SJP Sells Commons For $75 Million

The two-building complex developed by SJP Properties at 7 and 9 Roszel Road, the Commons at West Windsor, has been sold. Jeff Dunne, who led the CB Richard Ellis team that represented the sellers and found the buyer, declined to name the price, but other sources say it was about $75 million.

The buyer, an entity controlled by United Banks of Switzerland (UBS) Realty Investors, was formerly Aetna Realty Advisors, the institutional pension fund advisor based in Hartford. Though SJP has no ownership position, it is still involved in leasing and management.

The 302,561 square-foot complex, formerly owned by SJP Properties and Prudential Realty Advisors, is fully leased, although from 55,000 to 80,000 feet are available to sublease. "$75 million is a large number," says Gerald Fennelly of NAI Fennelly, "but it’s in a premium location, and the buyer is an institution looking at an almost bond-rated yield. They’ll make a good yield for the first 10 years and then see what happens after that. And interest rates are so low that people can pay a little more." He suggests the price is in the same range as the Patrinely buildings at 100 and 150 College Road West, which also sold fully leased and fetched about $240 per square foot.

Designed by Hillier and built by Bovis Construction, this was one of the first speculative commercial office developments in Princeton in nearly a decade (U.S. 1, October 6, 1999). With an exterior of brick and limestone, it has inset balconies on all four sides and curves that create an 80-foot bay on each floor. The complex has redundant fiber optics and draws power from two different sub-stations.

Tyco picked up most of Merrill Lynch’s lease at both buildings and is moving into all of 9 Roszel (fronting Roszel Road) and the first floor of 7 Roszel, which has the cafeteria. Ray Sohmer of Insignia ESG (now CB Richard Ellis) represented Merrill Lynch on subleases to Tyco International Ltd., Clinphone, and the Ayers Group. Merrill Lynch retained its retail branch on the fourth floor, and other tenants include Korn Ferry International, and Pharmacia, though Pharmacia is expected to announce its departure.

"This is a win-win transaction," says Dunne, based in Stamford, Connecticut. "SJP and Prudential achieved all of their financial objectives, while UBS Realty Investors LLC bought one of the premier office assets in all of New Jersey."

#h#Home Depot Plans A Warehouse Move#/h#

The grass on the other side of the fence — or street — looks greener, especially when your landlord is building a new building to your exact specifications. Home Depot has a distribution warehouse on Cranbury Station Road at Exit 8A, but it will get a brand new $40 million building across the street, courtesy of Keystone Property Trust, by late next summer.

The current distribution center is 813,000 square feet and is located at 66 Cranbury Station Road, Cranbury 08512 (609-395-6820; fax, 609-395-3591). The new center will be 772,000 square feet. Why would a warehouse tenant want to move to a smaller space? Because the ceilings will be five feet higher, allowing for more efficient space usage. Ceilings that clear 32 feet are all the rage in today’s warehouse market. And the move will be relatively easy, since it’s just across the street.

Set on 87 acres, the new building will have 150 dock doors, 238 car-parking spaces, and 426 trailer-parking spaces. Home Depot serves 200 stores in the Northeast, and it has a 12-year lease. If Home Depot needs more space later, an additional 150,000 square feet can be added. In the Princeton area Home Depot has retail stores in Nassau Park, on Route 33 in East Windsor, and on Olden Avenue in Ewing.

The developer is an industrial real estate investment trust (REIT) based in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. It owns both Home Depot sites.

"We’re excited about this project," says John DiCola of Keystone. "We are able to meet the requirements of an existing tenant and a sophisticated user with a state-of-the-art project that will have market-leading specifications." Keystone has 4.4 million square feet at Exit 8A and 10 million square feet in New Jersey.

Home Depot, 66 Cranbury Station Road, Cranbury 08512. 609-395-6820; fax, 609-395-3591.

