ROSELAND, NJ — National law firm Lowenstein Sandler has signed a long-term lease for 170,000 s/f at 56 Livingston Ave. in Roseland. Owned by joint venture partners Mountain Development Corp. (MDC) and Square Mile Capital (Square Mile), the property formerly served as the headquarters of Organon International, a pharmaceutical company acquired by Merck in 2009. MDC and Square Mile have repositioned the property for class A tenancy.
David Simson, of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, represented the tenant in the transaction.
Lowenstein Sandler will be the marquee long-term tenant at the 433,945 s/f building, set on a 56-acre campus. In collaboration with ownership, the space Lowenstein Sandler has leased will be custom developed to meet the firm’s specifications. The firm is consolidating its New Jersey office and firm-wide administrative center into the new location and is scheduled to move to the property in 2017.
Originally developed by Prudential at the insurer’s former corporate satellite campus, the building was later totally renovated as the U.S. headquarters of Organon International at a cost exceeding $50 million. MDC and Square Mile acquired the property from Merck in 2012 for $20 million.
“This is not just a deal. It’s a collaboration. When we first saw 56 Livingston Avenue, we were struck by its size, scale, and quality of design,” said Michael Seeve, MDC’s president. “We knew it was the ideal corporate home for sophisticated tenants with unique needs unmet by ordinary space. Lowenstein is that kind of tenant, and we are working together to assure that we fill out the rest of the building with equally prestigious co-tenants.”
Square Mile principal Matthew Drummond added, “Clearly 56 Livingston Avenue is one of Northern New Jersey’s finest office properties. Well located right on the I-280 corridor in a beautiful campus setting, it has already served two major companies very well, and the MDC/Square Mile venture has modernized and repositioned this irreplaceable asset to serve the top end of the market. As evidenced by the two leases now in place, 56 Livingston can easily accommodate both large and smaller space users from various industry sectors in an attractive multi-tenant environment. We recognized this when we decided to enter into this, our second venture with MDC, and we have great confidence in the ultimate success of this partnership.”
The new Lowenstein offices, with interiors to be custom designed by Manhattan-based Marner & Associates, will create a fully branded building within a building, which features its own tree-lined “boulevard” dubbed Lowenstein Way, leading to Lowenstein’s own private, grand entryway. Lowenstein will occupy the entire third floor as well as its own vertical townhouse. Under the terms of the lease, the landlord and tenant will share the cost of the renovation, as well as major upgrades to the building overall.
“We’re creating inviting, efficient and technology-rich offices here in a wooded natural environment,” said Gary Wingens, chairman and managing partner of Lowenstein Sandler. “The space will reflect the intense energy and collaborative nature of our firm, which, along with the terrific amenity package, will certainly help us recruit and retain top talent,” continued Wingens. “We learned an enormous amount from the recent expansion and remodeling of our Rockefeller Center offices, and we plan to bring much of that learning to New Jersey, while adapting it to the beauty of the local environment.”
David Simson of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, calls the lease a win-win-win. “The tenant, the owners and the township all netted huge benefits,” he said, “Lowenstein can consolidate their operations into great space offering their long-term vision and objectives, MDC and Square Mile can turn around a huge property and attract additional high-end tenants, and Roseland will retain its outstanding corporate presence.”
Brown & Brown, the international insurance company, currently occupies 29,500 s/f at 56 Livingston Ave. Mountain expects them and Lowenstein Sandler to be joined by other leading professional firms in the remaining 130,000 s/f of available space. Extensive upgrades, including renovations of the kitchen, cafe and event area, executive dining spaces, meeting rooms, fitness center, terraces, main entryway and lobby, are planned. In addition to a full package of high-end amenities, tenants will be supported by the building’s state-of-the-art infrastructure.