Cushman & Wakefield arranges $650m sale-leaseback of Verizon Ops. Center

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Basking Ridge, NJ — Cushman & Wakefield has closed a sale-leaseback transaction valued at $650.3 million for the 1.4-million s/f Verizon operations center in Basking Ridge. The Cushman & Wakefield team was led by its real estate investment banking group in combination with the company’s New York brokerage and New Jersey investment sales teams.

Cushman & Wakefield acted as financial advisor and placement agent for Verizon on the transaction, which represents the largest sale-leaseback ever completed in suburban NJ.

Also, the sale value represents one of the highest sales prices per square foot of any suburban sale-leaseback in the United States.

The facility, which employs 3,900 full-time employees, was acquired by Mesirow Realty Sale-Leaseback, Inc., a division of Mesirow Financial, a diversified financial services firm headquartered in Chicago.

As part of the transaction, Verizon will lease back the entire facility from Mesirow for a 20-year term. The campus houses a full range of businesses within Verizon Communications and also serves as headquarters for Verizon’s wireless unit.

“This real estate deal provides our company with immediate financial benefits and allows us to extract significant value from this asset while continuing to occupy the entirety of its office space,” said John Vazquez, senior vice president and head of global real estate for Verizon. “Cushman & Wakefield achieved our strategic objectives by maximizing value and flexibility through the best possible deal structure.”

Led by Rotchford, the Cushman & Wakefield investment banking team included David Wenk, Robert Elms and Mark Todrys. They worked in conjunction with both Kuriloff and with David Bernhaut, vice chairman of the Cushman & Wakefield capital markets group in New Jersey. Cushman & Wakefield maintains its relationship with Verizon through its Corporate Occupier and Investor Services (CIS) group.

The Verizon team was led by Vazquez and included James Tousignant and Robert Haines, as well as internal Verizon counsel Steven Cohen. DLA Piper served as counsel for Verizon under the leadership of Mark Hurel.

Mesirow Realty Sale-Leaseback, Inc. was led by Garry Cohen and Douglas Barker with legal representation by Goldberg Kohn.

After acquiring the headquarters in 2005, Verizon made a significant investment undertaking an extensive upgrade to create a world-class headquarters.

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