99 Wood Ave. South in Iselin — Courtesy: Cushman & Wakefield
By Joshua Burd
Mack-Cali Realty Corp. has sold four office buildings in the Metropark submarket for $254 million, as it sheds another key piece of its once-sprawling suburban portfolio.
The real estate investment trust said the buildings, which total 945,906 square feet, include 99 and 101 Wood Ave. South in the Iselin section of Woodbridge and 333 and 343 Thornall St. in Edison. Investment firm Opal Holdings purchased the portfolio, which is currently more than 90 percent leased to blue-chip tenants.
“This sale marks a key milestone in our strategy to sell non-core suburban office assets, which we expect to substantially complete in the near future,” Mack-Cali CEO Mahbod Nia said. “I commend the team’s focus and tireless efforts to bring such a significant transaction across the finish line despite the challenges of the current environment.”
The REIT’s plan to divest of its suburban office holdings is several years in the making, as it looks to focus on its flagship Harborside complex in Jersey City and its growing multifamily portfolio and construction pipeline. It also completed upgrades at the Metropark portfolio in 2018 as part of a plan at the time to reinvest in its higher-end suburban assets.
It now plans to use proceeds from the portfolio sale to pay down its unsecured corporate debt during the second quarter of 2021, the company said.
“We have made significant strides in executing our plan to divest non-core assets at a rapid pace,” said Ricardo Cardoso, executive vice president and chief investment officer of the Jersey City-based REIT. “Most importantly, we have not sacrificed value in these dispositions, and are continuing to make progress on finalizing sale terms on the remainder of our non-core commercial assets.
“This deal was an enormous collaboration among various teams, and I am thrilled with the partnership and joint efforts which brought it to completion. Opal Holdings moved fast to take this opportunity to add to their Metropark holdings and worked hard to successfully close.”
The deal comes seven months after Opal Holdings purchased 194 Wood Ave. South, a neighboring 470,692-square-foot office building, from AIG for $140 million.
The Cushman & Wakefield team of Andy Merin, David Bernhaut, Gary Gabriel, Frank DiTommaso and Seth Zuidema, in conjunction with Adam Spies and Kevin Donner the firm’s New York office and leasing specialists Todd Elfand and Kevin Carton, represented Mack-Cali in selling the four-building portfolio.
“The sale of this Class A portfolio will potentially be one of the largest suburban office trades New Jersey sees this year,” said Merin, an executive vice chairman at C&W. “We have a longstanding relationship with Mack-Cali, and we appreciate their trust in our team’s ability to continually deliver results that help further execute their greater business plan.”