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PHILADELPHIA-Metro Development Corp., a locally based family firm headed by David and Michael Grasso, closes on its planned purchase of 1500 Walnut St. for $24.5 million. The seller is a joint-venture partnership between New York-based Praedium Group and JADS Alliance Equities, which is based here.

The JV acquired the building at Walnut and 15th Street in 2000 and has made significant capital improvements since then. The original 22-story structure was completed in 1926, and a second, 20-story structure and four-story parking garage were added in 1965. Seamless floor plates connect the two towers on floors one through 20, and each of the connected floors contains about 13,000 rentable sf.

In all, the property contains a total of 326,000 sf of rentable area, which includes approximately 260,000 sf of office space, 12,000 sf of ground-floor retail space, and a 54,000-sf, 160-space attached parking garage. The largest and most notable ground-floor retail tenant is Striped Bass restaurant, which opened in 1994 and ranks among Philadelphia’s finest. Among the office tenants are Rosemont [email protected], Beyond Books, Dance Advance and several law firms, professional service firms and nonprofits.

New York-based Sonnenblick-Goldman Co., represented the sellers in the transaction. Andrew Oliver, managing director and principal of Sonnenblick-Goldman, says, “1500 Walnut St. generated tremendous interest from investors, which demonstrates continued strong demand for well-located Center City Philadelphia office buildings.”

Mark Ehlinger, the company’s director, says Praedium “identified and purchased an under-performing asset, improved it in partnership with a locally-based operator, and then sold it on the basis of substantially higher and stronger cash flow.” Metro owns the Packard Building at 15th and Chestnut streets.

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