#h#Management Move#/h#

Digital 5 Inc., 101 Grovers Mill Road, Quakerbridge Executive Center, Suite 200, Lawrenceville 08648. David Dill, interim CEO. 609-243-0015; fax, 609-243-9231. Home page:www.digital5.com

Ron Stevens has resigned as president and CEO, and David Dill, chief financial officer, will serve as interim CEO of Digital 5, a supplier of licensed consumer electronics networking technology. In 1999 Stevens took over the company, founded by Ari Naim as Sycom Technologies Inc. in Ewing in 1991, when the company had 12 employees. This office now has 35 people.

He cites the pressures of travel for his decision. Stevens lives in San Francisco, has property in Florida, and sells to customers in Asia — and his company has offices in California and India.

This is the fifth start-up for Nova Scotia-born Stevens. He had been one of the founders of S3, now a $1 billion company, the largest graphics chip company in the world. Most recently he helped found California-based iCompression, a pioneer in the digital VCR market that was sold to GlobeSpan.

#h#Contracts Awarded#/h#

PharmaSeq Inc., 1 Deer Park Drive, Princeton Corporate Plaza, Suite F, Monmouth Junction 08852. Wlodek Mandecki, president. 732-355-0100; fax, 732-355-0102. Home page: www.pharmaseq.com

The biotechnology company has received a $100,000 SBIR Phase 1 grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund work on a cystic fibrosis mutation screening test. The test could help find ethnic group-specific diagnoses for a lethal disease of childhood. The diagnostic DNA test, based on patented technology for microtransponder-based assays, will test for several mutations causing cystic fibrosis.

"The NIH grant proves that the potential of our technology is recognized by both our peers and the leading government research organization," says Wlodek Mandecki, president of the seven-year-old firm. Microtransponders are the smallest, externally powered, integrated circuits that are capable of radio frequency transmission.

Mikros Systems Corp. (MKRS), 707 Alexander Road, Building 2, Suite 208, Box 7189, Princeton 08543. 609-987-1513; fax, 609-987-8114.

In August Mikros Systems won a $600,000 Phase II Small Business Innovative Research contract with the U.S. Navy’s Dahlgren Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center. Mikros will continue to develop its Multiple Function Distributed Analysis Tool.

Founded in 1978 in Albany, New York, Mikros uses microprocessor technology developed for General Electric for the defense industry. Its technology — a digital system for AM radio data transmission that allows the simultaneous broadcasting of the traditional radio signal and a digital signal — could enhance the data transmission rates for both AM and FM radio.

Mikros landed the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology’s first-ever Small Business and Innovation Research grant in 1993 and in 1996 was one of the first winners of a Small Business Administration innovation award. At one point Mikros employed 25 people at 3490 Route 1 North, but at last count the company had three people on Alexander Road, no revenues in first quarter of this year, and a net loss of $55,000 in that period.

#h#Stock News: Universal Display#/h#

Universal Display Corporation Inc. (PANL), 375 Phillips Boulevard, Ewing 08618. Steven Abramson, president. 609-671-0980; fax, 609-671-0995. Www.universaldisplay.com

Just announced: Universal Display Laboratories expects to raise $16.1 million in a registered common stock offering scheduled to close on Thursday, August 28. UDL will sell up to 2,012,500 shares of its stock at $8 per share to institutional investors. A prospectus is available from SG Cowen Securities Corporation, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York 10020. UDL develops flat panel, full color OLED displays. that can be built on opaque surfaces, such as telephones.

Thanks to increased revenues and a decrease in interest expense, Universal Display Corporation had a net loss of $4,092,994 (or $0.19 per share) for the quarter ending June 30, compared to a net loss of $5,577,787 for the same quarter last year. It earned $1.2 million from selling OLED materials for evaluation purposes during the six months ended June 30, 2003, compared to $177,893 for the same period in 2002.

Congoleum Corporation (CGM), 3500 Quakerbridge Road, Box 3127, Mercerville 08619. Roger Marcus, president, CEO. 609-584-3000; fax, 609-584-3685.

