PHILADELPHIA-With 95% of its nearly 1.3 million sf of office space preleased, Comcast Center has made gains in filling the tower’s 24,000 sf of retail space. Di Bruno Brothers is among six food tenants that have inked leases aggregating more than half of the 12,000-sf gourmet food market located on the concourse level, which is at the building’s new entrance to the Suburban Station commuter rail line.

The 1,365-sf Di Bruno space represents the third location for the 50-year-old gourmet grocer. The others are in the Italian Market section, where it was founded, and an 18,000-sf, two-level store at 1730 Chestnut St.

Ardmore Produce has leased 1,347 sf for a Sook Hee’s Produce store and 1,027 sf for Under the C, which is the company’s seafood venue. The other three food market leases are a 977-sf Tokyo Lunchbox & Catering unit, an 837-sf Jake & Max’s Deli, and a 602-sf Bucks County Coffee. “We expect to announce leases for the remaining half of the food market space in coming weeks,” says Henry Steinberg, director of leasing for Malvern-based Liberty Property Trust, which developed the 58-story as Comcast’s headquarters.

An agreement for indoor and outdoor restaurants by chefs Georges Perrier and Chris Scardusio were reached in December 2005. The restaurant space is in addition to the 24,000 sf of retail in the building. Steinberg says the two restaurants will share some kitchen functions, “but the outdoor restaurant will have its own outdoor cooking capabilities.” The indoor restaurant aggregates 18,000 sf on portions of the building’s ground-, second- and third-floor levels.

Citizen’s Bank, which recently signed a lease for 48,000 sf of office space in the tower, has also leased 2,000 sf of retail space for a ground-floor branch, Steinberg tells He declined to disclose retail rent rates. A prominent Center City retail broker declined to speculate, saying, “this is a non-traditional – essentially a new – retail corridor.”

Comcast has committed to lease approximately 87% of the office building now under construction at 17th Street and JFK Boulevard. Occupancy of the lower floors will begin by year-end with completion scheduled for the following spring.

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