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This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the May 22, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane
Princeton’s sublease market is the talk of the state.
More prestigious Merrill Lynch space is on the block. After just two
years Merrill Lynch’s signature bull will no longer belong on the
front building at 7-9 Roszel Road. Sublease tenants are being sought
for 111,768 square feet through December, 2009. Raymond Sohmer of
Insignia/ESG’s Central New Jersey office in East Brunswick is the
exclusive agent (www.insigniaesg.com).
Merrill Lynch moved into new SJP Property buildings — 7 and 9
Roszel Road — two years ago. Up for lease is the one in front,
the three-story building at 9 Roszel. Merrill Lynch’s trust group
currently occupies the first floor, but the second floor is vacant,
as is most of the third floor. Meanwhile the five-story building remains
fully occupied — four floors by Merrill Lynch and the top floor
divided between Pharmacia and Korn Ferry.
Sohmer says he is seeing a "good amount of traffic" and predicts
the very competitive sublease market will be gone by the end of this
year. "It’s really the very finest office space in the Princeton
market. Typically the tenant has to pay for furniture and the phone
system but these tenants will be able to enjoy a plug and play opportunity."
The upgrades include high end finishes, teleconferencing capabilities,
interior loading facilities, and CAT 6 voice and data throughout.
The leasable space can be subdivided so that the smallest tenant would
take 7,500 square feet, or a quarter of a floor. Tenants will be able
to use Merrill Lynch’s cafeteria in the five-story building at 7 Roszel.
When 50 more Sarnoff workers got pink slips last week,
that brought the headcount to 575 people, a 25 percent reduction from
800 people last fall.
Sarnoff’s cash cow has always been contract research, which can average
$120 million a year. But its commercial technology clients are having
financial problems too. To get through this difficult period, says
spokesperson Tom Lento, Sarnoff is trying to focus on government contracts.
Instead of representing 40 percent of its business, government work
represents 60 percent of its income.
Some of the riffed employees will have something else in their pockets
besides a generous severance package. In accordance with Sarnoff’s
model for employee compensation, individuals can own stock in the
spinoffs that they worked on.
Nevertheless, few of those Sarnoff spinoffs are doing well right now.
Of the 20 spinoffs, Orchid BioSciences and Princeton Lightwave have
reported downsizings. Venture capital money has gotten tight and the
equity market is even tighter.
Less attention is being paid to electronics research, biomedical,
and information technology. More attention is being given to security,
surveillance, and digital cinema. And a fast-track consulting program
called Inventiate (see below) could help lift Sarnoff from the doldrums.
Net Searchers, a company that registered Internet domain
names and monitored activities for clients, has closed its Carnegie
Center office. The office opened in early 2001 to give its London-based
parent, Virtual Internet, a United States presence. The plan, according
to Roy Hibberd, who was hired to head up North American operations,
was to add offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto (U.S. 1, February
In late-March Register.com, a dominant player in the area of domain
registration, completed an acquisition of Virtual Internet for $17
million. As part of the acquisition, Register.com, which is based
in New York City, gained control of Virtual Internet’s equity stake
in RegistryPro, a joint venture formed by the two companies to capitalize
on the .pro domain registry for certified professionals.
In April, Net Searchers left Carnegie Center and moved into the New
York offices of Register.com, Virtual Internet’s new parent. It is
functioning as a corporate services division, helping Register.com’s
clients to fend off cybersquatters, copyright thieves, and parody
New York 10017. 212-798-9129.
Way, Montgomery Commons, c/o 301 North Harrison Street, Suite 519,
Princeton 08540. Peter Cunningham, Stephen Engst, and Neal McComb.
609-933-3937; fax, 215-598-2849. Home page: www.claravista.net
This three-person firm, new at Montgomery Commons, does asset management
for institutions and high net worth individuals. As "alternative
investment managers" they are trading futures at the current time
but later could launch new products that would include equity programs
and/or hedge funds.
All three founders have worked for Goldman Sachs. Neal McComb in
Manhattan and Stephen Engst and Peter Cunningham at Commodities Corporation,
a Goldman Sachs company. They launched their firm in 2000 and continue
to use a mailing address at the Princeton Shopping Center.
Claravista translates to "clear view" and it also references
an offspring’s name. Cunningham is a Princeton native who went to
high school in Connecticut and Massachusetts. After graduating from
the University of Georgia in 1986, he worked on George Bush’s presidential
campaign and was a liaison officer at the Department of Labor. Engst
is a Deptford native and a 1984 graduate of Rutgers with a software
engineering certificate from Harvard. McComb is from Montreal and
graduated from McGill University in 1996.
200 Horizon Center Boulevard, Trenton 08691-9999. 609-584-8900; fax,
609-584-6867. Home page: www.shawgroup.com
IT Corporation, based in Pittsburgh and bankrupt, has been sold to
the Shaw Group, a public company based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
IT Corporation is the environmental remediation firm that had the
anthrax-clean-up contract for the U.S. Postal Service. It had liabilities
of $60 million, and Shaw’s purchase covered those liabilities plus
gave IT $1.5 million.
Shaw’s workforce of 15,000 has been swollen by 5,000 more workers
from IT. The Shaw Group, founded in 1987, has $2.5 billion in annual
revenues. It does engineering and construction for the power, process,
and environmental infrastructure industries. The new name is going
to be Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure Inc.
at Norland Products in Cranbury.
the alumni records department at Princeton University and for McGraw
Hill on Route 571.
at the Gallup Orgnaization and had a consulting conmany, A Polls Inc.
of Pennytown in Pennington.
for Johnson & Johnson.
School, he co-founded the Princeton Ballet Society with his wife,
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