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MRA Group, a privately-held, multi-disciplined real estate solutions firm had a vision for a 572,000-square-foot business and research center. The Fulton team devised an innovative financing and loan solution to meet the evolving requirements.
In 2017, MRA Group, a privately-held, multi-disciplined real estate solutions firm servicing the healthcare, higher education, and life science markets, invested in the redevelopment of a large vacant office/R&D complex–Spring House Innovation Park (SHIP) in Spring House, PA. The goal was to turn the former Rohm & Haas 50-year old research campus into an innovation park for the region, which has attracted more than 50,000 people in the life sciences industry over the past several years.
MRA Group had a vision for the 572,000-square-foot business and research campus – build-to-suit laboratories, state-of-the-art research and development facilities, Class A office and co-working space, world-class amenities, and reliable eco-efficient infrastructure.
However, this vision required a complete transformation of the campus and a $150 million investment. In order to move forward with the project, MRA Group required a lending partner able to assess the opportunity and willing to take a risk on betting on the future. Given the state of the complex and the time commitment involved in the redevelopment effort, finding the right lender was proving to be a challenge.
Several banks could not see through the existing complications and commit to such an extensive development process, further extending MRA Group’s search for a committed lending partner for the long-term re-development.
In time, a mutual client introduced MRA Group to Lancaster, PA-based Fulton Bank – a bank with deep industry expertise who offered local decision making – a factor that proved to be critical to the success of SHIP.
Fulton Bank was ready, willing and able to take on the SHIP project and shared MRA Group’s vision for the future life science hub, along with its decision to incorporate state-of-the-art energy-efficient infrastructure and equipment throughout the complex.
The Fulton team dedicated their time, talent and resources to the development process, which required numerous on-site visits, multiple decision makers, flexibility and creativity–to devise an innovative financing and loan solution to meet the evolving requirements of the campus and to address MRA Group’s short and long-term funding needs.
And then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, slowing the three-phase redevelopment schedule to a trickle. Fulton Bank remained engaged throughout the crisis and worked closely with MRA Group to navigate the financing challenges and overall uncertainty as a result of the pandemic.
“We trusted Fulton throughout this entire process,” said Larry Stuardi, president and owner of MRA Group. “From the start, Fulton believed in our vision for this innovative hub and took a risk on us given the situation. Throughout the entire process, their team had the focus, capacity and flexibility in a financing partner that we needed to succeed.”
Today, SHIP is open for innovation. More than half of MRA Group’s planned renovations for the site are complete with some of the nation’s top life science companies as tenants, including AnPac Bio, Clinlogix, AgroFresh, Cognizance Biomarkers, Evol Science, and most recently, Thomas Jefferson University.
With Fulton’s guidance and support, MRA Group is well on its way to successfully re-developing the Spring House Innovation Park into the premier eco-efficient life-science Campus it envisioned.
Upon completion, the dynamic, multi-faceted innovation campus will offer over 572,000 square feet of world-class office space and laboratories, along with work/stay/play lifestyle amenities, such as: walking trails, fitness center, childcare, brew pub and restaurant, conference center, and a boutique hotel (pending zoning approvals) for an upgraded workplace experience.
MRA Group (MRA), based in Horsham, PA, was founded in 1991 and is a privately-held, multi-disciplined real estate solutions firm servicing the healthcare, higher education and life science markets. The company has secured a reputation as one of the mid-Atlantic region’s most respected real estate firms and pride itself on maintaining the same high level of integrity and excellence that led to that recognition.
View and download the PDF detailing the MRA Group story.