Corrections or additions?
These articles by Barbara Fox and Michele Alperin were prepared for
the May 2, 2007 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane
After Merrill Lynch’s property had been on the market for six months,
its 50-acre Scudders Mill campus sold for $122 million. The buyers are
an investor group headed by two Princeton University graduates,
Anthony P. DiTomasso Jr. and
Russell F. Warren Jr, principals at Ivy Realty, based in Montvale.
The just-announced deal, which closed in March, prices the 685,000
square-feet of space in existing buildings at $107 million or $156 per
square foot. A separate deal, to close later, earmarks $15 million for
the rights to develop an
additional 700,000 square feet on 54 acres, at a cost of about $20 per
foot. Andy Merin of Cushman & Wakefield represented Merrill Lynch in
the transaction. Merrill Lynch developed the corporate headquarters
facility, which is located in
the heart of the Princeton Forrestal Center, in phases from 1984
The buying company, Ivy, owns, managers, and leases a four-million
square foot portfolio in the tri-state area. It targets investment
opportunities in undervalued, high-grade, income-producing commercial
properties. "The Princeton office
market is one that we have been following for years and we are
confident this is the right time to purchase such a prime facility as
the Merrill Lynch headquarters campus," says DiTomasso, Ivy’s CEO.
"This acquisition is an example of the
high-quality, well-positioned properties that we are looking to add to
our growing class-A office portfolio."
"800 Scudders Mill Road is a true world-class facility that will draw
prospective users from not only the local Princeton area, but also
nationally and internationally because of its complete on-site amenity
package, internationally known
location, and exceptional work environment," says Warren, Jr.,
chairman of Ivy Equities.
Warren is a native of Greenwich, Connecticut, where his father is the
orthopedic surgeon for the New York Giants. DiTomasso and his three
brothers were football stars at their high school on Staten Island.
DiTomasso’s father had left the
New York Police Department to open a road construction company. Warren
lives in Greenwich, and DiTomasso lives in Ridgewood: both have three
Football was the first bond between Warren and DiTomasso. In 1985,
when Warren was a freshman football player, he met DiTomasso, football
team captain, at Princeton’s training table. Warren developed a chain
of sports medicine
rehabilitation centers, took it public (as one of the youngest CEOs on
Nasdaq), and then sold it to HealthSouth. Along the way he started
doing business with DiTomasso, who had earned his law degree from
Seton Hall, then worked for another
real estate firm, Sorce, before opening his own.
They formed Ivy Equities in 1996 as a diversified investment company
offering high net worth investors and institutions opportunities to
invest in commercial real estate and private equity. Its three
business lines are real estate, private
equity and a NASD registered broker/dealer, First Ivy Capital Markets.
Ivy Realty has completed over $800 million in real estate investments.
Ivy Capital Partners is the general partner Healthcare Capital, a $30
million dollar private equity fund focused on companies in the
"The early 1990s was a very distressed period in real estate," says
Warren. "When I sold my company in 1996, Anthony and I decided it was
the right time to acquire buildings, and we put Ivy Equities
together." Other investors in the firm
are institutions and pension funds.
Bristol-Myers Squibb sold its Scudders Mill Road property in October,
at considerably more than its assessed value, and the Merrill Lynch
price was considerably less. Did the buyers consider this a distressed
property? "We are not out there
to overpay for things," is their reply. "And we are looking for long
Plainsboro Township is trying to raise the B-MS property’s assessment
on one hand, and it is fighting an appeal from Merrill Lynch to lower
the assessment on the other hand. Merrill Lynch is paying nearly $3.9
million in taxes this year and
has brought three years of tax appeals before Judge Gail Menyuk in New
Jersey Tax Court.
Ivy’s Warren and DiTomasso say that lowering the assessment was not
the focus of their transaction.
Robert Sheehan, township administrator, is confident that the township
will prevail against Merrill Lynch’s past and current appeals to
reduce the valuations. Says Sheehan, "We don’t think the sale price
reflects the full market value of
It is a sale-leaseback deal, not a straight sale. Forty-percent of the
campus will be vacant next year when Merrill Lynch finishes moving
out, and Black Rock (which bought part of Merrill’s business and
occupies 60 percent) signed a
five-year lease last year. (Black Rock, the asset management banking
arm of PNC Bank, had bought Merrill’s asset management business.)
The township’s tax attorney, Rick Conley, says he knows of no cases
for which a tax court has accepted a valuation based on a
sale-leaseback deal: "We say that a sale-leaseback contract is not a
fair indication of market value." Andrew
Merin of Cushman & Wakefield represented Merrill Lynch.
