Commercial leasing activity continues to pop up in central New Jersey. Recent third-quarter reports by several commercial real estate management companies in the area point (if cautiously) to a mild uptick in the commercial picture (see U.S. 1, August 11), and a recent round of lease signings between Princeton and Somerset suggest the area has weathered most of its economic troubles.
Navigant Consulting, based at 1009 Lenox Drive, has just signed on for 16,000 square feet at 240 Princeton Avenue in Hamilton’s American Metro Center. According to Daniel Ackerman, senior director of leasing at Lincoln Equities Group, the Hackensack-based agency that represented landlord Meritage Properties in the transaction, Navigant’s new space will be in addition to its offices in Lawrenceville.
The move brings American Metro Center to 80 percent occupancy. UGL-Equis Corp. represented Navigant in the transaction.
Meritage founder Andrew Nathan said in a statement that American Metro Center’s leasing momentum during the first half of 2010 has bucked the perception of a down office market. Since January, Meritage has signed five new leases at American Metro, totaling 75,000 square feet. Ackerman declined to provide the names of the companies.
American Metro Center is a 485,000-square-foot, three-building multi-tenanted Class A office complex adjacent to the Hamilton train station.
North of Princeton, where the office market is just now getting its feet back beneath itself, Newmark Knight Frank has completed the sale of 2000 Cornwall Road in Monmouth Junction, to a private investor. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed, but NKF stated that the investor bought the 100,000-square-foot office building for a good price.
“Cornwall attracted a significant number of offers,” said Jackie Chesler of NKF’s Rutherford office, who was part of the team that represented seller LNR Partners in the deal. Chesler also said the buyer acquired the property “below replacement cost,” meaning it is likely to sell for a profit.
Just outside the Princeton market in Somerset, industrial activity is looking up for the first time in two years. DCT Industrial Trust Inc., which manages industrial properties, has just claimed 377,000 square feet of industrial space by renewing a 125,625-square-foot lease with Engineered Arresting Systems (ESCO) and signing two new leases for an additional 251,361 square feet in two new leases for its New Jersey properties. ESCO, headquartered in Aston, Pennsylvania, is the world’s top maker of systems meant to arrest and stop landing aircraft on carriers and short runways.
Also, MX Solar, the U.S. division of an Italian-based photovoltaic solar panel manufacturer, has leased an entire 138,200-square-foot bulk distribution building at 2301 Cottontail Lane in Somerset. Actavis, the U.S. subsidiary of the world’s fourth-largest generic pharmaceutical manufacturer, took 113,161 square feet at 47 Brunswick in Edison for a packaging and distribution center.
Chuck Fern and Joel Lubin of Jones Lang LaSalle represented MX Solar, which plans to use the space as a distribution point to domestic and European markets. Ron Ganter of Cushman & Wakefield represented Actavis, while Lubin and Fern negotiated for the REIT.