Commodities Traders

NRG Begins Move-In

Trouble at MIIX

Crosstown Moves


Corrections or additions?

These articles by Barbara Fox were prepared for the September 8,

2004 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

On the Move

Wyeth has sold the former American Cyanamid property at Route 1 and

Quakerbridge Road to the Rouse Corporation at a bargain price – $35

million or about $53,600 per acre, significantly less than the $160

million that had been predicted.

On the 653 acres are buildings amounting to 886,000 square feet, but

current zoning would allow as much as 1.5 million square feet of

research, office, and manufacturing space – but no residential space.

Factors affecting the lower price include potential zoning problems in

West Windsor Township, a constrained economy, limited highway access,

and renovation costs that will probably begin with razing the existing

buildings. The deal went through in late June.

American Home Products had bought the agricultural division of

American Cyanamid in 1994. It changed its name to the name of its

pharmaceutical division, Wyeth. Wyeth sold the division to

Germany-based BASF in 2000 but kept the valuable real estate. When

BASF closed the facility in 2002, Wyeth began to work with Rouse to

develop the property.

Meanwhile Rouse itself is being sold for $12.6 billion to what will be

the biggest shopping center company in the United States, General

Growth Properties. The purchase of Rouse adds 37 malls to General

Growth’s portfolio of 170 regional shopping malls. Rouse also comes

with six mixed-use projects and four community centers.

The Rouse Corporation has been influencing Princeton real estate for

more than 20 years. Princeton University commissioned Rouse analysts

to study Palmer Square before it sold its interest in the Square to a

university alumnus, Arthur Collins, in 1982. Recently Barry Rabner,

CEO of the University Medical Center at Princeton, had talked to Rouse

about the possibility of relocating the hospital to part of the

653-acre Wyeth property.

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Commodities Traders

Rene Francoeur and Serge Picard moved their commodities trading firm

from Hoboken to 1,200 square feet at 103 Carnegie Center in August.

The five-person firm trades power and natural gas, mainly in the

northeast. It is among the 500 firms in this field that are listed

with the Federal Energy Regulation Commission. The third managing

director, David Holder, works from the Pittsburgh office.

Both managers in Princeton are 1995 graduates of the University Laval

in Quebec City. When their company began in 2003, they came to the

United States to have better access to capital, a better tax climate,

and an open market. Determined to be at the Carnegie Center, they

negotiated directly with the landlord, Mack Cali.

Princeton happens to have several important energy firms – North

American Electric Reliability Council, for instance, and the newly

arriving NRG Energy, which has just occupied the first floor at 104

Carnegie Center as it waits for its own building to be ready – but the

real reason the pair moved out of Hoboken was to get a more suburban

environment for their children. As French-speaking Canadians, they are

looking forward to enrolling their children in the bilingual school,

Ecole Francais de Princeton, and in hockey leagues at Iceland.

The company name, Black Oak, came from the name of a transformer

station that comes to the attention of Francoeur and Picard on a daily

basis. But unlike entrepreneurs who spend months comparing and

deciding on a name and a logo, they made this decision quickly.

"Instead, we spent our time focusing on our business plan and the real

issues for a start-up company," says Picard.

Black Oak Energy, 103 Carnegie Center, Suite 115,

Princeton 08540. 609-275-7260; fax, 609-275-7263. Home page:

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NRG Begins Move-In

NRG has begun to occupy temporary offices at 104 Carnegie Center,

though most of the staff are spending a lot of time in the sky,

commuting between Minneapolis and Princeton. Later this fall the

energy company will occupy its headquarters building at 211 Carnegie

Center, once the home of the CUH2A architectural firm.

NRG Energy Inc., 104 Carnegie Center, Suite 100,

Princeton 08540. David Crane, president and CEO. 609-524-4500. Home


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Trouble at MIIX

Concerned that the Medical Inter-Insurance Exchange (MIIX) will not

have enough money to pay all the outstanding claims, the New Jersey

Department of Banking and Insurance has asked the courts to let the

state take a more active role in the affairs of the floundering

medical malpractice insurance firm.

