New in Town

Contracts Awarded

Leaving Town


Corrections or additions?

These articles by Barbara Fox were prepared for the May 16, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane: BASF Leaves

If those cows aren’t already gone, they soon will be.

The last vestige of Princeton’s bucolic past — the farmland at

the fourth corner of three big shopping malls — is history. BASF

will shutter the former 40-year-old American Cyanamid agriculture

research site, across from Quakerbridge Mall and Nassau Park and diagonal

to the Mercer Mall. By this time next year about 600 jobs will be

gone from that location, including 85 workers still employed by American

Home Products’ animal health division.

American Home Products also still owns the 640-acre property, with

25 acres of buildings, including lab space and greenhouses. In comparison,

the Carnegie Center is 540 acres and has six buildings to go before

full build-out. The Sarnoff Corporation has 335 acres and has proposed

a 3.5 million square foot expansion. Until its project was scuttled,

RCN had planned to build 5 million square feet on 134 acres at the

old Union Camp site.

Developers have looked longingly at this property for years. Estimates

of its worth range from $160 to $224 million for mixed use. But it

would have to be rezoned for mixed use, and now is a crucial time

in West Windsor’s planning process: A severe reduction has been proposed

that would affect this parcel and Sarnoff’s parcel. The proposal brought

vociferous protests from both companies. "I’m not sure what buyers

would be interested in developing that land for office use if the

proposed master plan goes through," says Micky Landis of Boston

Properties, the development company that manages Carnegie Center.

"The current code allows certain areas to build up to .30 FAR

(the square footage equaling 30 percent of the land, or less, in the

case of multistory buildings)," explains Landis. "If, as just

proposed, the code goes to .15 (15 percent of the land), that would

double the land cost per foot of buildable office space and reduce

incoming ratables by half."

The Carnegie Center got approval for its full buildout under that

code, but its actual plan, allowing for the six unbuilt buildings,

is scheduled for 21 percent. Sarnoff’s first proposal called for 24

percent, but it has said it could accept the 21 percent, and a spokesperson

for American Cyanamid concurs.

What happens to the real estate is a far away problem,

but at least 500 people have an imminent problem, finding a new job.

To put this in perspective, Fleet Boston is trimming 193 jobs in Central

New Jersey after its merger with Summit, RCN sliced 70 jobs at the

Carnegie Center, and Dow Jones lost 98 people from its Route 1 North


An estimated 100 people have already left AHP. BASF said last year

it would cut $250 million in operation costs and 2,000 jobs from agricultural

operations globally. Two hundred of the 500 jobs remaining are scheduled

to be gone by September of this year, and the rest of the workers

will be encouraged to stay to finish ongoing projects. AHP employs

85 people in its animal health division and their fate, and that of

the livestock, is not known. "We just heard about this on Monday,"

said Doug Petkus of American Home Products.

Industry sources point to the historically tight margins for the agri-chemical

business and say that the furor over genetically engineered crops

has exacerbated the problem. But the reason behind this site closing

probably lies in BASF’s reason for buying American Cyanamid from American

Home Products last year. When the German company won out against Bayer,

Dow Chemical, and Sumitomo Chemical with a $3.8 billion bid for the

agricultural products division, it went from being the ninth largest

agro-chemical company in the world to being in the top three. Even

more important, BASF acquired Cyanamid’s vaunted marketing force in

Mount Olive to introduce its own crop-protection products.

The company cites "research efficiency" as the reason to concentrate

future research at its headquarters in Ludwigshafen/Limburgerhof,

Germany. Some development will take place there, and some at Research

Triangle Park in North Carolina. No information is available about

the value of longitudinal studies at Princeton’s location. "The

company has determined it can carry out the studies that they need

at the locations they are going to move to," says Sue O’Connor,

spokesperson for BASF at the Quakerbridge Road site.

BASF is a trans-national chemical company with the thrifty aim of

integrating its products: high-value chemicals, plastics, colorants

and pigments, dispersions, automotive and industrial coatings, agricultural

products, fine chemicals, crude oil, and natural gas. It has 103,000

employees worldwide and sales last year of about $34 billion. It has

a polymers division in Cranbury and another laboratory on Lower Ferry


If you were a researcher worried about your job, a glance at the company’s

listings at HotJobs.com could have foretold the tale. Of 56 jobs listed

in the United States, only one is for Princeton.

BASF/American Cyanamid Agricultural Products Research

Division (BF), Quakerbridge Road, Box 400, Princeton 08543-0400.

Jurgen Oldeweme, president. 609-716-2000; fax, 609-275-5234. Home

page: www.basf.com.

Top Of Page

Century 21 Rich Abrams & Associates, 666

Plainsboro Road, Building 200, Suite 200, Plainsboro 08536. Rich

Abrams, broker/owner. 609-750-7300; fax, 609-275-1099.

