Source, Philadelphia Business Journal, Natalie Kostelni
The Village at Valley Forge, a 126-arce mixed-use community that has provided King of Prussia with a contemporary version of a downtown, has reached a remarkable milestone; The last of its developable sites is up for sale.
A 3.19-acre parcel referred to as One Market St. that fronts North Gulph Road and is located across from the entrance to the Schuylkill Expressway and Pennsylvania Turnpike has hit the market.
“It’s literally the last site,” said Dennis Maloomian of Realen Properties, which is the master developer of the Village at Valley Forge. “This is our best site. It always has been.”
Saving the best for last was always part of the development plan for the Village at Valley Forge and it may well be the priciest piece of ground to be sold there. Based on past transactions, prices for land at the development has been steadily rising with each sale and now trades for around $10 million an acre. This parcel has the potential to trade for just as much if not more. Maloomian declined to speculate on how much it could ultimately fetch.
There are several options for what could be built on the property. Based on zoning, it could accommodate upwards of 300,000 square feet of space and a building that could rise 250 feet, or roughly 20 stories. Among the uses that could go there are: Medical or office space such as a corporate headquarters; an apartment complex with 350 units; a hotel with 775 rooms; or a building with a combination of hotel rooms and residential units.
Since a building on the site could go as high as 20 stories, it has led some observers to hedge King of Prussia could handle a Center City-style high-rise tower that would be scaled to fit into the surrounding area and be filled with luxury condominiums or a combination of high-end condos and hotel rooms. The suburbs has shown consistent demand for multifamily accommodations from those who want a Center City lifestyle but don’t want to be in Center City. In addition, the suburbs lacks a five-star hotel and there’s a sense that it could support one.
The Village at Valley Forge has been years in the making. Realen bought the land in 1996 and, after having fought multiple, extended legal battles over its zoning, finally won in court to move forward with its development. In spite of that, the Great Recession struck bringing all but the development of a 123,000-square-foot Wegmans to a halt. The grocery store opened in 2012.
The downturn in the economy allowed Realen to pivot on the Village at Valley Forge. Rather than focus the development just on retail and office space, revised plans incorporated multifamily projects. At this point, 2,900 residential units involving a mix of apartments, townhouses, flexible stay and senior housing have been constructed. While some multifamily projects have reached 90% occupancy, some are in the 70% range and still leasing up.
“We brought all of it on at once and everyone is going gangbusters,” Maloomian said.
More apartments could be on the way. A smaller property on Guthrie Road across from Creed’s, a restaurant, is being eyed by UDR Inc. for a multifamily project that would be similar to Park Square, a 313-unit complex at 751 Vandenberg Road in King of Prussia, according to sources. UDR recently bought Park Square for $108.5 million.
Aside from the residential projects, 400,000 square feet of retail space has been developed between the Wegmans and the King of Prussia Town Center, which are bustling with diners and shoppers. A total of 425,000 square feet of medical space has or will be built between Main Line Health and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
The property at One Market St. is being marketed nationally to gauge developer interest. JLL has the listing.