Jersey City trophy office tower sells for $285M

Insurance giant Manulife Financial, the Toronto-based parent of John Hancock Financial, said today that it bought 10 Exchange Place, a 30-story trophy office tower in Jersey City, for $285 million, marking the company’s first major acquisition in the New York City market.

Manulife, the largest insurance firm in Canada, outbid a number of rival firms for the 748,000-square-foot building, located on the Hudson River waterfront and home to tenants including Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Ace Insurance.

Atlanta-based Invesco sold the property after placing the building up for sale through a bidding process that started earlier this year, however Manulife’s managed to top all rival offers in the first round, eventually settling on a price of $381 a square foot.

“In this case eventual buyer really distinguished himself in the first round,” said Andrew Merin, vice chairman capital markets at Cushman & Wakefield, which represented Invesco in the deal.

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Invesco placed 10 Exchange up for sale in a dual marketing process, in which it also placed 33 Maiden Lane on the market through CB Richard Ellis, but that deal is still being negotiated, Merin said. 

Manulife said the acquisition is one of its three purchases in the U.S. market, including the $109 million purchase of Seaview Corporate Center in San Diego from Angelo Gordon & Co. and the $156 million acquisition of York Mills Center in Toronto from Ivanhoe Cambridge. The two latter deals closed Dec. 12.

Manulife said it is actively looking to expand its multi-family residential holdings, and one-year Ago Acquired Plaza Square, a 415-unit property in New Brunswick, N.J. for $112.5 million.

Merin said that 10 Exchange Place is 100 percent occupied and that the new owners plan an extensive renovation of the property. The top two floors of the building are scheduled for lease turnover by 2014.

The deal follows Brookfield Office Properties’ sale of Newport Tower in Jersey City to Multi Employer Property Trust for $377.5 million, the largest office deal in New Jersey history.

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