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PHILADELPHIA-Following its purchase of 345 Mellon Bank branches last year, Providence, RI-based Citizens Financial Corp. forms Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. With the signing of three separate leases totaling 161,472 sf, it establishes its eastern state headquarters Downtown.

Citizens Bank has signed a 10-year lease for 125,000 sf at 801 Market St. for anoperations center that will house approximately 450 employees. In two additional transactions, it also leases 33,572 sf of office space for its headquarters in Two Commerce Square at 2001 Market St., and another 2,900 sf of retail space in the same building. Both leases are for six years.

Joseph Wolff of the local office of Insignia/ESG tells GlobeSt.com that all three leases have multiple renewal options. Neither Wolff nor any other principals in the negotiations would disclose rental rates on the leases.

Area brokers tell GlobeSt.com the rental rate at 801 Market St. is approximately $24 per sf and that class-A properties west of Broad St., where 2001 Market St. is located, rent for about $26.50 per sf.

The 13-story, 382,487-sf building at 801 Market St. was built by Strawbridge & Clothier between 1928 and 1931 and occupied as both a store and corporate headquarters for the retailer until the company was sold in 1995.

After that, the top floors lay vacant until locally based Preferred Real Estate Investments purchased floors seven through 13 two years ago and renovated them into prime office space. The renovation, which was completed in March, includes rehabilitated HVAC, electrical and sprinkler systems along with marble floors, mosaic ceiling and bronze finishes on elevator doors.

Two Commerce Square, the 41-story, 950,000-sf twin of One Commerce Square,was completed in 1992, five years after its sister building reached completion. Both buildings carry a signature diamond form on top. They share an open plaza and fountain, underground parking, and 24-hour security.

Wolff and Dennis Durkin of Insignia’s Philadelphia office worked with Patrick Cavanagh and Steve Lynch of the Boston office of New York-based Insignia/ESG to negotiate the three leases on behalf of Citizens. Michael Balitsaris of Preferred represented 801 Market Street Associates, identified as the owner of that building. Joseph P. McManus of locally based Thomas Realty Partners LP represented Los Angeles-based Thomas Properties Group, the owner of Two Commerce Square.

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