Marcus Partners Sells New Jersey Office Property for $50M

The company bought 44 Whippany in Morristown, N.J., in 2017 for less than $22 million and completed a $7 million capital improvement plan that year.
44 Whippany. Image courtesy of Marcus Partners

Liberty Properties LLC, an Opal Holdings Group affiliate, has acquired 44 Whippany, a 232,000-square-foot Class A office property in Morristown, N.J., from Marcus Partners for $50 million.

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Marcus Partners, a Boston-based real estate investment, development and management firm with New York City and Washington, D.C., regional offices, purchased the property at 44 Whippany Road in March 2017 for $21.6 million and completed a $7 million capital improvement plan that year. The company added new lobby and common area finishes, a Starbucks-branded, full-service café and 95-seat conference center. The fitness center was completely upgraded with new LifeFitness and Peloton equipment. Major façade improvements included targeted floor-to-ceiling glass installations, new third-floor terraces, new boilers and third-floor HVAC. Marcus Partners also expanded and repaved surface parking areas, added patio installations, as well as new landscaping and property signage. Built in 1986, the property had an earlier renovation in 2011.

David Fiore, principal and New York regional director for Marcus Partners, said in a prepared statement 44 Whippany was an example of a successful value-add strategy enabled by the firm’s in-house vertical integration. He noted the firm had leased 140,000 square feet of space to new tenants within six months of the upgrade completion, increasing occupancy from 47 percent to 97 percent.

In September 2018, Cushman & Wakefield, the exclusive leasing agent for the property at that time, announced four new leases including Alvogen Pharma US Inc., taking 84,609 square feet; Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan, 15,404 square feet; Orloff, Lowenbach, Stifelman & Siegel PA, 14,658 square feet; and an undisclosed tenant that took 21,681 square feet. Other tenants include Executive Health Group; Aon; Donahue, Hagan, Klein & Weisberg; and OneBeacon Accident Group, according to Yardi Matrix data.

JLL Capital Markets represented both Marcus Partners and Liberty Properties LLC in the transaction. The team included Jose Cruz, senior managing director and co-head of the New Jersey Capital Markets office; Kevin O’Hearn, senior managing director; Stephen Simonelli; and Michael Oliver. All four members were formerly with HFF and represented the seller of 44 Whippany in 2017 when Marcus Partners acquired the property.

Recent dispositions

Last month, an affiliate of Marcus Partners sold a 284,333-square-foot office building in Falls Church, Va., to Vanderbilt Properties for $87.5 million. Located at 3170 & 3180 Fairview Park, it was the first DC-area property to hit the marketplace and be sold during the pandemic, according to NKF, which brokered the transaction. Marcus Partners had also renovated the Virginia asset, adding more than 25,000 square feet of amenity space.

In August, a venture including affiliates of Marcus Partners and The Davis Cos. sold Reservoir Woods East, an office and laboratory complex in Waltham, Mass., to an unidentified buyer for $330 million.