Realogy’s ribbon cutting at 15-acre headquarters in Madison

Meanwhile, bidders are offering up to $40 per square foot for its former digs in Parsippany
By David Jones | June 21, 2013 05:30PM

Realogy Holdings, the public real estate conglomerate whose brands include the Corcoran Group, Citi Habitats and Sotheby’s International Realty, unveiled its new corporate headquarters in Madison, N.J., yesterday in a ceremony attended by Gov. Chris Christie.

Realogy, one of the world’s largest franchisors with 13,600 offices worldwide, decided to move its global headquarters to Madison after considering a move to Charlotte, N.C. The firm employs 1,300 people in New Jersey, including 900 at its former Parsippany headquarters and another 400 in Mount Laurel.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority provided Realogy with a $10.7 million business retention and relocation assistance grant and a $1.4 million sales tax exemption to help keep the firm in the Garden State.

“When we have companies like Realogy decide to stay here and grow and expand in New Jersey, it expands opportunities for our families, it expands opportunities for other businesses that ripple out from that,” Christie said at the event.

Richard Smith, chairman of Realogy, said the company began the process of looking at other states in 2008, as its current lease was set to expire this year. But, he added, they were ignored by the previous administration, led by Jon Corzine.

The new 15-acre campus includes a 270,000-square-foot facility at 175 Park Avenue, a former Verizon call center that Hampshire Cos. acquired in 2010. Hampshire redeveloped and enlarged the property, retaining Manhattan-based Kohn Pederson Fox Associates to create a Silver LEED building with green roof technology and open air courtyards.

Realogy signed a 17-year lease and will be the only tenant at the site. Company officials previously said they would save about 25 percent off their current rents.

Realogy’s brands include Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, and NRT, which counts Corcoran and Citi Habitats among its subsidiaries. The Bellmarc Group recently said it would become a Coldwell Banker franchise, marking the firm’s first entry to New York City since 2009.

Rockwood Real Estate Advisors, a Manhattan-based real estate advisory firm, is in the final rounds of finding a buyer for Realogy’s outgoing headquarters, a 370,000-square-foot facility at 1 Campus Drive in Parsippany’s Prudential Business Park. The property was originally built in 1979 and renovated in 1996.

Thomas Dobrowski, managing director at Rockwood, said they have received bids in the $35 to $40 per square foot range and hope to have a deal completed within the next week. The potential buyers range from New Jersey companies to national firms looking to completely redevelop the site.

“It’s not going to only be contingent on price as to who gets the deal,” Dobrowski told The Real Deal.