Leo Addimando


Alterra Property Group

, which owns apartments in Center City and Manayunk, has big changes planned for the 104-unit Versailles apartments at 1530 Locust St., which it acquired and began running last week.

Alterra replaces Carlyle Property Management.

"That building is a jewel. It needs a facelift. We are going to be investing in capital improvements, starting sometime in 2015. It will be done slowly," Addimando told me.

That means higher rents, which Philadelphia apartment-dwellers have gotten used to lately. "When you invest in a building, part of the plan is to raise the rents," Addimando said. He plans to keep the units large - for "young families and empty nesters," he said - and promised "nobody will be forced out. We intend to honor the leases."

For the building's staff, it's different.

"Ten workers - doormen, maintenance, housekeepers, porters - were brought in and fired immediately, just a week before Christmas," said Julie Blust, spokesperson for SEIU Local 32BJ, which represents the Versailles workers. "One doorman has been there 27 years."

The union has handed leaflets to Christmas shoppers calling on the company to rehire the veteran staff. Blust says they have received "a great deal of sympathy from the tenants."

Addimando says he paid the workers 90 days severance "in an effort to ease the transition." He says his company followed the law, "consistent with our business model, in that all security/front door attendants and cleaning work in our buildings is contracted out to reputable third parties." The Versailles staff had worked for the building managers.

Before you fly

Investor David Lichtenstein's Lightstone Group, with offices in Lakewood, N.J., and New York City, has agreed to buy two hotels near Philadelphia International Airport from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. for a total of more than $22 million.

After negotiations that started in March, Lightstone agreed to pay around $15 million for the 136-room Aloft hotel (average daily rate: $110) after calculating that that price is below replacement cost and that the Philly market will support higher rates. Lightstone also paid $7.4 million, or $126,000 per room key, for the nearby Four Points Hotel.

As part of the deal, Lightstone also agreed to buy the nearby 252-room, full-service Sheraton Suites that Starwood owned.

Risk selloff

Radian Group Inc., the Philadelphia-based mortgage insurer, says it has agreed to sell its New York-based financial-guaranty insurance unit, Radian Asset Assurance Inc., to a unit of Assured Guaranty Ltd. for $810 million. The business, with risk exposure totaling $19.4 billion, employs about 35.

Radian chief executive S.A. Ibrahim tied the sale to the Federal Housing Agency's proposed tighter new Private Mortgage Insurer Eligibility Requirements.

Assured Guaranty, based in Bermuda, is led by Dominic Frederico, a Drexel graduate who was formerly a top executive at Ace Ltd., the global insurer whose main office is in Center City.

Radian's workforce had roughly doubled this year, to 1,730, since the company's acquisitions of Clayton Holdings and Green River Capital. About 530 work in Philadelphia.