7 Powder Horn Drive in Warren — Courtesy: Newmark Knight Frank
By Joshua Burd
An investment firm has expanded its New Jersey life sciences portfolio with the acquisition of a research facility in Somerset County, in a transaction arranged by Newmark Knight Frank.
Brokers with the firm represented the sellers, Ivy Realty and Waterfall Asset Management, in their disposition of 7 Powder Horn Drive in Warren. Thor Equities paid an undisclosed sum for the 181,210-square-foot building, which has been occupied by Celgene Corp. for more than 30 years and underwent a series of renovations last year amid a recent lease extension.
NKF Executive Managing Director Kevin Welsh, Managing Director Brian Schulz and Associate Jason Emrani completed the assignment for the firm’s Rutherford-based capital markets team in the region, with support from Executive Managing Director Steven Schultz and Director Dan Reider. The team was also responsible for procuring the buyer, while NKF’s debt and structured finance group arranged acquisition financing.
“We are very proud to close our third major life science deal in New Jersey in the past two years,” said Jonathan Scheinberg and Bill Hunter, co-heads of Thor’s life science platform. “We are especially excited to acquire a first-class biological commercialization/production facility occupied by the likes of Celgene (and) Bristol-Myers Squibb.”
The deal follows Thor’s acquisition last year of The New Jersey Center of Excellence, a 783,500-square-foot life sciences campus on Route 202/206 in Bridgewater, from Advance Realty Investors and CrossHarbor Capital Partners. NKF also brokered the $152 million transaction, which marked the launch of Thor’s life sciences platform.
The Warren property is fully leased to Celgene and Bristol-Myers Squibb, its parent company after a $74 billion merger last year. Celgene recently expanded by 107,000 square feet to accommodate its growth, as the now-former owners installed a new roof, performed site work and completed HVAC upgrades.
“Being situated in New Jersey’s most concentrated life sciences hub, along with the property’s specialized infrastructure, attracted investors to this rare opportunity,” Welsh said. “Investor demand for life sciences facilities has substantially increased in the real estate market during the pandemic. 7 Powder Horn ideally supplements Thor’s growing life sciences portfolio, which includes the Center of Excellence in Bridgewater.”
According to NKF research, 7 Powder Horn is part of 8.8 million square feet of specialized life facilities throughout northern and central New Jersey. Vacancy for the asset class is 15.3 percent, which reflects a 10 percent decline over the past five years, while employment in the life sciences industry in New Jersey increased by 6.9 percent to 80,376 over the past two years.