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NEWTOWN, PA-Liberty Property Trust acquired a 10.3-acre parcel at 777 Township Line Rd. here for development of a three-story, class A, 110,000-sf office building. The parcel currently contains a 35,000-sf distribution center formerly occupied by Danone Waters Facility.

The Malvern-based REIT will demolish the existing structure. “Both the demolition of the old property and the development of the new building will be to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) specifications,” says Ward Fitzgerald, Liberty’s SVP and regional director, in a statement. The building will incorporate “many of the lessons we learned on other green building projects,” he adds, referring to the Plaza at PP&L Center in Allentown. Comcast Center, under way by Liberty in Philadelphia, will also be built to LEED specs. This will be the first green office facility in Bucks County.

Tony Nichols Jr., director of leasing and development for Liberty in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region, tells GlobeSt.com the estimated development cost of the property, including the acquisition, is $20 million. Nichols, based in Horsham, is handling the leasing and says the asking rental rate is $27.75 per sf plus electric. That is approximately $3.50 per sf more than the average rental rate of $24.28 per sf for class A office space in Bucks County, according to a first-quarter report from the Philadelphia office of Grubb & Ellis.

“We think this will raise the bar in Bucks County,” Nichols says. Over the past five years, he says, this area has changed from a primarily flex-building submarket to one that “attracts high-end Fortune 500 companies.”

Liberty expects to break ground this June and reach completion in May 2006. Malvern-based Cathers & Associates is the architect, and Norwood Construction is the general contractor. The brick-and-glass building will have a three-story atrium and a five-per-1,000 parking ratio.

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