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PHILADELPHIA-Trinity Capital Advisors LLC has closed on a $90-million, 75-year ground lease for Girard Square. This paves the way for redevelopment of the full Center City block that is bordered by Market, Chestnut, 11th and 12th streets.

“We envision a massing that could be like Time Warner Center in New York, but not as opulent,” says Kevin Doyle, president of Trinity. He tells GlobeSt.com the total project could encompass up to four million sf at an anticipated cost of about $1.2 billion. Work will begin “within a five-year window.

“There will be office towers with an aggregate of about 1.5 million sf, at least 500,000 sf of retail, a convention-style hotel of about 750 rooms with a residential component on the remaining space,” he says. “We plan to work with the city to create a legacy here.

“We believe the success of the project will be determined by the success of the retail,” he adds. “That will determine the quality of the hotel and of the office tenants.” So, that’s where Trinity intends to begin, and it will bring in a national retail developer “from outside the area,” Doyle says, to partner and “bring a national perspective.” At some point, he adds, “we will take down most of the existing properties on the block.”

The block now has four buildings, aggregating about 850,000 sf, which are 90% leased. Doyle says that under Trinity’s lease agreement, “we now control the whole block” and it collects the rents on the properties. They include a two-story, 210,000-sf Market St. building of retail with offices on the second floor; the 110,000-sf Stephen Girard building; the 110,000-sf Family Court office building and a garage on Chestnut Street, which has some office and retail space.

The owner of the block is Girard Estates, which owns this and other land bequeathed to the city by entrepreneur Stephen Girard in the 1800s and is overseen by the Board of Directors of City Trusts. A year ago the estate managers called for RFPs on the prized parcel, which was then valued at $75 million.

As GlobeSt.com reported in October 2006, Conshohocken-based Trinity outbid others. Located across from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, it is a parcel long sought by developers and seen as a key to revitalization along both Market and Chestnut streets to the east of Broad Street.

It took eight months to close the deal, Doyle says, “because it was not a typical transaction. It was not a sale, and the estate had managed the property, debt-free for 200 years. It was complicated.” Rent proceeds under the ground lease will help fund Girard College, which is also a part of estate.

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