feel there’s real value in those assets.”

Source: philly.com

Workspace Property Trust Acquires Horsham, PA Assets for $245.3 Million

Workspace Property Trust – Led by Real Estate Industry Veterans Thomas Rizk and Roger Thomas – Purchases 41 Office/Flex Buildings in Horsham, PA
Capitalizing on Long Term Opportunity in Northeast Regional Suburban Office Marketplace

HORSHAM, Pa., Dec. 4, 2015 – Workspace Property Trust (“WPT”), a new real estate investment firm led by longtime successful industry veterans Thomas Rizk and Roger Thomas, announced today that it has purchased 41 office and flex buildings in Horsham, Pennsylvania from Liberty Property Trust (NYSE: LPT) for approximately $245.3 million. This acquisition is the first real estate transaction by WPT and represents the beginning of a strategic plan to build a portfolio of high quality, well-positioned suburban real estate assets in the Northeast region.

Thomas Rizk, Chief Executive Officer of WPT, commented, “We are thrilled to complete this transaction and begin building a substantial platform of suburban office real estate assets. There are some interesting parallels between the current market environment and when I originally deployed a similar strategy after taking Cali Realty public in 1994. We intend to use our deep relationships and strong market knowledge to aggressively pursue both marketed and non-marketed transactions as we grow this exciting franchise.”

“We believe there is a significant opportunity to acquire high quality assets and portfolios in transit centric, amenity rich, near-city submarkets within the Northeast corridor, and I don’t believe you could find a stronger management team to execute this vision,” added Roger Thomas, President and Chief Operating Officer of WPT. “Between Tom and myself, we have over 75 years of experience operating in these markets and have assembled a veteran management team on the ground in Horsham who have been with these properties for many, many years. It was a pleasure working with Liberty to execute this transaction, they are truly a first rate operator and have done a great job with this portfolio.”

WPT management has partnered with Rizk Ventures, Forum Partners, JMP Group, and EverWatch Capital in this transaction. The acquisition was financed with a $200 million loan provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association and arranged by the HFF team of Mike Tepedino, Michael Gigliotti, Ryan Ade and James Conley.

Russell Platt, Chief Executive Officer of Forum Partners, noted, “Tom and I have a 20-year relationship dating back to his Cali and later Mack-Cali days, and as Forum continues expanding its focus to the U.S., this was a natural fit from a relationship as well as a strategic standpoint.”

Strategically located directly off the Pennsylvania Turnpike within the prestigious corporate community of Horsham, PA, this portfolio is comprised of 2,374,749 square-feet across 41 buildings. While the portfolio is diverse across property type and tenant mix, the most heavily concentrated property type within the portfolio is 860,000-square-feet of Class A, multi-story office. The portfolio boasts strong, consistent overall occupancy and financial performance. Tenants are drawn by the area’s proximity to major thoroughfares, which provide convenient access to Philadelphia and New York City.

Workspace Property Trust is a privately held, vertically integrated, full service commercial real estate company specializing in the development, management, and operation of office and flex space in the Northeast. Workspace Property Trust is a partnership between Rizk Ventures, Forum Partners, JMP Group and EverWatch Capital.

Contact:
Sloane & Company
Elliot Sloane, 212-446-1860 or Jaimee Pavia, 212-446-1863

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