Panasonic HQ debut marks Newark’s rebirth: PHOTOS

Electronics firm skipped Brooklyn for SJP and Matrix-developed tower
By David Jones | September 18, 2013 03:51PM

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie welcomed electronics giant Panasonic to its new North American headquarters in Newark on Tuesday, marking the long-awaited debut of the city’s first new office tower in 20 years and the latest step in a longstanding effort to revitalize its Downtown corridor.

Panasonic relocated from Secaucus, N.J., to a 340,000-square-foot Class A office tower at Two Riverfront Plaza, located one block from the Newark Penn Station transportation hub, in a move that is the biggest step in an effort by city and state officials to attract jobs and new development there.

“Today is a great day for the people of New Jersey and particularly the people of Newark,” Christie said at a press conference. “From our first day in office, one of the top priorities of this administration has been to create a business-friendly environment in New Jersey by reducing the tax burden on business, cutting unnecessary red tape and advancing job-creating economic development projects.”

Panasonic, headquartered in Osaka, Japan, transferred about 800 employees to the new tower, which was developed through a joint venture of SJP Properties (which developed the Manhattan office spec property 11 Times Square) and Matrix Development Group.

Panasonic chose Newark over Brooklyn and several other potential locations due to state incentives and tax breaks and a desire to stay within New Jersey.

“As we move into this new building that offers increased accessibility to mass transit options and other hubs of business and innovation, we are beginning an exciting chapter at Panasonic,” said Joseph Taylor, chairman and CEO of the company’s North American division.

The LEED Platinum-certified building includes energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, a two-story glass lobby with a so-called innovation center showcasing the company’s latest technology products, a full-service cafeteria, and direct access to underground and waterfront parking on the Passaic riverfront.

Tim Greiner, executive managing director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, who represented Panasonic, said the new headquarters is a sign of increased corporate interest in Newark.

“It creates a very big statement for new construction and the commitment the government has to keep companies in the state,” Greiner told The Real Deal.

Dudley Ryan, senior vice president at CBRE, said that lenders are now willing to make major investments in Newark as lingering concerns about financial risk have dissipated.

“The bottom line is we’ve reached the tipping point in that you’ve had billions of dollars’ worth of investment,” he said.

Ryan said he had been in talks with potential tenants on a proposed 40-story office building at 101 Market Street in Newark, part of a radical redevelopment of Downtown near the Prudential Center arena.

Next week marks the official opening of Teacher’s Village, a $149 million retail, housing and charter school complex designed by Richard Meier.