Coming Soon to 4301: Acutech, eComServer, Bowne

Ikon Office Solutions: Current Tenant

Dayton Expansion: AT&T

Teaching Technology: Hands-On for Kids

Deaths

Corrections or additions?

This article by Barbara Fox was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on July 28,

1999. All rights reserved.

Corporate Office Properties Trust Buys Building

Another long-languishing building is now full. The

property directly across from Dow Jones, at 4301 Route 1 South, had

never been at capacity since it was built 12 years ago. The 61,330

square-foot Princeton Executive Campus has just been bought for $6

million by Corporate Office Properties Trust and will have three new

tenants come September — Bowne, AcuTech Consulting, and eComserver

Inc. Bowne is a financial publisher new to Princeton, while AcuTech

and eComServer are expanding from Forrestal Village. The building

is now the corporate headquarters for a publicly-held firm, Guest

Supply (GSY), which designs, markets, and manufactures hotel amenities

and cleaning supplies. The nation’s second largest copy machine company,

Ikon Office Services, is among the other three current tenants.

Prospects for Princeton Executive Campus had sagged during the early

1990s, perhaps because it did not have a Princeton address. It was

70 percent vacant in 1996 when the developer, the Punia Company, sold

it to Fox River Real Estate Holdings.

COPT, a Philadelphia-based REIT (http://www.copt.com), formerly

operated as the Shidler Group. It now owns 13 properties (including

the old IBM complex in Dayton) in the Princeton market, a total of

725,000 square feet. "We acquired Princeton Executive Campus for

$98 per square foot, which is 30 percent below replacement cost,"

says Rand Griffin, president and COO of COPT, "and the property

offers significant future upside due to its below market leases."

John Buschman and Tom Romano of Buschman Partners represented both

buyer and seller.

Current tenants (such as lawyer Alan B. Zublatt and the New Jersey

Foster Parents Association) are paying rent in the mid teens. Now

that the building is fully leased, new tenants are paying in the low

$20s, says a COPT spokesperson. Another plus is the announcement that

this building will be near to — but not in the path of — I-92.

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Coming Soon to 4301: Acutech, eComServer, Bowne

AcuTech Consulting Inc. , 116 Village Boulevard,

Suite 200, Princeton 08540-5799. Larry Aleksandrich, group manager.

609-951-2211; fax, 609-951-2281. Home page: http://www.acutech-consulting.com.

The consulting company is moving to 3,800 square feet at Princeton

Executive Center. It provides consulting, training, and software services

for state and federal process safety and risk management regulation

compliance. It is a value-added reseller of five software product

lines for risk management and process safety. For instance, Release

Rate is a Windows tool that calculates discharge rates based on accidental

releases of stored toxic or flammable materials from process equipment

and piping.

eComServer Inc., 32 Franklin Corner Road, Lawrenceville

08648. 609-219-0550; fax, 609-951-2240. Home page: http://www.ecomserver.com.

This firm moved from Forrestal Village to temporary quarters on Franklin

Corner Road but plans to move to 10,000 square feet at Princeton Executive

Campus by early September and grow from 30 to 80 employees. The recruiting

page of its website features an offer of assistance with immigration

forms and obtaining green cards.

Raj K. Salgam, the CEO, played a key role in the growth of startup

DB-Tech Inc. (now known as WebSci Technologies) on Route 1 North.

Nixon Patel, president and CTO, had worked for IBM but also founded

Objectware Consulting Inc. and co-founded Global Consultants Inc.,

a corporate resource and solutions provider company.

For its middleware — enabling software that operates between the

operating system and the end-user — eComServer uses XML markup

languages, among others, and partners with major software firms. One

product under development is a powerful unconventional search engine,

called Wormhole, that is scheduled to undergo its beta test in September.

Bowne & Co., 345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014,

212-886-0614. Home page: http://www.bowne.com

This venerable financial publisher will send to Princeton a small

group of programmers, supporting litigation and mutual funds programs.

