Onyx Equities has tapped design firm HLW to craft two potential redevelopment concepts for Summit East, the 640,000-square-foot former Celgene Corp. campus in Summit, including the repurposing of nine interior buildings into one customized, 190,000-square-foot modern office building with ample landscaping and parking. — Courtesy: HLW
By Joshua Burd
Onyx Equities and JLL have unveiled new plans and new possibilities for the sprawling former Celgene Corp. campus in Summit, where they’re now marketing two high-end office buildings and a redevelopment site at the heart of the nearly 640,000-square-foot property.
Now branded Summit East, the Morris Avenue complex is currently home to 11 buildings, nine of which “may be reconfigured or redeveloped for virtually any purpose,” according to the landlord and leasing team. New renderings by design firm HLW show two of those options:
- Razing the nine interior buildings to maximize green recreational space, encouraging community engagement across a dynamically programmed great lawn
- Redeveloping the nine interior buildings into one customized, 190,000-square-foot modern office property with ample landscaping and parking
Both concepts maintain two newly renovated office buildings currently on the 46-acre site, which include a combined 345,000 square feet and a bevy of modern amenity spaces.
“This opportunity offers two of the best Class A office buildings in the state, a superior location walkable to one of the most desirable downtowns in New Jersey with a highly educated labor pool, exceptional infrastructure and unbeatable commuting options,” said DJ Venn, executive vice president of asset management with Onyx Equities. “Summit East is a move-in ready headquarters location with a unique opportunity to be reconfigured to meet the market’s demand.”
Onyx has tapped JLL as its leasing team at the property, with executive managing directors Tim Greiner and Jim Medenbach and Managing Director Blake Goodman leading the assignment. The Woodbridge-based developer and investment firm purchased the site last year from Bristol-Myers Squibb, which had acquired Celgene in 2019, but has largely stayed quiet about its plans.
Its newly revealed redevelopment concepts, which come via HLW’s Ed Shim and Chris Townsend, focus on nine interconnected buildings at the center of the gated campus. They include a series of one- to three-story office, research and development, storage and administrative spaces set within landscaped grounds and outdoor seating, all within minutes of the city’s popular downtown.
Surrounding that section are the two newly modernized office properties, the larger of which is a two-story, 191,448-square-foot structure known as Building L. Constructed in 2015, it has a four-story parking garage, a cafeteria with a two-level seating area, conference space, 56 meeting rooms and an atrium with a skylight and collaborative work areas.
Building J, meantime, is a two-story, 153,528-square-foot property with a modern 17,000-square-foot fitness center, private executive red eye travel relaxation suites, a 5,000-square-foot ballroom and catering kitchen, more than 20,000 square feet of executive conference space, four 20-foot waterfall features, two atriums with skylights and videoconferencing infrastructure throughout.
The buildings were constructed to achieve Gold and Silver ratings on the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design scale, respectively. JLL added that the campus’ amenities include an electric bike station and 10 entry points to the Summit Park Line, a new 1.2-mile pedestrian path that connects the development with downtown Summit.
“Onyx Equities has built a world-class reputation for reinventing large scale projects to meet the ever-evolving needs of tenants seeking a next-level working environment to grow their business and engage a talented and innovative workforce,” Greiner said. “Coupled with a superior location with scenic bike paths and within walking distance of what is arguably the best suburban downtown in New Jersey, Summit East presents an opportunity for a large user to customize an incomparable site.”
Summit East is one mile from Route 24 and Interstate 78, 15 minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport and accessible to Midtown Manhattan in around 40 minutes via direct NJ Transit service from the Summit train station. Nearby companies include Nokia, BMS, KPMG, McKinsey & Co. and Morgan Stanley, among others.
“This site was previously owned by a life science company who invested over $200 million on capital improvements across the campus,” Goodman said. “Summit East provides multiple options to create a landmark hub that is tailor-made for a corporate tenant seeking a unique suburban location close to a thriving downtown.”
JLL, meantime, cited a company report that found that 65 percent of New Jersey office leases for more than 50,000 square feet over the past year were concentrated in what are deemed to be “premier” class buildings, a tier above Class A. Vacancy has tightened in the sector while it has ticked up in the conventional Class A market.
“Summit East offers residual value in terms of its current infrastructure, $220 million in recent capital expenditures and two brand-new Class-A, LEED-certified properties that position it for immediate occupancy,” Venn said. “We anticipate a great deal of interest from end users across the corporate spectrum as this is a rare opportunity for a blank-slate parcel in an ideal location.”