MM Partners real estate development company aims to help transform Philadelphia's Brewerytown neighborhood.
By buying and rehabbing shells, stores and empty or underused warehouses, MM Partners hopes to revive the West Girard Avenue retail corridor along with its residential developments.
All Philadelphia locals, David Waxman and Jacob Roller are co-managing partners of MM, and Aaron Smith is partner and director of property management, sales and marketing. Currently, they have an office in a recent rehab at 1234 N. 30th St.
To date, MM Partners, founded in 2001, has renovated and owns 50 properties in Brewerytown, including mixed-use, multifamily and single-family projects, about $45 million worth within a five-square-mile radius. It is slated to acquire and develop 150 to 200 more units over the next two years, Waxman said.
"Focusing on one neighborhood allows for future projects to increase the value of existing projects and vice versa, driving demand and rent and sales prices," he said.
MM's current projects include the Braverman Building under construction at the northeast corner of Girard Avenue and Taney Street. The plan is for 16 apartments and two retail spaces to be completed by spring 2015.
Perhaps its most ambitious project is Girard27, which will occupy a large tract at 27th Street and Girard Avenue that has sat empty for two decades.
"We have approvals in place for 68 apartments, 15,000 square feet of retail, approximately 60 parking spaces, and 10 townhomes with their own parking," Waxman said.
Groundbreaking is scheduled for spring 2015.
"This new residential and commercial development will incorporate sustainable design," he added, including stormwater quantity and quality control.
Runoff will be managed through green roofs on the building, as well as underground basins located within the surface parking areas and driveways. Those will filter pollutants as well as reduce overall stormwater runoff.
Waxman said the corner lot "was the hole in the doughnut, and now it's going to be a terrific joint venture" with Adco American Development, a suburban retail specialist that has owned the lot since the 1960s. Adco replaced a bus and trolley garage with a Shop 'n Bag supermarket that was demolished in the 1990s.
Girard27's design comes from JKR Partners, whose principal architect, Jerry Roller, is the father of MM's Jacob Roller.
When it comes to design, "we wanted to make sure the townhome garages face inward," so that other residents of the area don't have to see them, Waxman said.
MM Partners also is building in Fairmount. One of its projects, AF Bornot Dye Works, is a redevelopment of warehouses at 1626-44 Fairmount Ave. and on the 1600 block of Melon Street.
The Dye Works converts four contiguous warehouses into 18 apartments and two high-end loft homes for sale. The 75,000-square-foot property also will have commercial and retail space, with 22 parking spaces. Construction is underway, with estimated completion in summer 2015.
Back in Brewerytown, MM Partners boasts that it has attracted more than 10 new businesses to West Girard Avenue, such as Music Box Records, Nagelberg Hardware, Girard Vet Clinic, Best in Show pet grooming, and a Bottom Dollar supermarket, which "keeps the community active and invested," Waxman said.
The developer's sweet spot for home sales is $250,000 to $400,000, Waxman said, and $600-a-month-per-bedroom rentals. But MM Partners is far from the only group developing in Brewerytown.
Westrum broke ground on 31 Brewerytown in May. The new-construction project of one- to two-bedroom apartments at North 31st and Thompson Streets is currently signing leases for $1,225 to $1,790 a month.
Westrum had already built Brewerytown Square, a development of 144 townhouses, nearby.