One MetLife Way in Whippany, the newly opened global headquarters of MetLife Investments — Courtesy: Vision Real Estate Partners
By Joshua Burd
MetLife Investments’ newly completed headquarters attracted a sale price of $95 million, in a recently announced deal that culminated of high-profile redevelopment effort in Hanover.
The developer and seller, a joint venture of Vision Real Estate Partners and Rubenstein Partners, offered new details Friday about the sale of the property. The 185,000-square-foot complex, which opened last month, was acquired by Salus Government Properties.
The sale marked the end of an acclaimed, five-year project to readapt a former Alcatel-Lucent campus in the township’s Whippany section. The 194-acre project included razing most of the 1.4 million-square-foot, obsolete complex and building a state-of-the-art East Coast headquarters for Bayer Healthcare, giving way to the to build-to-suit project for MetLife Investments.
The redeveloped campus now has nearly 1.1 million square feet in developed and approved space for MetLife and Bayer, the joint venture said, effectively replacing the Alcatel-Lucent offices that were shuttered in 2009.
“Throughout the process we have worked alongside first-class municipal, investment and service partners, and — of course — blue chip tenants,” Ross Chomik, managing partner with Vision Real Estate Partners, said in a prepared statement. “The outcome at 67 Whippany Road validates the premise that if developers can acquire real estate at a basis that enables the investment required to redevelop it in a first-class manner — they can create next-generation assets focused on sustainability and quality of life.”
“Everybody wins — the developer, the tenants and the municipality.”
A Cushman & Wakefield team led by Robert Donnelly, Rob Donnelly Jr. and Marc Rosenberg represented ownership throughout the entire process and was instrumental in each transaction, according to a news release from the joint venture. The firm’s Metropolitan Area Capital Markets Group — headed by Andrew Merin, David Bernhaut, Gary Gabriel and Brian Whitmer — also were involved in leading the Salus Government Properties and Bayer sales.
In 2015, a Cushman’s Equity, Debt & Structured Finance team of John Alascio, Alex Hernandez and John Spreitzer advised Vision Real Estate Partners and Rubenstein Partners in arranging a $54 million construction loan for the development of what is now One MetLife Way.
“We believe that this transaction demonstrates the continuing appeal of high demographic suburban areas to major corporate tenants when the right product is made available to them,” said Eric Schiela, managing principal and chief operating officer of Rubenstein Partners. “We bought this obsolete asset in a solid, infill location and, along with our partner and tenants, and the cooperation and support of the township, methodically undertook the hard work of transforming it into a modern, Class A environment.
“We are pleased to bring this complex investment to a successful conclusion that contributes best quality space to Hanover Township and the Morris County office market.