Chicago-based Hilco Redevelopment Partners launched phase one of vertical construction in its transformational project that will convert an obsolete industrial site in Philadelphia into the Bellwether District, a multiphase, 1,300-acre, 14 million-square-foot-plus master-planned park.
In a Monday announcement from JLL, the real estate broker announced it has been retained by HRP to lease the entirety of the project.
The site sits less than three miles from Philadelphia’s Center City District and its nearly 1.6 million consumers and is a four-hour drive from 47 million consumers. The distribution space constructed in phase one will include several best-in-class design features that reflect current user preferences. Furthermore, HRP said the development is poised to unlock an unprecedented swath of the city’s land mass, creating fast, easy distribution and warehousing options for companies across industries, including food, e-commerce and logistics firms.
Phase one is the first of a sequence that will consist of multimodal distribution and fulfilment centers, with subsequent stages also to include a progressive Innovation Campus totaling 250 of the 1,300 acres.
This first phase will include more than 1 million square feet of logistics and distribution space, including two buildings of 325,659 and 727,272 square feet, respectfully, each built to LEED standards and incorporating numerous sustainability measures. Site work will continue into 2024, with the completion of vertical construction anticipated in early 2025.
Given the deep local labor pool, including a total workforce of more than 1.4 million within a 30-minute radius, the site will attract users previously unable to find Philadelphia-centric distribution center solutions.
Additionally, the Bellwether District provides business incentives via a Keystone Opportunity Zone designation, real estate tax abatements under a payment in lieu of taxes program and the property’s federal Foreign Trade Zone status.
“JLL is honored to be selected to lease a once-in-a-generation project that will create a high-powered economic engine to drive the region’s economy for the next century,” Robert Kossar, vice chairman and market leader of JLL’s Northeast Industrial Region, said regarding the logistics portion of the project.
“The Bellwether District will provide extraordinary flexibility for logistics, distribution and warehouse occupants, who will benefit from an abundance of state-of-the-art industrial space conveniently located near air, truck, rail and marine transportation modes.” Nate Demetsky, vice chairman, JLL, added. “The sheer scope of this urban infill project and the size of the future complex within Philadelphia’s city limits will enable its industrial users to meet the shifting future needs of companies across industries with unmatched labor availability. The project will fill a void in the Philadelphia market that has existed for decades, and the market response to date has been extremely positive, especially considering the attractive economic zone and tax benefits.”
“This portion of the park will be designed and built to create an environment where life sciences, technology, health care and higher education organizations can thrive and grow. We are thrilled to join the HRP team and our industrial partners,” Ron Cariola, executive managing director, JLL, stated.
The JLL team leading the industrial leasing effort includes Kossar, Demetsky, Larry Maister and Kyle Lockard. JLL’s David Knee, Jeff Lockard and Ignatius Armenia are providing regional support. The JLL team leading the Innovation Campus leasing effort includes Cariola, Tyler Vandergrift and Joe Colletti.
The site was purchased by HRP out of bankruptcy in June 2020, and it has already created hundreds of jobs to handle millions of dollars of decommissioning work as part of a complex, multiyear redevelopment effort. The project is expected to generate 19,000 permanent jobs and $41 million in annual tax revenue.