"We will see what we will do after that," says William Coote,

the treasurer.

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Ikon Office Solutions: Current Tenant

Ikon Document Service, 4301 Route 1 South, Princeton

Executive Campus, Suite 125, Box 366, Monmouth Junction 08852. Jim

Bocchino, managing partner. 609-720-1622; fax, 609-720-1624.

Ikon Office Solutions (IKN), 4301 Route 1 South,

Princeton Executive Campus Suite 125, Monmouth Junction 08852. 973-882-1989.

Home page: http://www.ikon.com.

Founded in 1965 by Tink (Tinkham) Veale as a specialty manufacturing

company called Alco Standard Corporation, this firm went public the

same year. It moved into various fields — chemicals, healthcare,

and wine and spirits, and by 1997 it had sold off or spun off all

companies but two. Its paper distribution firm, Unisource Worldwide,

was sold to Georgia Pacific. Meanwhile, Alco bought a couple hundred

office machine distribution companies and changed its name to Ikon

Office Solutions, trading on the New York Stock Exchange as IKN. Now

it offers office equipment and facilities management plus computer

networking. Its subsidiary, Ikon Document Services takes charge of

producing, moving, and filing documents.

James Forese is president and CEO of Ikon Office Solutions, which

employs 250 people in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and 40,000 employees

in 1,000 locations worldwide.

"The difference between an Ikon and a Xerox is that Ikon partners

with a lot of different vendors," says a spokesperson, who claims

Ikon is second only to Xerox in sales for office machines and is the

number one distributor of Canon products in the United States. It

is also an authorized vendor for Ricoh, Oce, and Muratec.

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Dayton Expansion: AT&T

In Dayton COPT has a gilt-edged tenant, AT&T, which

is gobbling up space as fast as possible. The complex here is known

as Princeton Technology Center, but those who have been around for

awhile will remember when it was an IBM punch card factory. Earlier

this year COPT bought an adjoining property, Rhone Poulenc’s warehouse.

In 1995 Clay Hamlin bought the 342,000-foot Princeton Technology Center

as corporate surplus for the Shidler Group (now part of COPT). The

complex has three buildings on 65 square miles at 429 Ridge Road.

Staten Island-based Teleport Communications took an initial 40,000

square feet here and grew rapidly. AT&T bought Teleport and that entire

complex now houses AT&T Local Services.

COPT paid $2.1 million for Rhone Poulenc’s property, a former chemical

manufacturing plant and regional sales office for its surfactants

and specialties business group. COPT will put another $7 million into

renovations there. Buschman Partners and CB Richard Ellis represented

the buyer and seller, respectively. KSS Architecture of Witherspoon

Street is rehabbing the building inside and out, with GSA Construction

as the builder and Schoor DePalma for engineering design.

— Barbara Fox

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Teaching Technology: Hands-On for Kids

Kids don’t learn by subject area but by experience,

says Tony Gaule. They don’t come home and say "we studied opposing

forces." Instead, it’s "I built a bridge today."

Gaule, an Irishman who spent the first part of his career working

at Lenox, aims to add the fun of model-making and the excitement of

discovery to science classrooms. He moved the American headquarters

of Technology Teaching Systems from a home office to Everett Drive

in May. Based in the United Kingdom, it creates and distributes educational

materials covering hands-on science and design technology for elementary

and middle schools.

"The approach has taken off around the country," says Gaule.

To learn by doing is an integrated approach to problem solving: First

the students design a solution to the problem, then they make the

solution.

A typical problem: Take a card, dowel rods, spools, paper towel tubes,

tape, glue, and scissors. Build a wheeled vehicle with carrying capacity

and tipping function.

Another series of problems features carnival rides such as ferris

wheels, swings, and whirligigs. To make a merry-go-round from a yogurt

cup and a paper plate, fix a plate to rotate on a toilet paper tube

and fashion milk cartons into the shape of passenger seats.

