A Center City office tower plagued by vacancies has started to gradually fill empty square footage and plan for that which will be free in the future. 123 S. Broad, one of downtown’s iconic buildings, has been beleaguered by available space since the loss of two major tenants knocked down their numbers. This is not only a curious state of affairs, but one that was never foretasted to last long, given the shortage of contiguous office space available in Center City.
The tower on Broad Street is 30 stories tall and has over 725,000 square feet of space. To date this year, 123 S. Broad has accumulated 13 new tenants accounting for 66,371 square feet of empty space. These tenants include Fame House, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group, which took the entire 26th floor and 22,730 square feet; public relations firm Brian Communications, which leased 9,000 square feet on the next floor; Instructure, an ed tech firm, that leased 10,000 square feet; and software development company Promptworks, which took 9,000 square feet.
The vacancies were created by the loss of a major, long-time tenant. Law firm Montgomery McCracken previously occupied floors 24 through 29, which covered 110,000 square feet. With the new leases, this gaping hole in the building’s occupancy is nearly backfilled. Unfortunately, although Pete Soens of SSH Real Estate, which owns the building, estimates that occupancy will be up to 95 percent by the year’s end, 123 S. Broad will face another residency crisis when mega-tenant Wells Fargo relocates in fall 2020. Wells Fargo currently occupies 100,00 square feet, being the other major office in the building along with the former McCracken, and Soens disclosed that SSH is trying to fill current vacancies as quickly as possible so that they can begin pre-filling the Wells Fargo space in advance of it becoming available.
SSH is actively trying new things to fill the building back up for the long-term. For example, it has set aside two floors dedicated to attract nonprofits. An additional wing of the building targeted law, accounting and other traditional professional firms, while attracting creative tenants was the goal of another section. The lobby was renovated and other amenities are in the works.