Edison Partners, the venture capital company, now has a new office to go along with the new senior management team that has taken the reins over the last two years (U.S. 1, August 27, 2014). Edison has moved from its Lenox Drive office to new quarters at the under-renovation office building at 281 Witherspoon Street.

The building formerly housed medical offices associated with Princeton Hospital. Since the hospital’s move to Route 1 in Plainsboro, 281 Witherspoon has been converted by developer Herring Properties into a multipurpose office building. There are three doctors’ offices on the first floor, and Edison is the first commercial tenant, taking up the entire third floor.

“It’s modern, it’s bright, and it’s an entirely different vibe,” said Kelly Ford Buckley, a partner at Edison. “We’ve been through some change and a changing of the guard.” Buckley said the new location was “an exciting version 2.0 move.”

Last year, the company changed its name from “Edison Ventures” to “Edison Partners,” and Chris Sugden became the managing partner as founder John Martinson stepped aside.

Edison is known for investing in high tech companies, and Buckley said the new office, with its open layout, resembles the early stage companies Edison works with, and which Buckley worked for before joining Edison two years ago. In a Silicon Valley touch, the new office even has a ping-pong table.

“It’s more conducive to teaming and collaboration,” Buckley said. “It made more sense to have a space that felt more like us and the future of the firm.”

Jamie Herring, owner of Herring Properties, has plans for the rest of the building, too. He has almost finished renovating the entrance of the red brick building, and is currently overhauling the office space on the second floor, which is intended for multiple tenants with suites from 1,500 to 8,000 square feet. Herring said the project will have cost about $3 million when all is said and done.

He also wants to knock down an adjacent small wood-frame office building and replace it with a more modern structure on the same footprint, but with a footbridge connecting the two. Each of its two stories, plus the basement, will boast 8,000 square feet of space. He said several retail clients, including a restaurant with outdoor seating, were interested in the ground floor.

Edison Partners, 281 Witherspoon Street, Suite 300, Princeton 08540; 609-896-1900; fax, 609-896-0066. Chris Sugden, managing partner. www.edisonpartners.com.

#b#Princeton University Must Prove Non-Profit Status#/b#

A judge has ruled that Princeton University bears the burden of proof in a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the school’s nonprofit status and make it pay property taxes as if it were a commercial enterprise.

Attorney Bruce Afran is representing four Princeton residents in the suit. The group alleges that the university is not a nonprofit institution because it engages in technology commercialization agreements with corporations.

Judge Vito Bianco’s ruling appears to hand Afran an advantage in the long-running legal battle.

Fields vs. Trustees of Princeton University contends that the university is a for-profit entity partly because it shares patent royalties from inventions with faculty members. The plaintiffs cite the university’s licensing the drug Alimta to Eli Lilly. According to the lawsuit, the school has netted more than half a billion dollars between 2005 and 2012, mostly from Eli Lilly.

In February Bianco declined to dismiss the lawsuit. The university has argued that if it loses the suit, all kinds of nonprofit institutions, including hospitals, schools, charities, and churches, would be threatened by property taxes.

In June, in a separate case, Bianco ruled that the Morristown Medical Center, a hospital, had to pay some property taxes because of its relationships with for-profit companies and ownership of for-profit doctors’ offices. “If it is true that all nonprofit hospitals operate like the Hospital in this case, as was the testimony here, then for purposes of the property-tax exemption, modern nonprofit hospitals are essentially legal fictions,” he wrote.

#b#$20 Million Gift To Institute#/b#

Billionaire philanthropist David M. Rubenstein has given $20 million to the Institute for Advanced Study, the independent research center where he is a trustee. The Institute said in a press release that it will use the gift to build a new building called Rubenstein Commons on its campus on Olden Lane in Princeton.

Rubenstein made his fortune as co-founder of the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm established in 1987 that now manages assets of more than $200 billion.

The institute intends to use the Commons, located near Fuld Hall, as a place where permanent faculty and visiting scholars can interact. It will have a conference space, meeting rooms, a lounge with a cafe, and office space. The IAS had an endowment of $741 million as of 2014.

“This incredible donation to create the Rubenstein Commons is important and inspirational in so many ways,” said institute director Robbert Dijkgraaf in a prepared statement. “David’s visionary philanthropy will enable the institute to beautifully enhance its unique and optimal environment for scholars to collaborate, socialize and work. There is a crucial need for such a resource here at the institute, and we are grateful for David’s commitment to our mission and his belief in the benefits that this new building will yield for years to come.”

Rubenstein was born in Baltimore, where his father was a post office worker and his mother was a housewife. He studied at Duke and the University of Chicago, where he was editor of the law review, and was a noted lawyer before he entered business.

Rubenstein was chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments. During the Carter administration, he was a presidential advisor on domestic policy.

The Carlyle Group is involved in asset management, financial services and real estate in addition to its private equity business. The company owns Dunkin Donuts, Booz Allen Hamilton, Getty Images, and other businesses. It is also politically connected, with George H.W. Bush once serving as adviser to the company.

Rubenstein has donated more than $300 million to various causes, including a $50 million donation to the Kennedy Center in 2013 and numerous donations to his alma mater, Duke. He gave $7.5 million to help repair the Washington Monument in 2012. He has also bought historically significant documents, including a copy of the Magna Carta for $21.3 million and a copy of the Bay of Psalm Book for $14.1 million.

#b#New in Town#/b#

Sciencast Management, 212 Carnegie Center, Suite 100, Princeton 08540; 609-917-3298; Jordan Dermon, chief operating officer.

A new hedge fund, Sciencast, has opened in Carnegie Center. The fund specializes in quantitative strategies, specifically statistical arbitrage. The founders, Jordan Dermon and Qing Lee, worked at Barclays previously, and founded the $50 million fund almost a year ago.


An article in the September 16 issue of U.S. 1 misstated the origin of Frauscher Sensor Technology USA, which recently took up an office at 300 Carnegie Center. The firm is Austrian, not German as reported. Frauscher makes sensors for the railroad industry.


Kathleen T. McCue, 54. She was a medical device sales and marketing consultant, most recently for G.E. Healthcare.

Philip S. Collins, 86, on October 29. An architect who launched his career by designing the New Jersey State Pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair, he later was a founder of CUH2A, the architecture and engineering firm.

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