Equus Decides to keep additional building along cherry drive

WYOMISSING, Pa. –– Equus Capital Partners, Ltd. (“Equus”), one of the nation’s leading private equity real estate investment managers who acquired the VF Outlet Center site back in December 2016, announced today there have been changes to the previously released redevelopment site plans. The original plans included keeping on 3 of the 5 existing buildings along Cherry Drive, across from the Red Building. However, due to the overwhelming response from interested tenants following the announcement of the acquistion and redevelopment of the 24-acre site, the decision was made to keep an additional building to accommodate these tenants which will help support the overall economic strategy to transform the more than 1 million square-foot site into a robust mixed use office and retail center.

 

Equus Acquires 1,000,000 SQ FT VF Outlet Center in WYOMISSING, PA

$70M redevelopment plan announced to create a vibrant mixed-use center

WYOMISSING, Pa. –– Equus Capital Partners, Ltd. (“Equus”), one of the nation’s leading private equity real estate investment managers, announced today that an affiliate has closed on the acquisition of the VF Outlet Center at 801 Hill Avenue in Wyomissing and will redevelop the 34 acre site into a robust mixed use office and retail center.

Jerome Kranzel represented the seller in the transaction. The property was 35 percent leased at the time of acquisition.

As part of the acquisition, Equus has announced a $70 million redevelopment plan to transform the more than 1 million square foot site into a vibrant, walkable mixed use campus featuring office, retail and restaurants connected by outdoor pathways and beautifully landscaped spaces.  The redevelopment plan supports Greater Reading’s economic development strategy to help connect Reading and Wyomissing with a two-mile corridor of shopping, business, government and culture.

The redevelopment plan has already begun to attract commitments from major employers in the region. Equus has executed a 150,000 square foot lease with UGI Energy Services (UGI) to consolidate the firm’s regional offices to a state-of-the-art building that will be an adaptive reuse of one of the site’s original buildings.  UGI’s new headquarters will combine the best of the original building’s unique features with brand new infrastructure and building systems. UGI anticipates bringing over 200 jobs to its new headquarters.  VF Outlet, a division of VF Corporation, will also continue to operate consolidated retail and corporate office operations at the center.

“The VF Outlet site offers a rich legacy and prime location near major employers, transportation and housing in the heart of the Greater Reading region.  Our long term vision is to support the current renaissance along Penn Avenue and expand it to Wyomissing with robust business, retail and dining opportunities that contribute to the region’s shared success,” said George Haines, Vice President of Acquisitions, Equus.  “Once complete, this redevelopment will be one of the most unique mixed use projects in Southeastern Pennsylvania. The character of these buildings, connected by a to-be-built pedestrian walkway to a blossoming Penn Avenue main street, will provide businesses a unique experience for their employees that is highly sought after in the country’s top markets.”

“As we sought buyers for the VF Outlet Center, it was important to find one committed to redeveloping this historic property in a way that enhanced the Reading community – and we found that in Equus,” said Rick Ott, General Manager of VF Outlet. “We are excited to be part of the redevelopment as we continue to operate the VF Outlet store at the center and serve the people of Reading and surrounding areas just as we have for more than 45 years.”

Originally constructed from 1906 to 1920, the site housed production facilities for Berkshire Knitting Mills until the 1960s.  VF Corporation acquired Berkshire International Corporation in 1969 and opened the VF Outlet Center in 1970 as one of the first outdoor retail centers of its kind. The site expanded by adding other outlet retailers, eventually becoming one of Greater Reading’s primary tourist and shopping destinations with 350,000 square feet of outlet retail and 125,000 square feet of VF Outlet brand space.

As outlet competition grew and consumer shopping behaviors changed, however, vacancy gradually increased in the region’s original factory outlet center and in 2015, Equus and VF Corporation entered into an agreement to develop a plan to revitalize the property while supporting the region’s rich legacy.

“Our company was founded in Reading in 1899 and today VF Corporation is one of the largest apparel and footwear companies in the world,” said Eric Wiseman, Chairman and CEO of VF Corporation. “The VF Outlet Center property holds historic significance for our company as it played a pivotal role throughout our evolution, first as a manufacturing site, then as the retail space that led VF to be a pioneer in the outlet center concept. We look forward to being part of the next chapter of this distinguished property’s legacy.

The VF Outlet Center is the second major redevelopment project for Equus in the Greater Reading area. Equus redeveloped and recently sold One Meridian Boulevard, a 62-acre office and retail project located in Spring Ridge Corporate Center in Wyomissing. After acquiring One Meridian Boulevard in 2005, Equus transformed the property into the area’s premier business campus, attracting some of the region’s top companies including CNA, All State, Godiva, UGI and DSS. Through its redevelopment, Equus was able to increase occupancy from 18 percent in 2005 to 98 percent in 2016.

“Equus has a strong record of success in the region and is committed to attracting and retaining major employers that add to economic viability of the region,” said Kevin Flannery, Vice President of Leasing, at Equus, who assisted with the acquisition. “UGI Energy Services is a great example of our dedication to establishing long term relationships that support the economic viability of the area.”

About Equus Capital Partners, Ltd.
Equus Capital Partners is one of the nation’s leading private equity real estate fund managers.  Equus’ diversified portfolio consists of office, multi-family, industrial, and retail properties located throughout the United States. The firm is headquartered in the Philadelphia area with regional offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Boston, Atlanta, and Raleigh-Durham. For additional information, please visit the company’s website at www.equuspartners.com.

About VF

VF Corporation is a global leader in the design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories. The company’s diversified portfolio of powerful brands spans numerous geographies, product categories, consumer demographics and sales channels, giving VF a unique industry position and the ability to create sustainable, long-term growth for our customers and shareholders. The company’s largest brands are The North Face®, Vans®, Timberland®, Wrangler® and Lee®. For more information, visit www.vfc.com.

Equus Media Contact:

Rebecca Devine, Maven Communications, 215-434-7191, rdevine@mavenagency.com

VF Corporation Media Contact:

Craig Hodges, 336-424-5636, craig_hodges@vfc.com