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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on March 8, 2000. All rights reserved.

Brandywine Realty and George Sowa

As an office market, Princeton Pike is bubbling. Matrix is trying

to convince RCN to build big at the former Union Camp site, Brandywine

Realty Trust has just opened a flagship building on Lenox Drive, and

a real estate investment trust, Praedium, has just bought another

of the buildings on Lenox Drive.

Brandywine’s Building 5 at 2000 Lenox Drive is the first Class A development

in Lawrenceville in years, says George Sowa, Brandywine’s regional

vice president. It is the first of three buildings that have been

approved for that corner of Lenox Drive. "With the migration of

Merrill Lynch over in Hopewell, and the Union Camp site potentially

serving as a corporate headquarters, we see continued migration further

south off of Route 1," says Sowa. He cites figures showing that

70 percent of Princeton area workers live in Bucks County or southern

New Jersey. These workers will not have to cross Route 1, he claims,

because the new building has a cafeteria and fitness center, and two

more cafeterias and a fitness center are available in the older buildings.

Sowa came to Brandywine Realty Trust in April, 1998, just after Brandywine

had bought 1 million square foot from the DKM portfolio. Sowa grew

up in Bordentown, the son of an electronics store owner, and went

to Cornell, Class of ’82, then worked for Linpro.

Rothe Johnson, a Piscataway-based firm, designed a look for Building

5 that is different from the first four buildings here. The three-story

structure has a partial brick exterior and "ribbon windows,"

windows that wrap around the building. One view overlooks a cornfield,

at least for now, and the two-story atrium lobby has a granite floor

and wood wainscoting.

"It’s a wonderful class A building equal in status to anything

going up on Alexander Road or Carnegie Center," says Tom Romano,

the leasing agent for Buschman Partners. He quotes rents at $28.50

per square foot, plus tenant electric, which is $2 to $3 below those

in the central Princeton market on Alexander Road. With Peterson’s

taking 65,000 square feet, 50,000 feet remain. (Peterson’s publishing

company should not be confused with Peterson Worldwide LLC, a legal

services firm that also has offices on Lenox Drive.)

Brandywine is a full service REIT (real estate investment trust) with

management, leasing and development capabilities, and owns 270 properties

with 19 million square feet. When it bought a good part of the portfolio

amassed by DKM, it also acquired the Capital Center at 33 West State

Street, Trenton, and 104 Windsor Center in East Windsor, plus three

of the four existing buildings on Lenox Drive.

The one building in this group that Brandywine does not own, Building

1, was until recently owned by State Farm. It has such tenants as

KPMG, American Express, Integrated Communications Corp., and EDS.

The buyer was another REIT, Praedium, and earlier this year Praedium

had purchased 1060 State Road, also a State Farm property, currently

occupied by Roper Starch (formerly Response Analysis) and Princeton

Softech (Softech plans an early move-out to University Square on Alexander

Road). Craig Eisenhart of Insignia ESG handled the portfolio for State


As for the fate of the Union Camp site, Matrix Development Group enlisted

the help of Hillier Group architects to draw up plans to present last

week; these efforts yielded preliminary approvals for an RCN headquarters

(U.S. 1, February 23). But King Interests is still focused on the

Atchley tract site in Ewing and has been successful in getting neighbor

support. No site is ahead of any other at this point, says RCN’s attorney,

Christopher Tarr.

Brandywine Realty Trust (BDN), 1009 Lenox Drive,

Building Four, Suite 106, Lawrenceville 08648. George D. Sowa,

vice president for central and southern New Jersey. 609-895-9595;

fax, 609-895-9899. Home page:

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