King of Prussia District’s 2020 Annual Report to the Community, A Defining Decade, outlines KOP’s development in 2019 and, in honor of our 10th anniversary, highlights the resurgence of KOP’s commercial, residential, retail and hospitality sectors over the past ten (10) years.
The report celebrates a decade of collaboration and incredible investments made by Upper Merion Township, our 441 commercial, industrial and multi-family property owners, and other partners and allied organizations. Since 2010, this public/private partnership has sparked $3B in economic development activity, and perhaps even more important, cultivated a more diverse and connected business community than ever before.
While we know that next year’s report will show the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19, key takeaways from this report illustrate just how strong KOP’s foundation was heading into 2020. We believe this solid foundation will allow us to weather any storm and come out stronger on the other side.
Key takeaways from the 2020 Annual Report to the Community include:
· Cranes dot the KOP skyline: Six (6) major developments or significant renovations were completed in 2019, with 17 additional projects under construction or in the pipeline.
· KOP is an employment powerhouse: The estimated 4,021 companies that call KOP home employ more than 61,890 people, up 17% from 52,844 in 2010.
· Commercial office, industrial and flex enjoy low vacancy rates: Commercial office accounts for 7.9 M SF, with 135 properties sitting at a 11.8% vacancy rate in Q1 2020 (Class A, B and C aggregate). Flex and industrial’s 215 properties (9.3M SF) closed out Q1 2020 with a 5.9% vacancy rate.
· Retail reigns supreme: KOP boasts 5.4M SF of retail, with 710,035 SF added since 2010. KOP’s 191 retail properties finished Q1 2020 with a vacancy rate of 3.5%. Average lease rate is up 6% from 2010. KOP welcomed 48 new retailers and restaurants in 2019.
· Business and leisure travel finished strong: 608,074 hotel nights were booked in 2019 across KOP’s 14 hotels.
· The tables are hot in KOP: Valley Forge Casino Resort finished 2019 with a 28% total revenue increase from $129.5M in 2018 to $165.8M.
· History is big business: Valley Forge National Historical Park welcomed 1.8M visitors in 2018 with a cumulative benefit of $36M to the local economy. In 2018, construction began on a $14M renovation of the current Visitors Center, expected to open this summer.
· The housing boom continues: After a 20-year drought in housing, 11 new residential developments (2,819 units) were built in the last five (5) years. 83% of all multifamily residential units are already leased. UMT’s population is expected to reach 32,000 in 2020.
· KOP Rail moves forward: In 2019, HNTB submitted 15% design documents to SEPTA for the proposed 4.5-mile extension of the existing Norristown High Speed Line into KOP’s most populated employment centers. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is expected to be released soon.
A Defining Decade also recaps King of Prussia District’s progress across each of our programs. Highlights include:
· To date, King of Prussia District’s theconnector shuttle provided 77,384 rides for employees working at 14 commercial office properties.
· The First Avenue Road Diet was complete in early 2019, reconfiguring the dangerous four-lane road into one lane in each direction with a center turning lane and dedicated bike lanes.
· Since 2011, we’ve invested over $2.1M in design, construction and maintenance of 30 roadway medians, gateways and the Linear Park Demonstration Project.
· In April 2020, King of Prussia District broke ground on Phase One of the First Avenue Linear Park. When complete, this multi-use path will connect 21 private properties (26 parcels) in Moore Park. To date, we’ve received $4.1M in grant funding for the project.
Marketing & Communications:
· In 2019, King of Prussia District deployed a multi-channeled marketing and advertising campaign targeting the C-Suite. Make the Move positions KOP as the suburban market’s premiere location for corporate headquarters.
· King of Prussia District expanded and refreshed our award-winning events in 2019, including KOP Beerfest Royale, Food Truck Tuesday, KOP Restaurant Week and KOP Shops for CHOP and its business networking series.
· To date, King of Prussia District has conducted three (3) tax policy studies to evaluate the tax structure and policies of UMT and make recommendations to encourage future business and increased ratables for UMT.
Land Use & Zoning
· In 2014, we worked with UMT to rezone the King of Prussia business park for mixed-use development.
· In 2018, we collaborated with UMT officials and stakeholders to rebrand the new mixed-use district to Moore Park KOP.