Jewish Federation shifts real estate strategy, looks to sell 4 properties totaling 100 acres

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia owns 100 acres of properties, which it is looking to sell after selling an office building in Center City.

Jewish Federation shifts real estate strategy, looks to sell 4 properties totaling 100 acres

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia has sold its 8-story, 121.500-square-foot, office building located at 2100 Arch St. This is the first step in a larger strategic plan.

The organization has compiled a diverse real estate portfolio and is considering selling the properties or exiting the business. The nonprofit organization is currently in the initial stages of discussions with leaseholders, trying to balance their needs over the long term with the goal to sell properties.

The Jewish Federation has 100 acres of land, which is more than 600 000 square feet of space spread over four campuses in the region. These include Jewish schools and centers in Bryn Mawr and Wynnewood as well as Elkins Park, Philadelphia, and Wynnewood.

Michael Markman, who is on the board of directors of the Federation, heads the real estate committee, and is the president of Dresher's BET Investments said that the organization wanted to work with tenants sensitively while moving forward with their new strategy.

Markman stated that the Jewish Federation did not want to get into real estate. Markman said, 'It is not what we should do. Historically, that may have been what leaders thought. But it is not what we think we should do right now. Real estate isn't our core mission.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia was founded in 1901. It is a community-based organization that provides education, grants, and funding for various projects, including a food bank and aid to Israel.

The Jewish Federation sold its 2100 Arch St. property to Philadelphia developer MM Partners in exchange for $12 million. Most of the money will be put into its endowment funds. The money will help the Jewish Federation remain mission-focused and sustainable over time, and demonstrate to donors and partner organisations that it will follow sound business practices. Jewish Federation CEO Michael Balaban explained.

Balaban stated that they never intended to become landlords. We are a nonprofit that focuses on enriching people's lives. That's what we do.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia has four campuses:

Schwartz Campus

Buildings covering 212,577 sq. ft.
Includes Barrack Hebrew Academy

Mandell Education Campus

Includes Gratz College & Perelman Jewish Day School

Saligman Campus

Includes Perelman Jewish Day School, Kaiserman JCC

Feinstein Campus

Includes Federation Early Learning Services and Klein JCC

The Jewish Federation used the space in the basement of 2100 Arch St. The 250-seat auditorium was used by the organization twice a year. It was otherwise empty.

The nonprofit relocated its operations to Two Commerce Square, at 20th Street and Market Streets in August last year. Next, the nonprofit could make changes to its other real estate holdings.

If you follow a family over time, their needs will change. Balaban explained that sometimes the homes expand to accommodate children, and other times they shrink. We're looking at those properties with the same household mindset. [We] are operating to fulfill both the communal real estate and revenue needs.

Balaban stated that tenants may be able to buy properties from the Jewish Federation, or new owners might come in. Markman and Balaban said they wanted to work with tenants as well as implementing their new strategy.

Markman described it as a "total transformation" of the Jewish Federation.

Markman stated that a nonprofit organization has a difficult time making sound business decisions. It was something that our board wholeheartedly supported.