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PHILADELPHIA-The New York City-based Northern Group Inc. has retained Holliday Fenoglio Fowler to market the Lafayette Building and the Architects Building. Both office buildings are unpriced, free and clear of debt and in locations where zoning would permit hotel, residential and/or mixed-use conversions.

The 11-story, 180,000-sf Lafayette Building at 433-437 Chestnut Street was built in 1907. It is located across from the Liberty Bell at Independence Mall and has park area on two sides. The property is expandable by adding stories aggregating approximately 57,000 sf on top of the existing structure.

The 24-story, 152,000-sf Architects Building at 117 S. 17th Street was built in 1931 and is the current headquarters of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects. An AIA store occupies the ground floor. “The location, one block from Rittenhouse Square, ideally positions it for a condominium or luxury hotel conversion,” says Joseph Morningstar, senior managing director in the New York office of HFF.

He and Andrew Scandalios, managing director in the same office, are heading the investment sales team. Citing a confidentiality agreement, both men declined to disclose any further details about the properties.

On condition of anonymity, a broker familiar with the buildings says that while both are nearly fully occupied, “tenants are on short-term leases. Both are definitely candidates for conversion,” he adds, “so the pending vacancies and Center City’s robust condo and hotel markets make this a very opportune time for Northern to put them on the market.” He declined to speculate on the price they might command. According to public records, the Lafayette Building was acquired in March 2000 for $7.3 million, and the Architects Building was acquired in February 1998 for $3.3 million.

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