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PHILADELPHIA-Vesper Property Group Ltd., a local private real estate investment firm has purchased 1619 Walnut St., a 39,305-sf mixed-use office building in the heart of the city’s retail district. According to a source, Vesper paid the Jirard Trust $7.1 million for the building.

Vesper has installed its leasing management team onsite to manage the 15,000 sf of office–the building is about 45% to 50% occupied–that is still available on the upper floors. Current tenants include famed Philadelphia restaurant Brasserie Perrier and local architecture firm Claflen Associates.

Gary Silvi, president of Vesper Property Group, tells GlobeSt.com that an extensive rehab will be made in improving the building’s lobby and public areas. The goal is to retrofit the building so it can serve as a boutique office or perhaps a mixed-use facility. The user Vesper has in mind would be a firm that does not need or want to be located in the city’s financial corridor but would prefer the smaller feel of a historic building located in a retail center.

In fact, Walnut Street is poised for a retail renaissance similar to when such platinum retailers as Tiffany’s was located here, Silvi says. Such a development would also be an attractant for a potential user. “With the demographics here and the widespread development of high-end condos, we believe the future is bright for this location.”

Built in 1937, 1619 Walnut St. was once a recording and broadcast studio occupied by Westinghouse Broadcasting and later the CBS affiliate, KYW-TV. A six-story art deco building, 1619 Walnut St. is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings and contains many of the buildings original features including lobby finishes and original details on the facade.

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