Trenton boasts a “new” office building, a three-story, 45,000 square foot structure located at 16 West Front Street, one block from the State House and the Lafayette Yard Marriott. Formerly occupied by the state department of pensions, it had been vacant for 10 years and was up for foreclosure. Owner Sibte I. Kazmi outbid a developer who wanted to build a parking deck with retail space on the first floor. Kazmi plans a grand opening for Wednesday, November 29, from 10 to noon.

Three landlords in that area of Trenton are also tenant hunting: the New Jersey State League of Municipalities (which will move in December to the historically restored 222 West State Street), Aegis Properties, (which needs to lease 14,000 square feet at 50 West Street, space formerly occupied by the Journal Register), and Matrix (which has two vacant floors in its new building at 32 East Front Street, where Wachovia has its headquarters).

Additional development is under way. For instance, former senator Robert Torricelli is renovating 41 West State Street and has rights to the Caiola building at West Front and South Warren streets.

“The Badri property straddles locations, between the State House district and downtown,” says Anne LaBate of Segal Commercial Realtors. She is leasing 222 West State Street, which caters to the State House market and can accommodate small users. In contrast, says LaBate, Badri’s building “may very well appeal to private businesses that want large floor plates and want to be closer to downtown amenities, such as restaurants.”

The Badri building rents for $11 per square foot and comes complete with a day care center and a cafe. It has marble entry foyers, a new elevator, and carpeted flooring, new security and fire safety systems, data transmission cables, and phones. The price is based on triple net, meaning that the tenant pays for taxes, insurance, and maintenance expenses, and it includes one parking space for 1,000 square feet, says Ali Chaudry of Re/Max of Princeton, who is leasing the space. The rehab contractors included Royal Aluminum Construction Company, Prime Electric, A to Z Plumbing, and Affordable Fire.

Chaudry has leased part of the first floor to the Capital Child Care Center, a 120-child facility approved by the Department of Youth and Family Services and owned by Kazmi and his wife, Perveen. It is scheduled to open on Friday, December 1, with Kazmi’s sister, Mehnaz Agha, as the director. He is hiring a traffic guard for pick-up and drop-off times.

The 8,000 square-foot daycare center has a 900-square-foot indoor gym with an 11-foot ceiling, outdoor-type equipment, and cross-ventilation — Kazmi’s answer to the need to have a fresh-air space for the children. “I did not like the idea of walking the children away from the center for their outdoor play, so I provided a gym for indoor activity,” he says.

Kazmi’s corporation will also own the eatery, which will serve breakfast and lunches — hamburgers, pizza, and fried chicken. The 15,000 square-foot first floor will also have 1,800 square feet for the landlord. Chaudry says he is negotiating to lease the second floor to a private middle/high school, but that the space could also be open to professional offices.

Kazmi has two sons and three daughters, including a daughter who has a doctor’s degree in pharmacology, and he is married to a biochemist at L’Oreal; they live in Allentown. His grandfather was a postmaster. His father, Zille Hassnain Kazmi, a poet and a lawyer, emigrated from the Allahabad in India, to Karachi, Pakistan in 1948.

Kazmi came to the United States in 1971 to earn his mechanical engineering degree at the University of Illinois, and he has a master’s degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology. For 25 years he designed power plants around the country but grew weary of constant travel. He began to invest in residential properties in Trenton and elsewhere. Now he works at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs as a construction official, doing plan review, and he also teaches plumbing code at Middlesex County College.

All of Kazmi’s endeavors are dedicated to his late father, who wrote inspirational, religious, and love poetry, in the Urdu language, under the name Badr. “It is more famous than his own name,” says Kazmi.

Badr Corporate Center, 16 West Front Street, Trenton 0638; 609-510-8630. Sibte Kazmi, owner.

Asbestos Verdict

The widow of Peter Stanley Hirsch, pottery artisan, was awarded more than $3 million in compensatory damages by a jury in Middlesex County Superior Court on November 16.

“This is the first verdict in the United States to connect industrial talc with asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma,” says Arnold Lakind of Quakerbridge Road-based Szaferman Lakind et al. The widow, Bonnie Parker, was the director of HiTOPS, the nonprofit adolescent health clinic. She and the estate were also represented by Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, a national tort firm.

Hirsch, a graduate of Princeton High School and Harvard University (Class of 1972), had used the talc to mix glazes. He had operated Rock Brook Studio in Lawrenceville, Skillman, and at the Lace Works in Lambertville from 1975 to 1982. When he closed the studio, he was a marketing executive for three technology companies in the Princeton area, and then was a self employed consultant until he could no longer work. He died in 2004.

Talc maker R.T. Vanderbilt had claimed that talc from its New York State mines contained fibers looked similar to, but were not a lethal form of asbestos.

Attorneys will start to seek punitive damages on Tuesday, November 28, in the court of Judge Ann G. McCormick in New Brunswick.

New from Iselin

National Association of Fleet Administrators, 125 Village Boulevard, Suite 200, Princeton 08540; 609-720-0882; fax, 609-452-8004. Phillip Russo, executive director. Home page: www.nafa.org

Early in November the National Association of Fleet Administrators moved its headquarters from Iselin to 5,420 square feet in Forrestal Village. Besides offering “great price, location, and amenities,” Phillip Russo, NAFA’s executive director, says, “This is a physical, tangible way of saying we’re new, we’re different.” The association will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year and is working to become more responsive to its membership.

