Malvern office complex backfills space once occupied by Unisys 

Nearly a year after negotiating an exit for Unisys Corp. from its decades long home at the Great Valley Commerce Center in Malvern, the landlord is steadily backfilling the 123,000 square feet the technology company vacated and putting the office complex back on stable footing.

The 33.5-acre Great Valley Commerce consists of two office buildings. One property totals 280,000 square feet at 2476 Swedesford Road and another structure, which totals 80,000 square feet, at 1000 Cedar Hollow Road.

Unisys (NYSE: UIS) built the complex in 1968 and until about 2009, it had been called the Unisys Technology Center as a result of the company occupying all of its space.

When Apex Financial Advisors Inc. bought the complex just off Route 202 for $78 million in 2017, Unisys occupied 123,000 square feet at 2476 Swedesford Road and 19,000 square feet at the Cedar Hollow building. It was then that Apex began negotiations with Unisys about its eventual departure. The lease was expected to expire this December.

“As their business changed, they needed less and less space,” said Joe Weidenburner of Apex. “These big tech companies needed a much bigger footprint than they do now.”

Last August, Unisys vacated space and relocated those operation to its headquarters in Blue Bell. Apex then moved forward with gutting the interior space, installed a new roof and mechanical systems and launched an effort to lease up the vacant 123,000 square feet of space. So far, the Yardley real estate company has spent $15 million on those combined efforts and it has paid off.

It landed Zoetis Inc., (NYSE: ZTS) an animal health spinoff from Pfizer Inc. based in Parsippany, New Jersey. The company signed a 10-year lease on 65,179 square feet that started in April.

BioTelemetry Inc., which was in 1000 Cedar Hollow and had a lease expiring in March 2021, needed more space. Apex negotiated an 11-year lease on 25,000 square feet lease for the company to relocate to 2476 Swedesford. BioTelemetry’s (NASDAQ: BEAT) began to occupy the space this month. The company also extended its lease on 60,529 square feet at Cedar Hollow in a deal that will commence April 2021.

There’s about 30,000 square feet left to be leased at 2476 Swedesford.

Though it relocated the bulk of its Malvern operations to Blue Bell, Unisys still occupied 19,000 square feet at the Cedar Hollow building. On March 13, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC) of Reston, Virginia, closed on a $1.2 billion cash deal to acquire Unisys Federal, a cloud operating business unit that occupied that space. SAIC last month renewed that lease until 2023.

Exeter Property Group bought the Great Valley Commerce Center in 2009 for $19.5 million from Unisys and launched a multimillion-dollar renovation to the buildings and renamed it the Great Valley Commerce Center. A couple of years after that DaVita Inc., which operates DaVita Dialysis, leased 120,000 square feet of office space at 2476 Swedesford and later expanded by another 16,000 square feet in the building.

*Article courtesy of Philadelphia Business Journal

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