Mack-Cali Realty Corp. recently unveiled renovations of its signature 422,590-square-foot Harborside 1 building in Jersey City, as depicted in this rendering. — Courtesy: Mack-Cali
By Joshua Burd
Amazon and Mack-Cali Realty Corp. are reportedly close to inking a 400,000-square-foot office lease in Jersey City, in a potential blockbuster deal for the real estate investment trust and its flagship Harborside complex along the Hudson waterfront.
Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the negotiations, said the technology giant would take space at the newly renovated Harborside 1 building at Hudson Street and Christopher Columbus Drive. The deal would all but fill the nine-story property, which has been the focal point of a sweeping, multimillion-dollar overhaul by Mack-Cali in recent years.
The real estate investment trust declined to comment for the Bloomberg story, while Amazon didn’t return a request by the publication. If complete, the deal would represent one of the state’s largest office leases in recent years and a major victory for the Hudson waterfront submarket, which has grappled with large blocks of vacant space since before the pandemic.
Rumors of the deal swirled in recent months as Mack-Cali has prepared to unveil its new-look Harborside campus, which spans 4.3 million square feet. The project has included a reskinning and top-to-bottom physical and mechanical overhaul of Harborside 1, with the addition of upscale common areas, retail and restaurant options and a private fourth-floor terrace with expansive views of the Hudson River and Manhattan.
The company has also renovated and added new dining options to the sprawling atrium between Harborside 2 and 3, among other upgrades.
“Harborside’s premier office spaces, top-tier amenities and abundant recreational areas, coupled with its waterfront access, close proximity to public transit and ample on-site parking, make it an ideal destination for workers, visitors and locals alike,” Mack-Cali CEO Mahbod Nia said in May as the REIT detailed the upgrades. “With these latest improvements, Harborside is well-positioned to be the workplace solution for the future as office life across the tristate area is reinvigorated.”
Amazon is no stranger to Jersey City. Whole Foods, which the company owns, committed in 2019 to opening a 47,542-square-foot store at Mack-Cali’s Harborside 4A building, along with 47,398 square feet of office space at Harborside 3 for its Northeast headquarters.
Mack-Cali’s leadership team has turned over in recent years, with Nia joining the company in March, as it has shed virtually all of its suburban office buildings and focused on Jersey City and on its multifamily portfolio. The company last year tapped CBRE as its leasing team at Harborside.
Bloomberg, the first to report the story, noted that Amazon has been expanding in the New York area despite the collapse of its plan to build a second headquarters in Queens in 2019. The company in December 2019 signed a 335,000-square-foot lease for office space near Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, some four months before it bought the Lord & Taylor building on Fifth Avenue from WeWork for $1.15 billion.