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PHILADELPHIA-Brandywine Realty Trust and the University of Pennsylvania have moved forward with Cira Centre South, the 2.8-million-sf mixed-use project on 14-acres of university-owned land to the south of 30th Street Station. Radnor-based Brandywine has obtained a 90-year ground lease on the land. The estimated cost for the total project approaches $800 million and began with the demolition of the block-long post office truck terminal annex.

Redevelopment of the existing 862,000-sf US Postal Service building represents phase one of the project. Brandywine paid the university $28 million for the building and estimates its renovation will cost about $265 million. The postal service has signed three short-term leases for 220,000-sf portions of the building, which it will occupy during renovation through fourth-quarter 2008.

The US General Services Administration has signed a 20-year lease for the full building, beginning with completion of the renovation in 2010, where it will house 5,000 employees of the Internal Revenue Service. As part of this phase, Brandywine will also construct a 733,000-sf, 2,400-vehicle parking garage, at an estimated cost of $110 million. Half of it will be reserved for IRS employees.

Final plans and time line for the additional components of the project are “subject to market conditions,” Jerry Sweeney, Brandywine’s CEO, previously told GlobeSt.com. Preliminarily they call for two towers. One on the Walnut Street side may rise 50 stories and contain 500,000 sf of office space, a 225-room hotel and 50 residential condos. It is projected for completion in 2012, and the university has agreed to lease 100,000 sf of its office space for a 20-year term.

On the Chestnut Street side, initial plans call for a 30-story building of about 225 rental apartments along with 20,000 sf of retail. This complex is part of the university’s Penn Connects master plan for connecting University City with Center City, which is also a goal of Cira Centre, Brandywine’s newly completed office tower on the north side of Amtrak’s 30th Street Station.

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