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This article was prepared for the August 15, 2001 edition of U.S.
1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane
Nassau Street, Princeton’s "Financial Alley,"
is in flux. Morgan Stanley has completed its move into the storefront
of Gordon Gund’s picturesque headquarters at 14 Nassau Street, and
Merrill Lynch has suddenly decided to leave its long-term space at
194 Nassau Street.
Before Olde Discount Stockbrokers moved out last summer, Morgan
had been calling to get space in the Gund building. It’s a headturner,
a Flemish Revival structure that looks as if it came straight from
Delft. Erected in 1896 to house Princeton Bank and Trust, it
qualifies as a "grandfathered" exception to Princeton
1989 ordinance designed to keep banks and brokerage houses from
downtown. Back then, so many banks and stockbrokers were squeezing
out retail stores that Nassau Street earned that moniker
"Morgan Stanley is certainly a good client and a prestigious
says Noreen Coutin, director of administration at Gund Investment
Corp. Along with the Foundation Fighting Blindness, Gund has 15
at this location, and the building also houses the Witherspoon Art
and Bookstore. A new air conditioning system has been installed, and
Morgan Stanley is already interested in expanding upstairs to the
second or third floors, where architect Jerry Ford, of Ford Farewell
Mills & Gatsch, has redesigned space formerly occupied by architect
Andrew Sheldon. Says Coutin: "We really feel the building is one
of the landmarks on Nassau Street."
There was never a question of Merrill’s putting its retail brokers
into the new "back office" campus in Hopewell, but last year
Merrill was saying its Nassau Street office would not follow the other
retail branches to Princeton Commons at 7 Roszel Road. So the decision
to vacate Nassau Street on September 10 is a surprise to everyone,
particularly since Merrill signed a long-term lease there late last
"I can’t believe that they would give up a hard-found street
in a town that they identify as their corporate headquarters,"
says David Newton, vice president of Palmer Square Management.
Hard found indeed. Even with all the bank mergers, the
"grandfathered" addresses that will allow for financial
are still numbered. Among the few variances that have been granted
from the ordinance is U.S. Trust at 51 Hulfish Street (the less
end of Palmer Square). Quick & Reilly reportedly obtained building
permits at 20 Nassau before anyone realized it was not a gift shop
but a stock brokerage.
Other brokers have unsuccessfully tried to set up shop on Nassau
but ran afoul of the 1989 ordinance. Salomon Smith Barney, for
was turned away from the first floor of the Gershen-owned 182 Nassau.
Salomon reportedly would be interested in the Merrill Lynch space,
but whether Merrill would be willing to sublet its prime space to
an archrival is anybody’s guess.
Newton believes Borough Council could be a little more creative
the downtown. "This ordinance is now an anachronism and is just
another way for the borough to control the process of leasing,"
he says. "The town could be helping the landlords rather than
Newton has his own vacancy problems, which he prefers to consider
as "opportunities." He is losing tenants for two big spaces.
Waverly Home, with 6,000 feet in two stories on Palmer Square, is
going out of business after Christmas, and Gap Kids has moved out
of Hulfish Street.
"It represents an opportunity to strengthen our tenant mix,"
he says. "In Princeton people see one or two vacancies and think
the depression is round the corner. The truth is, vacancy equals
I don’t see the economy as worsening or any real reason to worry."
Chris Frischman, financial advisor in charge. 609-688-3602; fax
Home page: www.ms.com
Michael J. Pron, resident manager. 609-924-7600; fax, 609-683-7365.
Home page: www.merrill-lynch.ml.com After the move to the
fourth floor of 7 Roszel Road on September 10, new telephone numbers
will 609-243-7900; fax, 609-243-7817.
08536. Anthony Pico, director of accounting services. 609-282-4330;
As part of Merrill Lynch’s migration to its new corporate campus,
the payroll accounting and regulatory reporting functions of Merrill
Lynch have moved from Morgan Lane to Hopewell.
The first new airport runway in New Jersey in
years opened on Monday, August 13, at Princeton Airport. "The
state can’t find when the last new runway was in New Jersey,"
says airport president Naomi Nierenberg. "We are all very
She emphasizes that the new longer, wider runway makes the 90-year-old
airport safer for current traffic and does not change the character
of the facility.
The new $6.1 million runway — 400 feet longer and 15-feet wider
— brings the airport up to Federal Aviation Administration
and the old runway will help to alleviate congestion by serving as
a full-length taxiway. Utility wires along Route 206 will be buried
by October, and the airport will also improve its lighting system
and navigational aids.
Ken Nierenberg, airport manager, says the new runway will have better
drainage, heavier weight capacity, better clear area protection, a
precision approach-path indicator, and pilot-operated lights.
