37 Easton Ave. in New Brunswick — Courtesy: Saxum Real Estate
By Joshua Burd
A development and investment firm has made new acquisitions in Middlesex and Morris counties, its latest under a recently launched fund for repositioning downtown commercial sites.
Saxum Real Estate, based in Parsippany, has added 37 Easton Ave. in New Brunswick and 14 Lincoln Place in Madison. The properties are a retail and office building and a mixed-use movie theater, respectively, with each totaling about 18,000 square feet and sitting steps from train stations with direct access to Manhattan.
Terms of the transactions were not disclosed, but Saxum made the acquisitions under its Saxum Adamas Real Estate Fund I LP. The three-year-old firm launched the vehicle late last year, with a goal of deploying $75 million to acquire value-add properties in transit-oriented downtowns.
Its first acquisition under the fund was in downtown Red Bank, where it is repositioning a historic marble and granite office building at 55 Broad Street. In New Brunswick, Saxum has added a property that sits on one of Rutgers University’s main thoroughfares and is surrounded by bars, restaurants and student housing, and the firm is now planning an exterior landscaping upgrade to accommodate outdoor seating.
The property also benefits from nearby employers such as Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Saint Peter’s University Hospital and Johnson & Johnson, the firm said. Saxum is now negotiating lease terms with several prospective office and retail tenants interested in the space.
“We are excited to invest in two of New Jersey’s most dynamic markets,” said Anthony Rinaldi, managing principal with Saxum. “New Brunswick exhibits some of the strongest market fundamentals including a retail vacancy rate that is among the lowest in the state.”
In Madison, the firm touted the movie theater’s location across the street from an NJ Transit station and the downtown’s abundance of shops and restaurants.
“Madison is home to one of New Jersey’s best Main Streets and we are excited for the opportunity to further enhance this vibrant community,” Rinaldi said in a prepared statement.
HFF marketed the New Brunswick property on behalf of the seller, with an investment sales team led by Associate Director Marc Duval, Senior Managing Director Jose Cruz, Managing Director Kevin O’Hearn and directors Michael Oliver and Stephen Simonelli.
“There continues to be an active pool of investors chasing assets in suburban downtowns,” Duval said. “Investors are willing to be aggressive buying assets where they can make significant improvements to reposition an asset and raise rents.”