Because the campus was "purpose built" for Merrill Lynch, it has
central systems and would have to be reconfigured to be used as a
multi-tenant building. The buildings connect to the 364-room
conference center that does not go with the
"Our aim is to make the tenants happy while they are occupying the
space, and of course we would love to have Black Rock stay for a
longer term," says DiTomasso.
"It is a great campus, a world class setting, and Princeton is an
internationally known market," says Warren. "It would be a great home
for a large corporate user."
— Barbara Fox
For 39 years John Buschman ran his own commercial real estate
business, sometimes aligned with a larger company. In the 40th year he
closed his firm to reopen in partnership with a national firm, Newmark
Knight Frank. NKF owns a 51 percent
share and the April 16 deal gave the three partners – Buschman, Tom
Romano, and Steve Tolcash – a signing bonus and an ownership stake.
"I was never looking for a boss," says Buschman. Over the years he had
partnered with two companies that have since merged with CB Richard
Ellis, Jackson Cross and InsigniaESG. Similarly, his most recent
affiliate, GVA Williams, did not own
part of his firm. "This is the first time I have been in true
partnership with somebody else."
"We were approached by NKF," says Buschman. "They have an interesting
platform to work off of, and the personalities clicked. This deal
offered Steve and Tommy a future. It wasn’t a company purchase; we
formed a new entity."
The five person staff also includes Brian Rushing, James Murray, and
Amy Jenkins, and Buschman plans to hire another half-dozen people in
order to //cover territory further south and in Bucks County. Such an
expansion will require a move,
probably to a Class A building on Route 1 with a Princeton zip code.
NKF’s other New Jersey office, in Rutherford, has 30 people.
GVA Williams New Jersey, based in Parsippany, currently manages more
than 175 commercial properties occupying about 23.3 million square
feet in the tri-state region. Newmark Knight Frank has 5,300 employees
in 165 offices on six continents,
and it manages or leases 100 million square feet of commercial space.
"NKF is one of top brokerage companies in New York, and we expect we
will get a lot of business," says Buschman. "We’re looking forward to
making this a profitable operation. They seem like the right kind of
people to make it happen."
Newmark Knight Frank, 1009 Lenox Drive, Building 4, Suite 116,
Lawrenceville 08648; 609-896-1600; fax, 609-896-1753. John H.
One of the three new Class A office buildings in Princeton, 902
Carnegie Center, signed its third tenant. Wilmington Trust will move
from Princeton Overlook to 8,664 square-feet at Carnegie West. Matt
Malatich and Mark HIll represent the
owner, Hilton Management LLC, and Jerry Fennelly and Andy Weinstein of
NAI Fennelly represented the tenant.
Stifel, Nicholaus & Company had signed the first lease, and the third
tenant will be Iron Bound Capital, which has leased more than 8,000
square feet and will move from Vaughn Drive.
The five-story building, on 10 acres adjacent to Princeton Market Fair
and a Marriott Residence Inn, has a two-story atrium lobby, covered
parking, a fitness room, cafe, and state-of-the-art communications and
mechanical systems. A humidity
controlled basement, for storage, is an unusual feature for this
Sean S. Murray heads the Wilmington Trust office, which offers
diversified financial services with regional banking, wealth advisory,
and corporate client services business units.
The other two new Class A buildings, at University Square and Campus
Drive, have yet to announce tenants.
Hilton Management LLC, 194 Nassau Street, Princeton 08542;
609-921-6060; fax, 609-921-0939. George H. Sands/Jeffrey H. Sands,
managing member. www.hiltonrealtyco.com
American Disabilities Corporation (ADC), 812 State Road, Suite 103,
Princeton 08540-1400; 609-430-2320; fax, 609-430-2331. Neil C. Tucker,
managing director. www.ameridiscorp.com.
American Disabilities Corporation has opened an office in Princeton to
sell medical products and supplies for disabled persons and
caregivers, explains one of the firm’s two founders, Neil Tucker.
"We’re in the business of misery
reduction." Tucker and his business partner, Paul Kurisko, have known
each other since kindergarten.
After being approved by the Small Business Administration as a small
business enterprise, they launched the business at the Small Business
Development Center in Trenton a few months ago. "We have parents who
are aging," says Tucker, "and
saw a need for real innovative and useful medical products to be
brought to market."
Although the firm does not manufacture its products, it "wraps and
carries" thousands of products already in the marketplace that fit its
criteria. The partners are focusing in particular on compression
therapy and wound care, but they keep
their eyes open for useful items. One offering, for example, is a
portable wheelchair shower for people who don’t have a shower stall
large enough to accommodate a wheelchair. The unit attaches to the
kitchen sink and includes a basin that
the wheelchair can roll into. When the shower is over, the item folds
up into a 4 by 4 by 6-inch space.