Instead of showing a profit of $800,000, as it did last year, Congoleum reported a loss of $2 million for the quarter ending June 30. Sales were down from $68 million in 2002 to $55 million this year, more than 19 percent. In the six month period they were down 13.8 percent from last year.

CEO Roger Marcus pointed to the "weakest manufactured housing market in years, softness in residential remodel demand, competitive pressures on margin and product mix driven by the poor economy, and increased costs for pensions, medical benefits, insurance, energy, and raw materials."

#h#New in Town#/h#

Dynamic Strategies Inc., 110 Melrich Road, Cranbury 08512. Joe Infante, managing partner. 888-777-9733; fax, 609-655-1708. Home page: www.dynamic-strategies.com

Dynamic Strategies, an information technology company, has moved from Farmingdale, New York, to Cranbury. The company provides a full range of computer services, including networking, security services, emergency support, help desk services, and outsourcing. Mary Durelli, administrative assistant, puts the number of staff members at this location at six, and says that 30 of Dynamic Strategies’ people work on-site at Rhodia.

Joe Infante, one of three managing directors, is in charge of the office, according to Durelli, who says the company’s clients include small and mid-size companies as well as large corporations.

22nd Century Technologies Inc., 186 Princeton-Hightstown Road, Building 3A, Princeton Junction 08550. Kulpreet Singh, technical recruiter. 609-799-1030; fax, 609-799-1031. Home page: www.22ndcenturytech.com

IT staffing companies have struggled for the past couple of years, but Kulpreet Singh says his company has turned the corner. "Last year we had 100 employees but had to cut back to 35 people. We have 50 employees now." He moved the company to Princeton Hightstown Road earlier this year.

Raised in Chandigarh (North India) Singh came to this country in 1999 and has a degree from Brookdale Community College in Lincroft. His programmers work in Oracle, Java, VBASB, and SAP, and he cites such clients as Citigroup, two departments of the State of Washington, CNA insurance, and Merrill Lynch.

"We bring people from off shore and place them in United States, and we also get people from the United States." The ratio of Americans to imported workers is about 50/50, says Singh, who is proud of the fact that he does no marketing. "Once we have a consultant, the client asks for more people from us."

Verto Institute, 303B College Road East, Princeton 08540. Evan Vosburgh, vice president. 609-419-9000.

As much a philanthropy as a business, the Verto Institute, a research institute dedicated to finding a cure for a neuro-endocrine cancer, has begun life at College Road East. A five-person organization, with plans to build to 14, the Verto Institute is headed up by Evan Vosburgh, who also maintains an office in Connecticut.

Research into the disease, which affects 5,000 people in the United States each year, has been conducted in labs all over the world. The new institute is an effort to build tools for researchers to use in studying the disease. The institute’s scientists plan to give the disease to mice and then to distribute the mice to researchers.

At this point, the institute has no plans to commercialize a drug itself, although a scientist at the institute says that there could be potential in the fact that Novartis’ drug to treat the disease, a drug that generates about $500,000 a year, is about to come off patent.

#h#Crosstown Moves#/h#

Council of Ivy Group Presidents, 330 Alexander Street, Princeton 08544. Jeffrey Orleans, executive director. 609-258-6426; fax, 609-258-1690. Home page: www.ivyleaguesports.com

The Council for Ivy Group Presidents has moved from 330 Alexander Street to 228 Alexander Street. The organization, involved in athletic administration for Ivy League schools, is affiliated with Princeton University.

#h#Deaths#/h#

Joseph Robert Corio , 51, on August 19. He had worked for Princeton University, and the Institute for Advanced Study.

Frank J. Pasquito , 67, on August 19. He had a custom building firm in Lawrenceville.

Sharon L. Ansen-Hunt, 47, on August 19. She and her husband owned Keith L. Hunt, Home Inspection Services.

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