The runway bill includes $1.7 million for buying 54 acres of land,
effectively doubling the size of the airport. Costs also included
$3.3 million for construction, design, and administration, $500,000
for a master plan and an environmental study, $400,000 for putting
the utility wires underground, and $200,000 for permits. Of this
90 percent came from the federal Aviation Trust Fund, derived from
taxes on fuel and airline tickets to improve airport safety. The
also benefited from state block grants through the New Jersey Division
Construction was scheduled to be finished in spring of 2000 but there
were problems with the contractor. "Nothing has gone as said,"
says Naomi Nierenberg.
Naomi Nierenberg, president. 609-921-3100; fax, 609-921-1291.
Last week a Pennsylvania law firm focusing on class
action lawsuits said it filed a suit against College Road-based ITXC
Corp. on behalf of those who purchased ITXC stock from its 1999
public offering through December 6, 2000. In addition to ITXC, the
suit names the underwriters Lehman Brothers, FleetBoston Robertson
Stephens, and Merrill Lynch. Representing the plaintiffs are Marc
A. Topaz and Stuart L. Berman of Schiffrin & Barroway LLP in Bala
Nationwide, shareholder suits against dotcom firms began to
over the last six months. Most have been filed in New York’s Southern
District Court, and few, if any, have been decided.
Just in time, perhaps, Theodore Weitz has joined ITXC as vice
general counsel. A 1968 graduate of Pace, with a law degree from
he has served as legal counsel with Tachion Networks, Intel
Dialogic Corporation, Lucent Technologies Inc., and AT&T. In addition
to securities law, he is also responsible for global legal activities
such as contracts and transactions, employment, mergers and
intellectual property, and litigation.
"A series of lawsuits have been filed against virtually every
company that went public when the market was hot, claiming that
when distributing stock, have either overcharged commissions or
in allegedly improper allocation practices," explains Weitz. This
case is typical, he says, in that the law firm issued a press release
in an attempt to get good "class representatives" to sign
The Schiffrin & Barroway press release encourages stockholders to
apply for the "lead plaintiff" position, claims that the
received "excessive and undisclosed commissions," and that
they made arrangements with their customers to "purchase
ITXC shares in the aftermarket at pre-determined prices." This
practice, known as "laddering," can drive up stock prices.
Further, the complaint faults the prospectus for not sufficiently
revealing this information.
Attorneys at Schiffrin & Barroway declined an interview. The
50-attorney firm focuses exclusively on class action lawsuits filed
on a contingency basis, and one of its successful cases involved Sears
As this story went to press, similar announcements regarding suits
against ITXC were released by Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates of Little
Rock, Arkansas (www.classlawyer.com), and by Wolf Haldenstein Adler
Freeman & Herz. This 60-attorney firm has a multi-focus practice in
five locations (www.whafh.com).
As an international Internet telephony services carrier, ITXC routes
telephone calls over the Internet, and trade sources say it is now
the seventh largest U.S.-based telephone company selling international
minutes. When it went public at $12 on Nasdaq in late September, 1999,
the stock shot up and by February, 2000, was arguably overvalued at
$118. Hard on the heels of the initial public offering the company
followed Wall Street advice and went back to the market for a
offering in March, 2000, when the stock was $85. That very month,
tech stocks started to decline. By June it was $40 and is under $4
now (U.S. 1, August 8).
"We don’t have anything to respond to until we are served with
a complaint," says Weitz. "The focus does not seem to be the
conduct of the company but rather the practice of the
— Barbara Fox
750 College Road East, Princeton 08540. Tom Evslin, CEO. 609-419-1500;
fax, 609-419-1511. Home page: www.itxc.com
Princeton 08540. Home page: www.kana.com
Kana Communications has merged with Broadbase Software,
Inc. (BBSW), a provider of Intelligent Customer Interaction solutions,
and though some people are working from home offices, the College
Road office has apparently closed. The merged firm shortened its name
to just plain Kana and trades under the KANA symbol. The former 609
number does not answer, but customer calls are being taken at a call
center in Natick, Massachusetts at 800-737-8738, extension 1. The
corporate headquarters is in Menlo Park, California, at 650-614-8300.
No additional new information was available by press time.
This Princeton office had had two dozen employees in 4,300 feet and
was founded in 1995 by P.V. Kannan and Shanthi Kannan as Business
Evolution Inc. It started out with groupware products such as
software for private interactive meetings on a single server. Though
targeted for business meetings, the software has also been used for
In 1999 Kannan sold his business to Kana Communications, an E-commerce
software provider that trades on Nasdaq and had a market value of
nearly $5 billion. He received a reported $140 million in stock for
his 65-person firm. Nassau Capital, one of Princeton University’s
investment companies, was an investor in Business Evolution.
Both Kana and Business Evolution were in the business of turning
browsers into buyers — customer relationship management or CRM.