"What makes us different from a typical surgical supply company is
that we take a proactive position," says Tucker. He goes into doctors’
offices and assisted living facilities to demonstrate products and
talk about the resources available.
The partners also run an E-bay store with the same name. They are
redesigning their business website for E-commerce and expect to roll
out a web site dedicated to the caregivers, www.caregivers-oasis.com.
"It will be an information portal
for caregivers, family members, and clinicians, on stress management
and self care," says Tucker. "The operating theory is that you can
only help other people if you can help yourself."
Tucker expects a large market for his firm’s products. "There are 50
million disabled plus the rising tide of baby boomers plus the current
senior market," he says. Although the partners decided to start the
firm in Mercer County – "we
wanted it to be in the capital county first" – they are beginning to
move out into Somerset, Middlesex, and Ocean. Their goal is to have
name recognition and customers statewide.
The partners have different strengths. About Kurisko, who used to
manage a chemical company, Tucker says, "He’s the operations guy," and
adds, "I’m the gregarious front guy."
Tucker has a bachelor’s of science in health education in 1991 and
master’s degree in education from the College of New Jersey. In
addition to being a certified massage therapist, he did advanced
training as a lymphedema therapist (treating
the slight swelling in the arm that sometimes accompanies breast
cancer) and sold compression therapy products for Lymphedema Products.
His interest in this area has led to a new product, Lymphedivas, which
is a designer compression sleeve
to help these women.
– Michele Alperin
CDM at Princeton, 302 Carnegie Center, Suite 102, Princeton 08540;
609-716-4400; fax, 609-716-0749. Kyle Barich, president. Home page:
A division of the ad agency Cline Davis & Mann, CDM at Princeton,
plans an August expansion to 30,000 square feet at 210 Carnegie
Center. Currently it has 22,000 square feet. With a New York
headquarters on East 22nd Street in Manhattan,
the company also has an office in Red Bank.
This agency has to its credit the Viagra commercial featuring Bob
Dole, and its other clients have included Bristol-Myers Squibb,
American Home Products Corp’s Wyeth-Ayerst division, Janssen
Pharmaceutica, and Johnson and Johnson.
"We have grown dramatically since we have been down here, and as we
take on more and more clients, we keep hiring. We moved here with
three people and now have 70 people, says Kyle Barich. Barich, along
with Gerry McLaughlin and Ashley
Schofield, opened this office late in 1999.
"We expect to be at 90 by the end of the year." Open positions are in
account services, client service, and copywriting.
Princeton’s central location is a plus. "If you draw a circle with a
50-mile radius, people are coming from every direction," he says. "We
are trying to be respectful of people coming from the east and the
Overall the firm has 850 people globally, including 600 in Manhattan
and some in London. "But what’s nice is that the vast majority of our
business is local," says Barich. "Divisions of Johnson & Johnson
(Janssen and Ortho McNeil) and Novo
Nordisk are our biggest clients."
Barich, director of client services, graduated from the University of
Michigan in 1990 and managed two of the biggest growing Pfizer brands
– Norvasc, the antihypertensive, and Cardura, another hypertension
McLaughlin, the creative director of copy, is a professional writer
with a sideline as an amateur magician. A graduate of the University
of New Mexico, he has worked on product launches for Lipitor, Norvasc,
Diflucan, and Neumega.
Schofield, creative director of art, has a degree from Syracuse and
worked in magazines until she joined CDM, where she worked on
commercials for Bain de Soleil and Ben Gay.
"We have a good relationship with Boston Properties. We have been able
to break our lease and go to the next one," says Barich.
Dilip Patel, the fifth Able Labs employee to plead guilty to
conspiracy to distribute misbranded or adulterated drugs, is scheduled
to be sentenced on August 16. He had been the quality control manager.
According to published reports, on
April 24 he told U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton in Newark that he
falsified records in order to keep his job.
Patel, 44, covered up the internal quality testing records for
clorazepate dipotassium (for anxiety and seizures) and atenolol (for
high blood pressure). The maximum sentence for this plea is five years
in prison and a fine of $250,000. He
is free on $100,000 bail.
Bohdan Paczynski, 67, on April 19. An astrophysicist at Princeton
University, his work helped discover the first terrestrial planet
found outside the solar system.
William Flemer III, 85, on April 22. Known for his plant
introductions, until 1992 he was president of Princeton Nursery,
founded by his grandfather, A service will be Saturday, May 5, at
noon, at All Saint’s Church.
J. Sherman Cooper III, 57, on April 28. A motorcycle enthusiast, he
was a salesman at his Coopers Cycle Shop in Hamilton.
Corrections or additions?
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