One key draw of the new property is the proximity of a hotel for NAFA’s three-day, annual board meeting.

The association serves fleet administrators in charge of an organization’s cars, trucks, and vans. The 3,200 members across the United States and Canada are generally of two types, split about evenly: corporate administrators, whose concern is the assignment and maintenance of company cars and vehicles, and government administrators, for example, the person in charge of state police cars.

Levare Software, 12 Stults Road, Suite 106, Dayton 08810; 609-395-7030; fax, 609-395-7145. Jacob Antony, president. Home page: www.levare.com

Levare Software, a privately held software development firm, moved from Iselin into 3,000 feet of space in Dayton earlier this year. Since then, the company has hired seven people in sales and technical support. Charlie Callari, the chief operating officer, reports recent successes with some large contracts.

Levare Software has developed enterprise applications for specific vertical markets, including judicial scheduling, patient and provider data management, and small business supply chain management. The company also does software development, including inventory control, order management, executive decision support, client/patient management, and database development.

Expansions

Van Cleef Engineering Associates, 4 AAA Drive, Suite 102, Hamilton 08691; 609-689-1100; fax, 609-689-1120. Paul Pogorzelski PE PP, partner. Home page: www.vcea.org

Last month Van Cleef Engineering Associates expanded from 2345 Route 33 in Robbinsville to AAA Drive. This office has 23 employees, and the company has 35 workers in Hillsborough.

Van Cleef does multi-disciplinary civil engineering — municipal, land surveying, recreational facility design, and landscape architecture.

The office’s signature project was the site design for the Washington Town Center, a model for mixed use communities in New Jersey, and it has also recently done work for schools in North Burlington and PSE&G in Trenton.

Sirius Satellite Radio, 989 Lenox Drive, Suite 212. Lawrenceville 08648; 609-512-9000; fax, 609-512-9001. Alicia Mejias, office manager. Home page: www.siriusradio.com

Sirius Satellite Radio is expanding its Lawrenceville office. The company, headquartered in New York City, broadcasts via satellite over 130 digital-quality channels of sports, news, talk, entertainment, traffic, weather, and data to subscribers.

Management Move

Princeton Marriott Hotel & Conference Center at Forrestal (MAR), 100 College Road East, Princeton 08540; 609-452-7800; fax, 609-452-7883. Jeffrey Plamandon, general manager. Home page: www.marriott.com

Jeff Plamandon, the general manager at the newly re-flagged Princeton Marriott, has seen some of his plans for the former Scanticon property come to fruition. No longer does the driveway have cobblestones. The health club has new equipment. Propane gas has been replaced by natural gas in the kitchens. New carpet, wallcovering, and paint, and chairs have been replaced in sleeping rooms. Conference rooms have been redone and repriced so that audio visual fees are included in the price.

Next up: kitchen renovations. Plamandon closed the ground floor Gratella restaurant and, except for buffets, all the cooking is done from the “show kitchen” in the HomeState Cafe. He brought in a head chef from the Marriott Marquis, Joseph Baj. Early in December, Baj will add a third menu and dining area — the Fireside Lounge, offering “fine dining” entrees from $25 to $40. Guests will have cocktails in front of the fireplace at the edge of the HomeState Cafe and be ushered, for their meal, into a separate area with 10 tables. The Fireside Lounge will be open, Monday through Thursday, for two weeks starting December 4, and will resume in January.

In an effort to reach out to area residents, Plamandon is pricing rooms at $99 for holidays and weekends and, at the time of a phone interview, was pleased at the results. “We just ‘put the flag on’ (renamed the property as a Marriott) in August, and for the first holiday, we have already sold 130 transient rooms — and we still are a week out.”

Plamandon has been working for Marriott International for more than 30 years. He grew up in North Jersey (Newark, Cranford, and Short Hills) where his father worked for a firm that sold oil-drilling rigs. He graduated from Boston College in 1974. He has been general manager in five previous jobs, most recently as general manager for the Greenbelt Marriott Hotel in Maryland.

Crosstown Move

Mathews, Shepherd, McKay & Bruneau, 29 Thanet Circle, Suite 306. Princeton 08540-3674; 609-924-8555; fax, 609-924-3036. Robert G. Shepherd, managing partner. Home page: www.mathewslaw.com

The intellectual property firm Mathews, Shepherd, McKay & Bruneau PA, moved in August from 9,000 square feet 100 Thanet Circle to 7,500 feet on Thanet Road. It was the first tenant in the former Institute for Defense Analyses building; Church & Dwight expanded into the law firm’s former space.

The firm does intellectual property law including patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, Internet law, author-publisher agreements, licensing and litigation; it has 9 attorneys.

Corrections

When Michael Appelbaum resigned from Medarex, he was a member of the board. Applebaum was not chief financial officer at that time, as stated in the November 8 issue.

Black Rock Inc. bought Merrill Lynch’s asset management business.It did not buy Merrill Lynch’s investment banking operation (U.S. 1, November 15).

Keith A. Kiser wrote about the article telling how Ithaka Harbors moved to 100 Campus Drive in University Square (U.S. 1, November 15). Kiser’s team (Technology, Innovation & Development) belongs to the Shared Services division, not Strategic Services, which has a differnt goal and focus, he says.

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