Real Estate Deals

Contract in Question For ETS

Telecom Moves

Contracts Awarded

Crosstown Moves

Management Moves

Corrections or additions?

This article was prepared for the January 15, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane

Princeton Forrestal Village is the chameleon of the

Route 1 world of retail. In the late 1980s it was an upscale shopping

venue. When that failed, it was transformed into a factory outlet

center in the 1990s. Now a high vacancy rate in the 205,000-square-foot

retail portion of the center has prompted the center’s management

firm, the Gale Company, to make another change. This time it’s to

a use that has been the most frequent formula for success along Route

1 — commercial offices.

On Tuesday, January 21, Plainsboro’s planning board will hear

an application by Gale for a change in use at the center to allow

Gale to bring in up to 115,000 square feet of professional offices.

The new use would be mixed with 90,000 square feet of retail store

fronts that would continue to be located at the front of the center.

Retail would also continue to operate in the food hall — which

has consistently been the most successful element of the center.

"They are looking for a little more flexibility than retail for

perspective tenants," says Michael LaPlace, Plainsboro community

development director. The uses allowed would include doctors, lawyers,

architects, insurance agents, financial services, and health clubs.

"They want uses that would encourage traffic to the retail component."

Gale’s application was originally heard in December, but the board

asked for more detailed information and continued the hearing. "We’re

concerned about any project in Plainsboro that’s not doing well,"

says Mayor Peter Cantu, "and it’s no secret that the retail is

not doing well there.

"The township is trying to ensure that we get commitments from

them to retain a retail component. We’re engaged in conversations

about that, and particularly that we’ll continue to have a planning

role as to what those uses might be. Our objective is to see this

thing is successful."

The center, almost from inception, has had various measures of success,

but never became the major shopping destination envisioned by developer

Scott Toombs when he opened the Village in 1987. By 1991, about half

of the 95 upscale stores that originally opened with the center had

shut down, and the Bank of New York, which held the note on the property,

seized control and brought in the Gale Company to manage the site.

Gale, then operating as Gale & Wentworth, changed the Village to an

outlet center, and during the 1990s saw occupancy rates as high as

94 percent. Gale bought the Village from the bank in 1995 at a fire

sale price of $29 million, and sold it three years later for $46 million

to Credit Suisse First Boston.

But in recent years the poor economy coupled with competition from

other Route 1 retail has hit the center hard, and occupancy has dropped

to about 50 percent.

"It’s hard to understand why the center hasn’t worked, and quite

frankly, I’m puzzled," says Cantu. "On the plus side, it’s

a well-maintained first class facility. To date it just hasn’t had

sustained success."

"I think they thought that the Princeton name was going to work

magic for them, and it never did, so they had to go in other directions,"

he adds. "I would hope they will be able to settle on a concept

that works for them and the community as well. I’m supportive of the

cause of allowing them uses that are consistent with the market, but

sometimes you have to look at the marketeer as well."

— Bill Sanservino

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Real Estate Deals

As the Patrinely Group prepares for its next building

project, 800,000 square feet adjacent to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

on Route 1 North, it was able to turn over its two buildings on the

other side of Route 1 for a handsome sum — a reported $54 million,

or $240 per square foot.

The buildings, totaling 225,000 square feet, are handsome, but no

doubt the tenant list enhanced the sale price. Novo Nordisk is the

anchor tenant at 100 College Road West, along with ZS Associates (another

pharmaceutical firm) and the law firm Duane Morris. Broadbeam was

a tenant here also but has moved to Route 130. Meanwhile at 150 College

Road West, Physiome Sciences has 25,000 feet, and American Re, a company

that prides itself on its reputation and is therefore attractive to

landlords, is paying for 40,000 square feet.

