The New Jersey Center of Excellence in Bridgewater — Courtesy: Advance Realty
By Joshua Burd
An acclaimed life sciences campus in Bridgewater with some 800,000 square feet of research, manufacturing and office space is on the market — with the potential to sell for $500 million.
Brokers with JLL are marketing the eight-building complex at 1021 Route 202/206, touting a property that is 98 percent leased to the likes of Nestlé Health Sciences, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Ashland and PTC Therapeutics. Those tenants account for more than 80 percent of the leased square footage at the campus, the brokerage team said, noting that the site has approvals in place for an additional research and development building.
Known as the New Jersey Center of Excellence at Bridgewater, the nearly 33-acre property is part of a former Sanofi U.S. research hub and among the state’s most high-profile assets in the supply-constrained lab and R&D market.
“The New Jersey Center of Excellence provides investors the opportunity to control a large, state-of-the-art life science campus with credit tenancy, and the ability to add value through rent growth, additional development and lab conversion potential,” JLL wrote in its offering announcement. The firm noted that triple-net base rents at the 793,545-square-foot campus are 380 percent higher than those signed in 2013.
The offering comes nearly three years after Thor Equities purchased the campus from Advance Realty Investors and CrossHarbor Capital Partners, which repurposed a large swath of the 110-acre property. That project followed news nearly a decade ago that Sanofi, the French pharmaceutical giant, was relocating its R&D arm to the Boston area, leaving a trove of high-end lab and office space across several interconnected buildings that Advance and CrossHarbor would repopulate with multiple tenants.
The Center of Excellence also has an on-site central utility plant that provides significant efficiency and redundancy to its tenants, JLL said. Other features include a recently upgraded cafeteria, a modern fitness center, an auditorium, conference areas and covered parking.
The marketing team — which includes JLL’s Dan Loughlin, Jose Cruz, Kevin O’Hearn, Michael Oliver, Steve Simonelli and David Sitt — added that tenants at the Center of Excellence “have made considerable investment into their spaces, supporting renewals going forward.” That includes Nestlé’s recent conversion of a vivarium to a high-end nutritional laboratory with a pilot plant and Class A offices for scientists and other staff.
The life sciences market in northern and central New Jersey is among the tightest in the nation, they added, with some 2 million square feet of tenant requirements in the market for only 245,000 square feet of space currently available.
“The life science sector has shown tremendous growth over the past few years, vastly outpacing the office market,” JLL wrote. “Established life science markets nationally have averaged 63 percent rent growth over the past five years.”
The JLL team on the assignment also includes Alexander Alfier providing analytical support and leasing brokers Robert Ryan and Craig Eisenhardt, along with Greg Nalbandian from the firm’s debt and equity group.