Merrill Lynch’s New Jersey Campus Commands $95M

American Real Estate Partners and Independencia Asset Management have sold the three-building property they had owned since 2013.
1100-1200 American Blvd. Image courtesy of American Real Estate Partners

American Real Estate Partners in collaboration with Independencia Asset Management have sold Merrill Lynch’s corporate campus in Hopewell Township, N.J., for $95 million. The asset comprises three Class A office buildings totaling 380,417 square feet.

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Located at 1100-1200 American Blvd., the property was built in 2000 as Merrill Lynch’s corporate campus. Amenities include a high-quality technology infrastructure, meeting and conference space and fitness and cafeteria options, AREP told Commercial Property Executive.

The office space is fully leased to Merrill Lynch, which was acquired by Bank of America in 2008, until November 2024, AREP also told CPE. With a reliable tenant, AREP and Independencia acquired the office campus in 2013. Following the sale, AREP will continue to lease and manage 1100-1200 American as part of the agreement. Cushman & Wakefield was the exclusive agent for the transaction.

According to David Bernhaut, executive vice chairman of Cushman & Wakefield’s Capital Markets Group, the corporate campus is situated in the fifth-largest market in the U.S., between New York City and Philadelphia. AREP also broke ground on a 260,000-square-foot office tower in a Philadelphia suburb alongside its development partners, Oliver Tyrone Pulver Corp. and Partners Group. Bernhaut added in his prepared statement that 1100-1200 American was a quality property with a long-term tenant which kept the offices well-maintained over the years.

Negative absorption in North and Central Jersey

The neighborhood is part of New Jersey’s Princeton/Route 1 Corridor submarket that has seen a 20 percent increase in Class A asking rents since 2004, according to AREP. However, the overall North and Central New Jersey office market is suffering due to the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to CBRE’s first quarter report of 2020.

According to the report, net absorption of North and Central New Jersey hit a negative 252,000 square feet and ended the momentum of three previous quarters of positive absorption. Alongside the negative absorption, the market’s availability rate increased to more than 19 percent. Looking at just Central New Jersey, the submarket saw a 60 percent increase in leasing activity totaling 502,000 square feet and registered a positive net absorption of 175,000 square feet.

Brian Katz, president & co-founder of AREP, said in prepared remarks that all parties were able to get the transaction done despite operating in the most complicated environment they’ve experienced.