Rich Abrams has doubled the size of his real estate broker’s office in

five months. He opened in January with 1,800 square feet at Princeton

Meadows Office Center and is moving to nearly 4,000 square feet at

Plainsboro Plaza, a former seafood and steak restaurant. After the

move, expected to take place at the end of June, he will have 25

licenses and expects to have 50 by the end of the year.

"I am a poster child for starting at the bottom and working my way up to have my own business," says Abrams. "We have taken all our

experience and escalated into a very high profile office."

The son of a steel mill worker, Abrams graduated from Trenton State, now College of New Jersey, in 1978 "when the job market was tight: and

went to Rutgers for a master’s degree in human resources before going into real estate sales. He had just six sales that year, compared to

169 units in 2000.

Century 21 agents are known for wearing the company blazer. Abrams says this association with a firm that spends $40 million in national

advertising "breaks down the barrier. People feel more relaxed knowing who they are talking to. People feel more comfortable knowing that

they are working with a fully trained individual with corporate backing."

His biggest surprise, on opening his own office, was the cost of technology. "Nobody is allowed to work here without a computer, and

everyone has their own work station," says Abrams. Tony Nami of Prior Nami has provided the hardware and networking. The office manager is

Steve Fields.

Top Of Page
New in Town

Appliance Dealers Cooperative, 49 Sixth Street,

Center Point at 8A, Box 787, East Brunswick 08816. Helene R. Siegel,

executive director. 732-257-6665; fax, 732-257-8821.

The regional buying group will consolidate two smaller facilities

in East Brunswick and purchase a 204,000-foot facility at Center Point

at 8A. Matrix Development Group is building the facility on Matrix

Drive. The group is expected to take close the tax-deferred transaction

by October of this year.

Formed in 1972, the cooperative brings multi-billion-dollar buying

power to 87 smaller appliance retailers from northern Virginia to

Connecticut. It helps them stay competitive with larger chain stores.

Equitable Life Assurance, 168 Franklin Corner Road,

Building 2, Lawrenceville 08648. Robert J. Bunsa Jr., district manager.

609-620-0025; fax, 609-620-0026. Home page: www.equitable.com.

The insurance company expanded its regional office with a move within

the same building on Franklin Corner Road. It does retirement planning

for public school and nonprofit organizations.

Top Of Page
Contracts Awarded

Xechem Inc./Xechem International Inc. (ZKEM), 100

Jersey Avenue, Building B, Suite 310, New Brunswick 08901-3279. Ramesh

C. Pandey, chairman, president, CEO. 732-247-3300; fax, 732-247-4090.

Home page: www.xechem.com.

Xechem is suing the University of Texas over ownership and "correct

inventorship" of a patent on paclitaxel, the generic for Taxol

of Bristol-Myers Squibb. The co-researcher, UT’s M.D. Anderson Cancer

Center, had sought to negate a 1995 agreement granting Xechem some

production and licensing rights. At that time, Xechem had no money.

Now it does, and it wants to help supply the billion dollar market.


Top Of Page
Leaving Town

Gateway Country (GTW), 275 Route 18 South, East

Brunswick 08816. 732-698-2198; fax, 732-698-9019. Home page: www.gateway.com.

One year after moving its showroom into 30 Nassau Street in downtown

Princeton — and even while a huge billboard advertised its presence

on Route 1 — Gateway closed that shop and is referring business

to a store on Route 18 in East Brunswick. Last week a call to the

former Princeton store got a "disconnected" reply, not a forwarding


"Our chairman retook the CEO’s job in late January. On February

28 we announced a change with Wall Street analyst," says Greg

Lund, a spokesperson with the San Diego-based firm. "We changed

from a significant `store opening’ strategy, opening 80 to 100 stores

a year, to maximizing the stores that are opening and closing some

underperforming stores." In four years the company had opened

326 stores, and on March 6 it closed seven of them. The stores served

as showrooms for selling the made-to-order computer systems.

TRISH USA Corp., 379 Princeton-Hightstown Road,

East Windsor. Shandy Amin, CEO.

An 11-year-old software company has moved from Princeton Hightstown

Road and has canceled its telephone number here. It had a six-person

staff that customized and installed software for such clients as Lucent

Technologies, but most of its clients were in Brazil.

Top Of Page

Michael Ekizian, 62, on May 11. He was an English professor

with the College of New Jersey, a partner in Phoenix Books in Lambertville,

and past president of Delaware Valley Poets.

Greta Schmidt, 31, on May 12. She was a teacher’s assistant

at Grover Middle School in Plainsboro and had been a corporate

trainer at Bristol-Myers Squibb on Scudders Mill Road.

Next Story

Corrections or additions?

This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments