Jack Moran and Ray Bowers

Mark and Alan Landis

Julia Bowers Coale

William King

Raye Landis

Alan Landis

Landis Bios

Corrections or additions?

This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the October 9, 2002

edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Carnegie Center at 20: Still a Work in Progress

Every time the Carnegie Center wins another national

award, people around Princeton nod their heads and say "We knew

that." It is one of the first, if not the first office campus

where pedestrians rule and cars are relegated to the perimeter. Each

cluster of buildings is imbued with a sense of place, and the

landscape

— enhanced by three-dimensional art — delights the eye.

Unlike the Forrestal Center to the north, which was developed by

Princeton

University, the Carnegie Center was not backed by a deep pocketed

institution, and this may have been its salvation. Unencumbered by

bureaucracy, the Carnegie developers fulfilled their goal of improving

on Forrestal with their overarching master plan that, 20 years later,

is still "in progress." The nearly 600-acre Carnegie Center

property extends roughly from Alexander Road to Meadow Road on both

sides of Route 1, and the latest of its buildings will be another

suites hotel. Yet the financing for this very ambitious plan has had

tumultuous highs and lows, and when the buildings were sold in 1998

for a net profit of 250 percent, not all the investors walked away

whole.

Top Of Page
Jack Moran and Ray Bowers

The cast of characters begins with Jack Moran, who as vice president

of Princeton University had been responsible for the early development

of the Forrestal Center, and Ray Bowers, of Bowers Construction and

Lewis C. Bowers & Sons. (Moran died in 1983 and Bowers in 1996). Moran

was frustrated with how the Forrestal Center was turning out, and

when he left the university he joined the Bowers companies and Larry

Keller (of Keller Dodds Woodworth on Nassau Street) to buy the first

54-acre parcel for the Carnegie Center. They wanted to launch an

office

park that was qualitatively superior to Forrestal.

But for most people the Carnegie Center name is associated with the

Landis brothers — Mark Landis, an initial investor; Alan Landis,

the developer; and Micky Landis, who runs the place now for Boston

Properties, the current owner of most of the buildings.

The story of how Bowers and Landis came to be partners is a

hairs-breadth

tale. In 1979, when Bowers bought the first parcel, he was also

simultaneously

closing on the sale of 10 acres for Carnegie 101 with Scottish & York,

a Canadian insurance company represented by Mark Landis. "I had

called Bob Hillier to ask if he was interested in doing a `build to

suit’ on his property on Alexander Road, but he had referred me to

Ray Bowers," says Landis. "I worked out a deal with Jack and

Ray for us to purchase land for Carnegie 101."

Additional investment was scheduled to come from a group put together

by the William Sword company on Chambers Street but, the story goes,

one of the Sword investors wanted to change the $1 million deal on

Friday before the Monday closing, and Bowers refused. Bill King, who

now has his own construction and development company on Nassau Street,

was working for Bowers then. "We asked Mark Landis if Scottish

& York would like to be the partner. Mark reported that the board

said no, but that he and his brother Alan would step into the deal.

In walked Alan with his check and Bowers with his check and we

redrafted

the partnership." Bowers was the general partner and Carnegie

Center Partners was the limited partner.

Top Of Page
Mark and Alan Landis

The Landis brothers put together the required $1

million,

with Mark Landis tapping the proceeds of the sale of his insurance

company to Scottish & York, Alan Landis making the bank deal, and

four New York investors (two commercial real estate professionals

and two people from Bear Stearns) taking equal shares. Alan had done

some development, including such shopping centers as Loehmann’s Plaza

on Route 18, and would represent the partnership, and Mark would

pursue

his other business interests.

"It was all done in a week to 10 days — Ray was able to buy

an additional week for the closing," says Mark. "It did not

take a rocket scientist to figure out that, when you could buy

property

on Route 1 for $25,000 an acre, and there were several hundred acres,

that it was the bargain of the century, even in 1979. That was proven

less than a year later when we sold land to the Pritzker family for

a Hyatt at $100,000 an acre and could have gotten more. But we were

anxious to launch the project and thought having a Hyatt Regency at

the corner was the right thing to get recognition and presence."

The right tenants and the right plan were what preoccupied these

investors.