Phillip Benjamin, senior vice president of the Patrinely Group, declined

to confirm the price but says that the buyers retained Patrinely as

building managers. The buyer, New Valley Corp., is a New York-based

partnership, part of the Miami-based Vector Group. New Valley, a

public company, trades on Nasdaq as NVAL

Meanwhile Insignia ESG of Central Jersey, located in East Brunswick,

may have landed a tenant for space made available on Roszel Road when

Merrill Lynch moved out to Hopewell. If this tenant took all of the

111,000 feet available at 9 Roszel (the five story building), the

current sublease tenant, ClinPhone, would need to move next door.

The three story building that fronts on Roszel Road, 7 Roszel, still

has the Princeton retail office of Merrill Lynch on the fourth floor

and Pharmacia on the fifth floor , but it also has 109,000 sublease

feet vacant.

Ray Sohmer of Insignia ESG, who is marketing the $50 million property

for SJP Properties, declined comment, citing a confidentiality agreement,

but the potential tenant is reportedly Tyco International, the $36

billion conglomerate. It seems that Edward D. Breen Jr., the new man

at Tyco’s top who is supposed to be rescuing this company from its

big losses and allegations of fraud, lives in New Hope. The move might

also generate cash. Moving 300 workers from New York would certainly

qualify for a hefty state grant.

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Contract in Question For ETS

On its way to landing a four-year $33 million contract

for New Jersey’s grade school assessment tests, Educational Testing

Service ran into a snag. In a November interview CEO Kurt Landgraf

had referred to Governor James R. McGreevey’s promise to favor

New Jersey companies and had said he would be "very disappointed"

if ETS did not win the contract (U.S. 1, November 13, 2002).

That gubernatorial promise — whether real or perceived — apparently

did not sit well with one of ETS’s competitors, Harcourt Educational

Measurement of Texas. The state was ready to award the contract for

a new third-grade reading and math test and a revised fourth grade

exam to ETS when Harcourt challenged the decision on the basis that

the ETS bid amounted to nearly twice the Harcourt bid.

What happened next: the state treasurer’s office required a second

round of bidding, because the ETS bid supposedly did not conform with

the contract requirements. On December 31 Harcourt claimed that the

state had "tailor-made" the process to benefit ETS. Three

days later, when the bids were opened, ETS came in with its bid of

$35.6 million, compared to $20.9 million from Harcourt. CTB-McGraw

Hill bid $20 million and NCS-Pearson bid $18.5 million.

As reported by the Star Ledger on January 6, Harcourt claims the state

"is knowingly attempting to exclude all but ETS from successfully

bidding" for the contract. Chief among its objections is that

the latest bidding requirements are slanted against "off the shelf"

tests and in favor of the custom-built tests that ETS makes. The state

says it merely clarified the language so that everyone would have

a level playing field.

ETS cannot discuss the bid but gives this warning: "We do fear

that repeated challenges will jeopardize the state’s efforts to implement

the reforms envisioned with this RFP."

"We believe that after this bidding process is complete, ETS will

be chosen as the state’s assessment contractor. In originally awarding

ETS by far the highest score on the technical merits of the proposals

reviewed, the seven-member Evaluation Committee recognized the superior

quality of ETS’s assessment development plan."

ETS has the K-12 assessment contract for California — the largest

in the world — and also for Georgia and Maryland."

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Telecom Moves

Velio Communications, 214 Carnegie Center, Suite

304, Princeton 08540. G. Ramamurty, chief design architect. 609-419-9300;

fax, 609-419-9777. Home page:

The telecommunications firm moved from 10,000 square feet at 210 Carnegie

Center to 2,500 feet at 214 Carnegie. From 12 employees, it has gone

to eight. "We are waiting for the economy to change," says

G. Ramamurty.

Using traditional technology Velio Communications Inc. designs components

for optical telecommunications switches and routers for a San Jose-based

semiconductor firm. It uses standard CMOS semiconductor chips made

of silicon to send signals at optical speeds.