On August 24, says Mary Cozzolino, assistant commissioner of public

affairs, the department asked for court intervention. The proposed

intervention is not a liquidation, state officials say, and it would

apply only to the 27-year-old MIIX. Superior Court Judge Neil H.

Shuster of Mercer County’s Chancery Division named Commissioner Holly

C. Bakke as the rehabilitator.

Company officials issued a statement on August 24 that MIIX had not

consented to this plan. They have until September 14 to submit proof

that intervention is not needed.

MIIX was founded as a reciprocal insurance exchange providing medical

malpractice insurance for doctors in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. At a

time when major insurance companies were leaving the market, the

Medical Society of New Jersey worked with the state to create a

physician-supported insurance company to underwrite professional

liability insurance. In 1997 it went public on the New York Stock

Exchange and made the largest distribution of stock to policyholders

of any medical professional liability insurer, with the average

physician receiving stock worth $15,000 at that time (U.S. 1, November

20, 2002).

Then it expanded to other states. At its peak MIIX had 36 percent of

the market share in New Jersey, but 50 percent of its business was

written outside of the state. Meanwhile in the late 1990s the median

jury award more than doubled, and defense costs escalated.

MIIX had to take a huge amount from its reserves in the fourth quarter

of 2001 to pay claims and though it pledged to pay all existing

claims, it stopped selling new policies. A new company,

MIIX/Advantage, was formed in 2002 to write policies just for New

Jersey doctors. Neither MIIX/Advantage nor the MIIX Group would be

affected by the state’s intervention.

Presumably, the state would try to cut costs at MIIX while still

paying out on claims. As of last March, about 90 people worked at the

combined companies.

The MIIX Group Inc. (MHU), 2 Princess Road, Lawrenceville

08648-2382. Patricia Costante, CEO. 609-896-2404; fax, 609-896-2910.

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Crosstown Moves

Pennington Post, 20 West Franklin Street, Box 703,

Pennington 08534-0703. Mary McGill, editor. 609-737-3379; fax,

609-737-8126. Home page:

On August 2 the Pennington Post moved from 4 South Main Street to

another location in Pennington. It belongs to the Journal Register,

which also owns the Trentonian newspaper.

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Randstad North America, 10 Corporate Place South,

Piscataway 08854. Andy Tripoli, manager. 609-716-1122; fax,


The staffing firm that was formerly owned by P.J. Dempsey has moved

from 34 Washington Road to a temporary office in Piscataway.

Meanwhile, a new office is being prepared at Forrestal Village. The

609 area code phones still work during this transitional period.

In 1984 Dempsey and a business partner founded Morgan Mercedes. In

1996 she moved to 5,000 feet at 34 Washington Road so she would have

enough space to open a childcare center for temporary employees. Two

years later she sold the business to Placers, a subsidiary of Acustaff

(U.S. 1, January 21, 1998).

Now it is owned by Randstad, currently has three employees, and does

not need space for a child care center. The Randstad Group leads its

market in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and southeastern United


Pennington Consulting Group, Yardley PA. Robert B. White,

president. 215-493-8312; fax, 215-493-0664.

Robert White does executive search, consulting, and recruiting for

wireless telecommunications firms. In response to the downturn in that

industry, he moved his office from 65 South Main in Pennington to 68

North Main in Yardley. Phone and fax are new. He founded his firm in


Altimatia LLC, 16 Elm Ridge Road, Pennington 08534. David

M. Gange, president. 609-730-1800; fax, 609-730-1818. Home page:

David Gange moved his office at 65 South Main Street in Pennington to

a home office in Elm Ridge Park. "I wasn’t taking advantage of the

space," he says. "At a national meeting, the consensus among patent

agents was that it is not worth it to pay for office space. It is

better to work with a wireless laptop and go where the customer is."

Gange started his firm in June, 2003. A chemistry major at Tulane,

Class of 1977, with a PhD from Ohio State, he did postdoctoral study

at Columbia and spent 13 years at American Cyanamid. Then he worked

for a small biotech firm on Deer Park Drive and a software firm in

Parsippany. Among his first clients is a small biotech start-up, and

he also supports his new business by consulting to a couple of law


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