Earlier that year Jack Moran and Mark Landis had flown to Boston to

meet with noted architect Hugh Stubbins to be sure that the Carnegie

Center’s approach would be architecturally superior. Hugh Stubbins

himself designed the first building, and the Stubbins firm is still

in charge of Carnegie’s master plan. As enumerated by Mark Landis

it requires:

Quality design, "not cheap commercial office

buildings."

Interesting angles and huge wrap-around windows overlooking the

landscape

are a hallmark.

Consistency of design, "so when you looked at

structures

they were not hodgepodge but something that formed a cohesive

whole."

Focus on employees, with greenways and park areas where

employees could spend leisure time walking or sitting, plus many

shared

amenities such as cafeterias, health clubs, and a day care center.

"They were relatively uncommon then. We came up with the idea

of parking on the perimeter, with the cars shielded from the road

by berms."

Following that initial purchase of 54 acres, Ray Bowers was

ready to build Carnegie 104 and also had a chance to buy the next

100 acres for the partnership. But by this time interest rates had

climbed to 18 percent, and Jack Moran had been diagnosed with a

swift-moving

terminal lung cancer. "Bowers was proud of how he and Jack had

conceived and launched this, but as Jack became ill, Bowers began

to be very nervous about how much more would be required to carry

it through to fruition, both in terms of cash and attention,"

says Landis.

"Ray Bowers looked at the risk of putting up an on-spec building

plus the $2.5 million cost of raw land and decided that development

was not his main business, that he should not take a risk that would

jeopardize his construction company," remembers King.

Top Of Page
Julia Bowers Coale

Bowers’ daughter (Julia Bowers Coale, who now has her law office on

Nassau Street in the same building as King Interests) contacted Mark

Landis in 1981 to say that her father was interested in getting out

of the partnership. "We began to negotiate a deal to buy out the

Bowers/Moran interest, and it dragged on," says Mark Landis.

"Julia

got back to me to say that she and I needed to work it out. She came

to my home and we finalized the deal that was put together by lawyers.

That’s how Alan became the general partner and we ended up owning

the Carnegie Center."

The Landises never had any doubt that they had picked the right spot.

Demographic studies showed that two thirds of the workers at the

Forrestal

Center were driving to work from the south, and almost all the rest

were coming from the east and west. As a clincher, Alan Landis talked

to the Kravco Company, developer of Quakerbridge Mall, and learned

that its first choice was the very spot that Ray Bowers had chosen,

Route 1 and Alexander Road. Only because Kravco got tired of battling

West Windsor’s resistance did it settle in Lawrence, just over the

West Windsor line.

"It was the best location and the best demographics but we weren’t

going to fight any longer," Morrie Kravitz of Kravco told Alan

Landis then. "We beat our heads to get in there, and unless you

want years of frustration, walk away,"

But by 1979, the township was looking at how development was lining

the coffers of Lawrence and Plainsboro. "In 1976 the Quakerbridge

Mall was the straw that broke township committee’s back," says

Alan. The township realized it could get significant tax dollars from

this property that was now being used as a sod farm. (It was owned

by a group of Philadelphia investors that included Jack Kelly, brother

of the late Princess Grace). The township committee (which at that

time included Doug Forrester) said yes to sewers and became more

zoning

friendly.

Top Of Page
William King

Just after Carnegie 101 was finished in 1981, King

joined

the Landis partnership. A structural engineering major at the

University

of Colorado, Class of 1974, he had taken night classes to earn an

MBA in finance from the Wharton School. Bowers had been his mentor

for seven years, helping him to use his engineering training to learn

the real estate business and develop his abilities in design. Bowers

even involved King in volunteer work for the Princeton YMCA, a cause

to which Bowers and his cohorts were devoted. "They brought in

their sons to pass the baton, and Ray brought me in. If there was

one key thing that helped me transfer my degree from college to the

workplace, it was Ray Bowers," says King.

"Instead of being in charge of construction on the Bowers side,

Bowers became the company working for us on the Landis side,"

says King. "It was an easy transition." From 1981 to 1996

King was in charge of all the building at the Carnegie Center. At

first the team consisted only of Alan Landis, King, and Roger

Steinhardt

(who did the leasing and marketing) plus a receptionist in a cubicled

office in Carnegie 101.

The team stayed surprisingly small. "We were a small group of

individuals — just 38 or 40 people — with projects that

warranted

an institution," says King. In addition to the Carnegie Center,

the group also worked on the Tower Center in New Brunswick. "I

don’t think you could do a project like that with that structure

today.

Each building was financed separately."