Based in the United Kingdom, the firm has three staff members in Princeton,

several sales representatives around the country, and a sister company

in Canada. Kits range in cost from under $5 to several hundred dollars;

materials are manufactured around the world and assembled in several

locations in Canada and the United States. Kits are being sold directly

to school districts, at conventions, and most recently through direct

mail.

Gaule insists that though many publishing companies offer hands-on

science curricula, no one occupies his technology niche. "The

concept of technology is real-world problem solving," says Gaule.

"We are selling products that will give the kids the skills they

need when they get into high school. We are seeing great positive

reaction from high school science teachers for using it as a feeder

system."

Gaule is working with the International Technical Education Association

(ITEA) on NASA’s program called Technology for All Americans, trying

to define standards. He is also working with such early adapting states

as New York, which is in the second year of a five-year project to

enhance its math, science, and technology curriculum. "We expect

that when national standards are adopted next March, more and more

states will come forward."

It’s no accident that this company is based in the United Kingdom,

known for its early work in integrating learning with hands-on activities,

and that it has a branch in Canada. The Canadian market is more mature

than the American market, more cross-curricular, says Gaule. "We

don’t expect to get rich quick."

The company also provides materials and trainers for teacher workshops.

"What we have that others don’t is the ability to go in and develop

not just tools and materials, but programs for teachers to roll out

and implement design technology. We run workshops. We teach districts

to run workshops. They in turn roll it out to teachers," says

Gaule.

At age six Gaule had his own first experience with technology education.

He grew up in Dublin, where his Madrid-born mother and his Irish father

had an industrial parts distribution business. His father, who was

trained as an engineer, brought home an electric train set. "I’d

be putting in a round track, and he’d be saying, let’s put an obstacle

there, and find a way to put the track around it or under it or over

it." After graduating from the University of Dublin in 1983 he

came to the U.S., earning an MBA from Rider while working for Lenox

for 10 years as an inventory manager. He is married to an accountant

at Schering Plough.

The company’s kits may resemble home-spun versions of an Erector set,

but they are not something you will want to buy to keep your child

busy during the summer — unless you are willing to sit at the

kitchen table and be your child’s teaching partner. "We would

like to explore the after-school program market or the home schooling

market, but it would need a very conscientious and a very forward

thinking parent to sit down and do it," says Gaule, "It’s

not a `here’s the pieces’ project."

Teachers can buy the $7 to $9 kits with all the materials needed,

including special hack saws that don’t cut little hands, or they can

buy the workbooks and assemble the materials themselves. "Sometimes

teachers don’t have the funds and need to improvise," says Gaule.

One $13 kit in the "wheels" series has enough wood, wheels,

and paper supplies for an entire class to build a land yacht. He will

work with a particular school district to adapt kits for specific

needs. "On the tip of Long Island they implement the curriculum

with a lot of work on lighthouses," says Gaule. One kit on lighthouses,

coming up.

Technology Teaching Systems Inc., 39 Everett Drive,

Building D, Princeton Junction 08550-5307. Tony Gaule, general manager.

609-716-1500; fax, 800-679-0802. Home page: http://www.tts-group.com.

Top Of Page
Deaths

Robert H. Howe, 66, on July 16. He was an analyst at Princeton

Economic Institute at 214 Carnegie Center.

James J. Bloor, 58, on July 19. He owned Old Benchmark

Realty and had been a police officer with Princeton Borough and Washington

Township.

Peter A. Bordes, 71, on July 19. He founded Greater Media

Inc. in East Brunswick.

David Ogilvy, 88, on July 21. After working as a market

researcher in Princeton he founded Ogilvy & Mather in 1948.

Robert C. Kascik, 63, on July 22. He had been the service

manager of Princeton Nassau Conover Motor Co.

Marianne Pasley, 48, on July 22. She was a jewelry designer

and had worked at Firestone Library.

Alan Karcher, 56, on July 26. He had been chairman of

the Mercer County Democratic Party and state assembly speaker, and

he wrote "New Jersey’s Municipal Madness" (U.S. 1, February

17).


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