Natalie Kostelni

Blog: Real Estate

Friday, October 1, 2010, 4:33am EDT

Arch Street high-rise has yet another name

Dear Philadelphia,

Meet Three Logan.

It’s a 53-story high-rise on Arch Street that went by the name Bell Atlantic Tower beginning when it was completed in 1991 for its tenant and developer, Bell Atlantic.

Then when Bell Atlantic changed its name in 2000 to Verizon Communications Inc., the local commercial real estate community clumsily tried to call the skyscraper Verizon Tower. It just didn’t feel right. Maybe in New York, “The Verizon Building” — where the company makes its headquarters — worked its way into the vernacular but not here.

In limbo, real estate folks started to call it by its address — 1717 Arch. That worked a little better. The city has plenty of buildings going by their addresses. Thomas Realty Properties decided in 2003 to rebrand 11 Penn Center as 1835 Market sans the “Street.”

It wasn’t the first of the Penn Centers to drop the Penn Center name to generate better recognition. Over the years, building owners have chipped away at the name.

The first one to fall was Three Penn Center in 1985. It was about the time 61-story One Liberty Place, which broke the city's unofficial height limit to tower above the Penn Center buildings, was in the works. Most of the Penn Centers that were developed prior to Liberty Place were 20 stories high, with the exception of Five Penn, which is 36 stories, and 10 Penn at 27 stories.

Wanting to get an edge up, Three Penn's landlord launched a multimillion dollar renovation and renamed it 1515 Market Street. A year later, Five Penn Center became 1601 Market and was touted in an advertisement at the time as "the most powerful address in Center City." It had also undergone major renovation work and, as part of a promotional gimmick, the landlord charged $16.01 a square foot in rent.

Around the same time, One Penn Center became Suburban Station at One Penn Center, holding onto its Penn Center lineage because of the rail station. Eventually, Six Penn Center became 1701 Market and Nine Penn Center became the Mellon Bank Center when Mellon Bank was secured as its anchor tenant. Not of the Penn Center bundle, but following suit around 1989, was the IVB, or Industrial Valley Bank, Building, which took 1700 Market as its new name.

The holdouts are Two Penn Center, Four Penn Center and Eight Penn Center.

When Brandywine Realty Trust (NYSE:BDN) bought Bell Atlantic, oops, I mean Three Logan, in August, the company decided it was an ideal time to go ahead and change the building’s name. The Radnor real estate investment trust owns the nearby One and Two Logan Square office buildings. With so much activity along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and around Logan Square, such as the Barnes, library expansion and possible redevelopment of the family court building, that part of the city has seen its cachet rise.

“It’s really created a tremendously dynamic section of Center City,” said Jerry Sweeney, president and CEO of Brandywine. “We wanted to create a new identity for the project which ties into One and Two Logan and identifies it where it is in the city and from a naming standpoint.”

Sweeney refers to the building by its new name in conference calls and discussions with tenants and brokers. A new marketing brochure will carry the Three Logan moniker but don’t look for a neon sign on the building announcing its new name, Sweeney said.



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