Liberty-Comcast JV to Build Philly Tower - Analyst Blog


Liberty Property Trust ( LRY ) and Comcast Corporation ( CMCSA ) have collaborated to build a 59-story, 1,121-foot tower in Philadelphia. This tower - Comcast Innovation and Technology Center - will be constructed adjacent to the existing Comcast Center and is expected to be the nation's tallest building outside New York and Chicago.

The joint venture, in which Comcast has an 80% stake and the rest is owned by Liberty, will develop this tower with an investment of $1.2 billion. The property will be managed by Liberty. Designed by Lord Norman Foster, the tower will be developed on the 1800 block of Arch Street in Center City Philadelphia and will include a Four Seasons Hotel. It will also be occupied by the local broadcast television stations NBC 10/WCAU and Telemundo 62/WWSI.

The construction will start this summer and is projected to be accomplished in the fall of 2017. An initial lease would be executed by Comcast for a term of 20 years for at least 75% of the rentable office space or 957,000 square feet. Encouragingly, thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity are expected to be created in Philadelphia for this project.

As a matter of fact, Liberty Property is boosting its portfolio base through the repositioning program. Recently, the company reaped $367.7 million as proceeds by selling 49 properties aggregating around four million square feet of space and 140 acres of land.

These 49 properties are among the 97 properties that the company had earlier disclosed of selling. The sale of the remaining assets is slated to be accomplished by late Jan 2014. This remaining disposition is expected to fetch $329.6 million as proceeds.

Going forward, we believe that the repositioning efforts by Liberty through strategic acquisitions, JV investments and dispositions would help the company ride on the growth trajectory. While the dispositions result in a near-term drag to profitability, we believe these provide the wherewithal to be invested in acquiring and developing premium assets that go a long way in enhancing the top line.

This Pa.-based real estate investment trust (REIT) - Liberty Property - currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Investors interested in the REIT industry may consider stocks like Getty Realty Corp. ( GTY ) and Pebblebrook Hotel Trust ( PEB ). Both these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

COMCAST CORP A (CMCSA): Free Stock Analysis Report

GETTY REALTY CP (GTY): Free Stock Analysis Report

LIBERTY PPTY TR (LRY): Free Stock Analysis Report

PEBBLEBROOK HTL (PEB): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: CMCSA , GTY , LRY , PEB

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