Hilco breaks ground on massive Philadelphia Bellwether District project

Taps JLL to lease entire 14-million-square-foot redevelopment project

Hilco Breaks Ground on Bellwether District Project
Hilco Redevelopment Partners' Melissa Schrock and renderings of plans for the project in Philadelphia's Bellwether District (Hilco Redevelopment Partners)

A few years after picking up a huge project through a bankrtupcy sale, Chicago-based Hilco Redevelopment Partners has initiated the first phase of vertical construction in its 1,300-acre, 14-million-square-foot Bellwether District redevelopment project in Philadelphia.

Simultaneously, JLL announced Hilco has retained the brokerage to lease the entire high-tech and logistics project, according to a press release.

The site — which was Philadelphia’s largest available commercial property — was purchased by Hilco out of bankruptcy in 2020 for $240 million from Philadelphia Energy Solutions, ending the parcel’s 150-year use as a petroleum refinery, according to the Inquirer.

At the time of the site’s sale, Hilco had previously acquired and built warehouses on Boston and New Jersey parcels that formerly had power plants on them. It had done a similar project in Baltimore on the site of a former steel mill, the Inquirer said.

The initial phase will focus on the development of multi-modal distribution and fulfillment centers spanning over 1 million square feet, with two LEED-certified buildings, one about 326,000 square feet, the other 727,000 square feet.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Site work is expected to continue until 2024, with the completion of vertical construction anticipated by early 2025, according to the release.

The Bellwether District, which is three miles from Philadelphia’s Center City District, aims to cater to a diverse range of industries, including e-commerce, food and logistics firms. The development seeks to offer distribution centers and warehouses for businesses wanting a foothold in the Philadelphia market.

Furthermore, the project offers business incentives, including a Keystone Opportunity Zone designation, real estate tax abatements through a PILOT program, and the property’s federal Foreign Trade Zone status, all of which are expected to foster economic growth and investment in the region.

The JLL team leading the industrial leasing effort includes Robert Kossar, Nate Demetsky, Larry Maister and Kyle Lockard. JLL’s David Knee, Jeff Lockard and Ignatius Armenia are providing regional support. 

The JLL team leading the Innovation Campus leasing effort includes Ron Cariola, Tyler Vandergrift and Joe Colletti.