"We had separate responsibilities, but we also pitched in for

each other," says King. "If Alan was away and there was a

bankers’ meeting, I would go. It wasn’t above anybody to roll up your

sleeves and get something done. When you lead by example, everybody

else pitches in."

The first four buildings — the Hyatt and Carnegie 101, 103, and

104 — open onto a courtyard with a circular brick and cobblestone

drive. William Wolfe, then of Fulmer, Bowers and Wolfe, now with his

own firm at Research Park, designed 103, 104, and 105. "We tried

to make the 100 series center as urban a space as it could be, because

we were starting with a soybean field on the outer reaches of

Princeton,"

says Wolfe. "But we realized that a good strategy for four

buildings

was not a good strategy for 20 buildings."

Carnegie 105 was added to the plan as a transition from internal

access

drives to the "loop road" system. It is "landmarked"

with a big clock that terminates the axis of the brick drive and

begins

the pedestrian system. At first it was the headquarters for Bell

Atlanticom,

and it is occupied now by another telecommunications firm, RCN.

By 1986 most of the 200 series had been built (Carnegie

210, 212, 214, and 202, in that order), and in the next two years

the landscaping was accomplished: it won the Urban Land Institute

Award in 1990. Philadelphia-based landscape architect Robert Hanna

designed the famous Greenway, with its water lilies and swans, arched

bridges and weeping willows. The greenways represent dedicated open

space easements for use by township residents and are indeed a

favorite

spot for wedding pictures and prom parties. The plan also calls for

a few hundred acres of perimeter greenbelt that will never be

developed.

In the summer of 1988 the Landises hosted the grand opening of the

Carnegie Greenway complete with a sculpture garden. The family had

always had an appreciation for the arts — the table by wood

sculptor

Isamu Noguchi in Alan Landis’ corner suite attested to that —

but to spend what seemed like a lot of money on art for a privately

owned development was unusual.

Top Of Page
Raye Landis

The first sculptures were provided on consignment, some obtained from

the Johnson Atelier, some through Raye Landis, Alan’s mother. In

addition

to marrying Morris Landis (who had an accounting business), and

raising

six children (Mark, Alan, Diana, Eileen, Micky, and an adopted son,

Tefura from Ethiopia), Raye Landis had gone to college as an adult

and opened her own art dealership. More than half of the sculptures

on display then are now permanent fixtures at the center.

The next two years, from 1989 to 1991, would test the tenacity of

Carnegie Center Partners. After a decade of frantic building —

some say more buildings were erected in the 1980s than in the previous

50 years — 1987’s Black October halted development. Scott Toombs

would lose control of his prized Forrestal Village, and by 1989 nearly

every industry was feeling the full effects of a recession.

"Everyone always looks at the accolades and the glamour of being

a developer," says King, "but to hold onto Carnegie Center

in the terrible years was very painful. There weren’t many people

interested in accolades in those years."

Top Of Page
Alan Landis

Alan Landis says his difficulties stemmed from the cash flow problems

of his tenants plus the center’s inability to quickly replace major

tenants (including Educational Testing Service and Bristol Myers

Squibb)

who had space built for them elsewhere. "The years from 1989 to

1994 were miserable," he remembers. "I had been through two

earlier recessions in the early ’70s and early ’80s."

"But I’m competitive. Most of our lenders were in Hartford, and

if I took 10 trips I took 100 trips to sit down with the institutions

and be open and honest with them, to say that we felt we were doing

it right. That we had dedicated, hard working people who were best

prepared to work through this period and that the period would end,

just like the period we are in now will end. We feel like quality

will win out, and it won out then."

Carnegie Center was so behind on its taxes that West Windsor held

an auction, and a township farmer and landowner stepped forward to

buy the tax liens. In 1992 Landis filed voluntary Chapter 11

petitions,

first for 214 Carnegie Center, and then for 105, 210, and 211. These

actions allowed him to maintain ownership and control of the buildings

and continue services unabated while working with his financiers to

restructure debt.

By 1993 Carnegie 214 was out from under the bankruptcy blanket but

one more building had gone into Chapter 11. The light at the end of

this tunnel: the architectural firm CUH2A signing a 10-year-lease

on 211 Carnegie Center that had been vacant for 18 months, and Covance

(then Besselaar) moving to 210 Carnegie Center. Enticing Besselaar

from the Forrestal Center to 210 came at a price: Alan Landis had

to relinquish his corner suite that looked out onto the Carnegie

Greenway.

