A Landmark Restored
Franklin Realty Development Corporation’s introduction to Warminster Township, Bucks County, came in September 2001 when it acquired a former Naval Air Development Center building at 626 Jacksonville Road. This historic site, built by the U.S. Navy in 1941, was once the home of Brewster Aircraft Company. Franklin realized that, in spite of its age, the building was well-built, with floor plans suitable for current market conditions. It represented an opportunity with significant upside potential.
The Brewster Building had very large, efficient floorplates that are not often found in the suburbs. With this in mind, Franklin purchased the building for three million dollars or approximately $30 per square foot. Franklin felt that the renovated structure could be attractively repositioned in the suburban marketplace and would be the first Class “A” office building to be built in Warminster in over a decade.
CenterPointe Office Center is the 93,500-square-foot flagship of Franklin’s value-added renovation program. Franklin seeks the right opportunities. These buildings are then retrofitted and modernized with new windows, facades, atriums, lobbies, courtyards, elevators and stair wells.
Franklin spent more than $10 million to renovate the Brewster Building which required some unusual measures. For example, they eliminated some 80 different electrical feeds coming into the building itself. The building also had its own wells, its own chillers and 30 different transformers. Franklin even had to remove a bomb shelter, a weapons vault and separate the building from a larger structure by demolishing two, three-story towers.
Although it was a complex endeavor, the renovation was a complete success. At its peak, CenterPointe was nearly 100% leased.