PHILADELPHIA-Aramark has signed a long-term sublease with Verizon for 42,616 sf in Bell Atlantic Tower, the 53-story trophy building at 1717 Arch St. With its own building bursting at the seams, the locally based food supplier’s mid-Atlantic division will relocate from Aramark Tower at 1101 Market St. to the full 42nd and 43rd floors of 1717 Arch.

The agreement concludes the lease-up of the approximately 235,000 sf vacated by the locally based Dechert law firm, which relocated to Cira Centre, the newly completed office tower next to 30th Street Station. Roger McManimon, senior director of the local office of Cushman & Wakefield, tells the Aramark lease takes occupancy in the 1.5-million-sf Bell Atlantic building to 93%. “It’s a fluid number, however, because Verizon has the ability to re-stack some of its existing space to open up about 100,000 sf for the right tenant.”

McManimon, along with Paul Garvey of C&W represented Verizon, while Gil Pierce and Patrick Wolfington, also of C&W, represented Aramark. Via a subsidiary, Bell Atlantic, now Verizon, constructed the building in 1991. It later sold the asset to a partnership that includes the New York City-based Blackstone Group and inked a master lease for the full building. The Verizon master lease expires in August 2012.

The Dechert relocation at the end of 2005 compounded a vacancy created by Verizon’s downsizing in the building. It relocated staff from about 25 stories to a property it acquired in Northern New Jersey. In summer 2004, it assigned subleasing of the vacant portions to the team led by McManimon and Garvey.

“We’ve been very aggressive,” McManimon says. “We’re sort of a square hole that does not fit every round peg. Not all major tenants want to commit under a sublease that expires in six years. Yet, this also represents an opportunity to enter a trophy building at very good rates.”

Without disclosing the aggregate value or lease rate of the Aramark agreement, he says he and Garvey have filled 317,000 sf within the past 18 months, “and all of the leases are in the low $20s per sf and will escalate over the term. Eight more leases for an aggregate of about 50,000 sf are out for signature,” he reports, “and we’re talking with 20 additional prospects.”

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