Alan Landis lost his office, but Mark Landis and two of the New York

partners got wiped out of their investment during this downturn.

"It

was a series of capital calls that proved to be devastating,"

says Mark Landis. "It hurts to lose your entire equity investment

and get nothing back for it. I invested $6 million in the Carnegie

Center and just couldn’t put in any more."

"But I am very proud of Alan’s success," says Mark. "He

worked very hard, was very committed, and was the one who managed

the process. It is not his fault that the real estate market cratered

in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and lots of other people were

devastated

by the market. He didn’t lose anything. That is a tribute to his great

negotiating skill. With very thoughtful and diligent planning he found

a way to preserve Carnegie Center, and when the market turned again

he was able to move it forward and achieve the great value that we

all hoped for when we originally started."

"Luckily my other businesses have done well and I have come out

better than I ever imagined," says Mark. At the time of the

recession,

from 1987 to 1995, he had a business called Health Information

Technologies,

located at Canal Pointe, and it was this business that required his

cash during Carnegie Center’s down times.

Top Of Page
Landis Bios

Mark Landis can be classified as a serial entrepreneur.

He went to the Hun School and graduated from Cornell in 1963, followed

by law school at Penn and the founding of the insurance business that

he sold to Scottish & York International Insurance. In the early 1980s

he was with Kroll Associates in New York and Boca Raton-based Casi,

which developed electronic security access control systems. In 1995

he was CEO of an electronic security services and products business

known as Security Technologies Group, and he sold that to Siemens

just a year ago. Now he lives in Florida and is president of security

for Siemens North America.

Like Mark, Alan went to the Hun School and Cornell but finished at

New York University in 1965. From 1967 to 1979 he built a half dozen

projects in central New Jersey, and he was directly involved in the

Carnegie Center from 1979 to 1998. He also developed the Tower Center

in East Brunswick but divested himself of a separate investment in

Nassau Park during the downturn. After the bankruptcy turmoil at the

Carnegie Center he had some big successes — such as attracting

Raytheon to the center and influencing the state to get busy on the

Meadow Road bypass. Occupancy rates and prices at the Carnegie Center

have always led the market.

His wife Linda, who had been the first female partner at Bear Stearns,

joined the Landis real estate company in 1986-’87. Their two grown

children are following in their parents’ footsteps: their son is in

real estate and their daughter works for Bear Stearns. In the ugly

1990s, just before Alan’s 50th birthday, Linda took out a family

lifetime

membership in a spa resort in New England and Alan — who insists

that he has always been active and athletic — started to watch

his diet more carefully.

Alan Landis will quietly celebrate his 60th birthday

next week. Since 1998, when he sold the Carnegie buildings to Mort

Zuckerman’s Boston Properties, he has been working from an office

in New York and has been removed from the day-to-day business at the

Carnegie Center. The sale included 101, 104, 105, 210, 211, 212, 214,

202, 504, 506, 508, and two buildings under construction — 510

and the Covance building. The partners had made the initial investment

of a little over $1 million, and along the way they had put in a total

of $37 million in cash. They had $220 million in debt.

So three of the original six partners, Alan Landis and the two silent

partners from Bear Stearns, ended up with a net profit of $130

million.

They still own all the Carnegie Center land on both sides of Route

1, which is worth $60 million, and Zuckerman paid them $350 million.

"Our total investment was increased by 250 percent over almost

20 years," says Landis. "Though others offered substantially

more money, Boston Properties agreed to hire all my people."

Micky Landis, who had joined the company in 1996, is now senior vice

president and regional manager of Boston Properties. And Alan Landis

continues to develop 2 million more square feet that remain on the

master plan. For instance, King Interests is putting together a

Marriott

Suites hotel for Carnegie West.

Landis still has one more very grand vision for the Carnegie Center,

a part that is still planted in corn. Picture yourself turning off

of Route 1 to drive past Fleet Bank. At the end of the road you turn

right for the 500 series or left for the daycare center, the post

office, or Roszel Road. Straight ahead of you, in the corn field is

what has been mapped out to be the Crown Jewel of this center, the

400 series. "It will be the centerpiece, the grand entrance into

the complex, with a promenade and fountains," says Landis. "I

would love to see the whole 400 series completed so the spine of the

center — the road from 100 to 500 — can finally be completed.

I don’t know if it will be 10 more years or 20."


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