The Ashforth Co., based in Stamford, Conn., has expanded its Philadelphia presence by purchasing a majority interest in the 982,000 sq. ft. 1818 Market Street in a joint venture with GE Asset Management. The purchase price was estimated at $105 million.

This marks Ashforth’s second significant investment in the metropolitan Philadelphia market, following the company’s acquisition of the Valley Forge Office Center in Wayne, Pa., in fall 2000.

The acquisition is part of the company’s nationwide investment initiative launched in 2000 that targeted several undervalued markets with significant potential for growth, including San Diego, Boston and Seattle. Philadelphia was identified because of its strategic location along the Northeast corridor, strong transportation and education systems and an expanding corporate profile, according to Thomas Ashoforth, senior vice president of investments.

Ashforth plans a $5 million renovation program to update the building, scheduled for completion by year-end 2003.