The word "Akula" means shark, and the proprietor
of this business, Rex Shvartsman, has bought a corporate van and
the logo of a fierce shark on the side. Though his current work is
largely in the senior citizen community, he has a competitive spirit
and expansion plans for his computer sales and networking business.
He recently moved to a larger office in a storefront on Applegarth
Shvartsman, the son of a Ukrainian engineer who had designed missile
silos, moved to this county in 1976 when he was four. He studied at
Middlesex County College, Rutgers, and DPT Business School in
learning various computer design programs and getting certifications
from Novell and Microsoft. He worked for a Manhattan advertising
Siegel Gale, but wanted to avoid the commute. Now he is very involved
with the senior communities in Monroe Township and does consulting
for computer clubs.
"I supply them with PCs and tech support and lecture as
he says. "My services are almost free, but it works both ways.
It `gets me out there’ and they remember me when they want to buy
a PC. I custom build my own PCs."
A senior citizen’s first computer is often a hand-me-down from
"When they run out of hard drive space, they call me and I sell
them more space," he says. "We want to move into working with
small businesses, mom and pop companies, professional offices, and
nonprofits. We can give them a dedicated network designed for their
Says Shvartsman: "Like our clients, we are a small company, trying
to carve out a niche."
08512. Rex Shvartsman. 609-395-1661.
Ewing 08628. Ed Brewer, associate director. 609-434-0044; fax,
The six-person pharmaceutical consulting firm moved in June from 301
College Road to 9,000 square feet at Ewing Commerce Park. Phone and
fax are new.
Jeffrey McMullen, senior vice president. 609-951-6800; fax,
Home page: www.pharmanet-cro.net
The contract clinical research firm has acquired a firm in Essington,
08540. Cynthia A. Baker, vice president. 609-987-1791; fax,
Home page: www.sovereignbank.com
Sovereign Trust Company moved from 134 Franklin Corner Road, the
headquarters of Trenton Savings Bank, to Sovereign Bank’s main
location at 619 Alexander Road.
Corner Road, the Atrium at Lawrence, Lawrenceville 08648. Victor W.
Pulizzano ChFC, division manager. 609-896-3800; fax, 609-896-3345.
The financial services firm has taken 2,235 square feet in the S.T.
Peterson building at 4250 Route 1, and expects to move on September
1. It sells mutual funds, variable annuities, life and health
Princeton 08540. Uma S. Pandey, chairman and president. 609-683-4474;
fax, 609-683-4587. Home page: www.prgsi.com
Formerly known as ERP Advantage and then as Caplacom, this application
service provider has a new name: PRG Inc. With its headquarters in
2,000 square feet at Research Park, it offers strategy, software
integration, and hosting services from offices in Rochester, New York;
the Caribbean (Jamaica); and India.
Pandey, the founder, has working partnerships with infrastructure
providers such as IBM and Siebel. "We are creating a market for
best-of-class, web-based applications and services," he says.
"Our proprietary ASP management technology enables these
to be hosted anywhere."
Skillman 08558. George Chirco, vice president of sales and marketing.
609-430-4600; fax, 609-279-0333.
George Chirco has sold his 15-year-old company to a Pennsylvania firm,
Enertec, and is now vice president of sales and marketing at the
Group of Enertec.
Powertec offers Web-based automated metering and testing systems for
electric utility substations and also has automation tools for nuclear
facilities. Its IP-Server is a network-aware cluster of communication
ports that can poll data from intelligent electronic devices. Powertec
will retain its website and will keep its name as the Powertec Group
With Richard Whiffen as president, Enertec is based in Hatfield and
has an engineering office near Charlotte, North Carolina. The
privately held company has tools for power distribution markets and
Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS).
Princeton 08540. Roy James, owner. 609-514-0920; fax, 609-987-9020.
Guy James moved his recruiting office, Impact Personnel, from
Way to Alexander Road in April. He closed the business, but it
under the name On Target Staffing and is directed by Roy James, Guy’s
Darryl Copeland, CEO. 609-275-6150.
Not all those who suffer from Dotcom Decline were targeting the
crowd. DWC Web Corp. based its hopes on the senior market — being
an Internet service provider, portal, and community for those aged
55 to 75. Even though the company acquired a loyal subscriber base
it failed to get the continued investment that it needed, and it
its website, www.next50.com, on August 3.
A biomedical engineer from Duke, Class of ’81, Copeland has a master’s
in computer science from New Jersey Institute of Technology, an MBA
from Wharton, and was CEO for a senior housing company before opening
this business just one year ago (U.S. 1, August 16, 2000). The
firm’s marketing plan involved donating computers to residential
psychologist, he had been a priest and research fellow with Princeton
housekeeper at the Nassau Inn.
32 years she was administrative assistant to the president at Demag
manager at Kids "R" Us in Mercer Mall.
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