PHILADELPHIA-A joint venture between Sterling American Property Inc. and Greenville Partners LLC has acquired 10 Penn Center for $75 million, or just north of $112 per sf, from the locally based Rubenstein Co. The new owner plans to invest $15 million in renovations.

Radnor Corp., then a subsidiary of Sunoco, developed the 27-story, 667,825-sf office building at 1801 Market St., designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill, in 1980. According to public records, Rubenstein acquired the asset in June 1994 for $10 million. It served as Sunoco’s headquarters for many years. However, as previously reported, Sunoco exited the building for Mellon Center in fall 2005, leaving the top 12 floors, or approximately 400,000 sf, vacant.

Renovations will encompass the main entrance, floor lobbies, elevators, all common and tenant areas, and upgrades to the exterior plaza on 18 Street, including new stonework, outdoor furniture and planters. “We look forward to reinvigorating it and repositioning it as a class A property,” Robert Watman, VP of acquisitions for New York City-based Sterling, tells “This is a signature asset in Market Street West, the epicenter of the CBD.”

Watman says Sterling will work closely with Greenville, which is based here and headed by Daniel Philip Busch. Because the building was designed and constructed as a corporate headquarters, Busch says it has safety and engineering components that exceed those in more recent construction. He points out that Ten Penn was the first commercially owned office building here to win the Energy Star award, “22 years after it was built.”

The office space is currently 50% leased, according to Watman, who says the asking rent rate will be in the mid-$20s per sf. The JV has assigned management and leasing to the local office of Grubb & Ellis under a team headed by Grubb SVP Wayne Fisher and Jack Soloff. The approximately 13,000 sf of ground floor retail is fully leased and includes a Starbucks, PNC bank branch, Scott Trade Center and Pickles Plus.

This marks Sterling’s entry into the Philadelphia market. “We’ve been looking at Philadelphia for a long time,” Watman says. Asked if his company plans more acquisitions here, he says, “we’d love to, but there’s nothing on my desk right now.”

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