Normandy Real Estate Partners Buys 500,000 SF of Class A Office Space

It’s an all–Garden State deal: Two well-established commercial real estate companies based in New Jersey have just completed the sale of three Class A office properties there for a total of 500,000 square feet. Financial information on the deal was not disclosed.  Advance Realty Group, based in Bedminster, N.J., sold the Park Place campus in Florham Park, 310 Madison Avenue in Morris Township and the Branchburg Centre in Branchburg to Normandy Real Estate Partners, based in Morristown, N.J.  A prepared statement said that Advance had “achieved their investment objectives” and will redeploy the capital into the company’s pipeline of development and redevelopment projects.  Park Place consists of four Class A office buildings totaling 352,000 square feet, with amenities that include an on-site conference center, cafeteria and fitness center. Located at Park Avenue and Columbia Turnpike, the campus is only 30 minutes from New York City and is 93 percent occupied.  Kurt Padavano, Advance’s COO, told CPN that his company had bought Park Place, the former Exxon Mobil international headquarters, in August 2004 and did a gut rehab into Class A space of what had been functionally obsolete space.  Ray Cirz, managing director of Integra Realty Resources’ northern New Jersey office, told CPN that access to Route 24 is a big part of Park Place’s value. “That’s just a great Class A location.”  Cirz noted that overall office vacancies in the Morristown submarket are about 17 percent. He added that although the Class A vacancy rate is almost as high, at 16 percent, there have been several recent announcements of Class A office build-to-suits in the submarket, typically in the 200,000-square-foot range. Cirz attributes this to the lack of blocks of space of 100,000 square feet or more.  310 Madison Avenue is a three-story, 59,000-square-foot Class A medical office building that Advance had bought in February 2003, Padavano told CPN. The building was vacant at that time, he said, and “Most buyers evaluated the property as an office property.” Because the building is just down the street from Morristown Memorial Hospital, however, Advance repositioned it as medical office space. The firm also sold off a few acres at the back of the property, where age-restricted luxury condos are now under construction. The office building is currently 65 percent occupied.  Purchased by Advance in January 2005, Branchburg Centre was originally a two-story, 89,000-square-foot office with two development parcels. Normandy bought the building, whose tenants include Hewlett Packard and Johnson & Johnson, but Advance is retaining the parcels for development of for-sale and rental residential, Padavano said.   Advance has more than $2 billion of development and redevelopment projects in planning or under construction, including a 1.1 million-square-foot R&D campus at the Army’s Picatinny Arsenal and the $1 billion Harrison MetroCentre mixed-use complex.