Ramamurty said in a previous interview (U.S. 1, May 9, 2001) that

the company had 12 employees and expected to hire more than 40 more,

but now the firm has gone to eight employees. The company is a "fabless"

shop, meaning that it designs but does not manufacture, or fabricate.

Ramamurty previously worked at NEC.

NextGen Internet, 100 Overlook, Princeton 08540.

Sergio Heker, president. 609-375-2385; fax, 609-375-2667.

At the end of December Sergio Heker moved his Internet services company

from Enterprise Business Center in Cranbury to 100 Overlook, and the

firm has a new phone and fax. Heker established the firm as Global

Enterprise Services in 1991 and sold his United States networking

operation to the Colorado-based company now known as Verio. Now named

NextGen Internet, Heker’s company is building networks in Latin America.

In this country it offers hosting, web and database applications,

training on Bay Networks, and support for private networks.

Top Of Page
Contracts Awarded

AlgoRx Pharmaceuticals, 101 Interchange Plaza,

Suite 102, Cranbury 08512. Ronald M. Burch MD PhD, president and CEO.

609-409-2300; fax, 609-409-2323.

This manufacturer of pain treatment products has begun clinical trials

on ALGRX 4975, for treating chronic pain, including tendonitis, post-surgical

conditions, and osteoarthritis of the knee. The market opportunity

is several hundred million dollars, according to CEO Ronald Burch.

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Crosstown Moves

TMF: Technology Management & Funding LP, 100 Overlook

Center, Suite 102, Princeton 08540. Harry Brener, chairman. 609-921-2001;

fax, 609-497-0998.

Brener Capital Group, 100 Overlook, Princeton 08540.


TMF and its sister company, Brener Capital Group, have moved from

Research Park to Princeton Overlook. TMF is a private limited partnership

that builds equity value in portfolios of early-stage technology companies

by creating and managing commercialization partnerships.

Care Capital LLC, 47 Hulfish Street, Suite 310,

Princeton 08540. Jan Leschly, CEO. 609-683-8300; fax, 609-683-5787.

This life-sciences investment fund moved from Princeton Overlook to

downtown Princeton.

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Management Moves

Commonwealth Business Media, 50 Millstone Road,

Building 400, Windsor Corporate Park, Suite 200, Box 541, Cranbury

08512. Alan Glass, CEO. 609-371-7700; fax, 609-371-7879. Home page:

Jack Sweet is the new editor of Pacific Shipper magazine, a 77-year-old

import/export trade magazine. He had been managing editor for California-based

World Trade Magazine, owned by Business News Publishing Company, and

he started a monthly E-mail newsletter that grew to a circulation

of 16,000. For another company he launched four new magazines, and

he also worked for Advanstar Communications. Commonwealth Business

Media offers business-to-business database information, directories,

and trade publications.

Exide Technologies (), 210 Carnegie Center, Princeton

08540. Craig Muhlhauser, president and COO. 609-627-7200. Home


Biabio N. Vignolo Jr., a turnaround specialist, is the new executive

vice president and CFO at the company that has Chapter 11 bankruptcy

status. Vignolo had improved the finances of Sun Chemical Corp. and

American Bakeries Corp. He replaces former CFO Lisa Donahue.

Carnegie Center is the corporate headquarters of the manufacturer

and recycler of batteries for autos, boats, RVs, and lawn and garden

tools. Exide has operations in 89 countries and had net sales of $2.4

billion last year.

Metal Powder Industries Federation, 105 College

Road East, Princeton 08540-6692. 609-452-7700; fax, 609-987-8523.

C. James Trombino is the new acting executive director of the Metal

Powder Industries Federation, following the retirement of Donald G.

White. Trombino has a similar position at APMI International, the

professional society for powder metallurgists.

White joined the 20-employee organization in 1987. MPIF promotes world-wide

powder and metallurgy industries through statistics, standards, marketing,

technology, research, publications, meetings, and education. It includes

the Metal Injection Molding Association.

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