PHILADELPHIA−Keystone Property Group andMack-Cali Realty Corp. had jointly acquired theCurtis Center building overlooking IndependenceHall and Washington Square Park here for $125 million. They plan a“dynamic” repositioning that includes luxury rental apartments andnew retail space.

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The companies paid all cash for the iconic office and retailbuilding. The Curis Center acquisition is the latest in aseries of deals made jointly by Pennsylvania-based Keystone and NewJersey-based Mack-Cali. Executives said that the deals are in linewith the corporate strategies of each firm:

  • Keystone's expansion into projects that create“lifestyle-oriented business environments” and
  • Mack-Cali's push into the muti-family rental arena.

About 90 rental apartments will be created within about 90,000square feet of existing office space, according to the companies.They said possibilities for additional housing will arise as officeleases expire and more space becomes available.

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Curtis Center comprises 885,000 square feet and occupies anentire block in Center City. Current tenants include the GeneralServices Administration as anchor tenant and ground-floorretailers.

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"Not only is Curtis Center rich with cultural importance, butit's also perfectly aligned with our company's overarching goal toexpand our regional footprint by creating exciting live-work-playspaces in dynamic markets," said Bill Glazer,Keystone president.

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"We're thrilled to have the chance to transform this icon into avibrant mixed-use environment while maintaining the historicalsignificance of one of Philadelphia's most recognizable buildings.Our strong relationship with Mack-Cali will enable us to leverageour collective knowledge to create truly unique tenant and residentexperiences," Glazer said.

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Mitchell E. Hersh, president and CEO ofMack-Cali, said his company is taking advantage of an opportunityto strengthen its multi-family presence “in the heart of thegrowing Philadelphia housing market.”

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“This building is well positioned to capitalize on the upside ofone of the region's most exciting hubs for entertainment, cultureand transit," Hersh said.

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In addition to the apartments, the converted Curtis Center willhave new corner restaurant spaces at Walnut and Sixth Streets, withnewly landscaped outdoor seating and unobstructed views of bothWashington Square Park and Independence National Historical Park.The planned retail and streetscape renovations are to be designedto complement the building's central office and residentialcomponents.

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The companies also plan to upgrade the building's elevators andHVAC system, roof, facade and parking garage.

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An affiliate of Keystone will manage the office and retailportions of the building, while Roseland, asubsidiary of Mack-Cali, will be responsible for the design,construction, leasing and management of the residential units.

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Built between 1909 and 1920, Curtis Center originally housedCurtis Publishing, owner of publications such as Ladies' HomeJournal, The Saturday Evening Post, The American Home, Holiday,Jack & Jill and Country Gentleman.

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The building was given an $80-million renovation in the1980s.

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