170 Park Ave. in Florham Park — Courtesy: CBRE
By Joshua Burd
An investment firm has sold a corporate headquarters and life sciences building in Florham Park for nearly $47 million, under a transaction announced Wednesday by CBRE.
The brokerage team, which represented the undisclosed seller, said JLL Income Property Trust acquired the fully leased, 147,215-square-foot complex at 170 Park Ave. The real estate investment trust paid $46.6 million for the property, which is home to the biotechnology company Celularity Inc. after a high-profile renovation about two years ago.
CBRE’s Jeffrey Dunne, Jeremy Neuer, Steve Bardsley, David Gavin, Gene Pride, Travis Langer and Zach McHale of the firm’s institutional properties group completed the deal in partnership with Tom Sullivan, a senior vice president in the firm’s East Brunswick office. Matthew Schiller of Murphy Schiller & Wilkes LLP also represented the seller.
“The seller, Celularity and the entire design/construction team in partnership truly created one of the most advanced life sciences facilities in the country,” said Dunne, a vice chairman with CBRE. “JLL Income Property Trust fully understood the uniqueness and high-quality of the asset would be an excellent addition to its portfolio of geographically diverse, core assets.”
CBRE noted that Celularity, a spinoff of Celgene Corp., occupies the entire building on a long-term basis. The company relocated there in spring 2019 as part of a high-profile lease brokered by Transwestern Commercial Services and Colliers International.
The building serves as Celularity’s headquarters, lab and manufacturing facility and was previously a vacant office building before a complete overhaul by its former owner. According to CBRE, the property now houses some of the most advanced laboratory and manufacturing space for cellular medicine and biomaterials in the country.
“The buyer pool for life sciences is very deep and this asset was no exception,” said Neuer, an executive vice president with CBRE. “Given LaSalle’s ownership of another building nearby, this was a natural acquisition target for them.”
The Rock Brook Consulting Group provided professional engineering design services alongside the architecture firm, Gensler, which designed and documented the architectural interiors. Turner Construction Co. led the design-build partnership for the project.
The property is part of the mixed-use, 270-acre campus known as The Green at Florham Park. For JLL Income Property Trust, the building is the latest addition to a portfolio that spans 85 properties valued at $3.5 billion, the REIT said.
“Within the office sector our priority investments are health care oriented, focusing on medical office and life science properties,” said Allan Swaringen, CEO and president of JLL Income Property Trust. “In a post-COVID environment of eroding fundamentals for traditional multitenant office properties, these two health care-oriented sectors stand out for their lower vacancy rates, healthy net absorption and balanced new supply due to significant barriers to entry because of higher construction and tenant improvement costs. These factors also lead to higher tenant retention even during periods of weakness within traditional office market environments.”
Swaringen added: “While we are excited about expanding our health care allocation, we were also attracted to acquiring 170 Park Avenue significantly below replacement cost and with tenant and prior owner-funded improvements to the building in excess of $80 million. Celularity’s improvements resulted in 170 Park housing some of the most advanced laboratory and manufacturing space for cellular medicine and biomaterials in the country.”
The deal follows CBRE’s sale last year of Park Avenue at Morris County, a nearby 1.2 million-square-foot office campus at 100-600 Campus Drive, also in Florham Park. The $311 million deal marked New Jersey’s largest suburban, multitenant office sale since 2008.