Education publisher to move to SJP’s Hoboken office tower

Pearson, the world’s leading education publisher, said at a press conference today that it would relocate most of its New Jersey operations to the Hoboken waterfront, becoming the anchor tenant of SJP Properties’ new $150 million office tower when it opens in 2014.

Pearson will move 900 employees from Upper Saddle River and Old Tappan, N.J., into five floors, or 200,000 square feet of the new planned 14-story Silver LEED-certified building, which will begin construction this fall and open in early 2014.

Pearson agreed on the Hoboken site after more than a year of negotiations with city and state officials, who landed the deal despite a concerted effort by relocation efforts by Jersey City and New York officials. The Christie administration agreed to provide $66 million in Urban Hub Tax Credits over a 10-year period.

The deal follows a September agreement by Pearson to consolidate its New York City operations into a 270,000-square-foot facility at 330 Hudson Street.

“We understood that Pearson had a choice,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. “Companies like Pearson are being wooed away by the dozens.”

The office tower, at 225 River Street, will be the third office building at SJP’s Waterfront Corporate Center, located next to the W Hotel and less than two blocks from the Hoboken Terminal, a major bus and train hub for NJ Transit and PATH.

The tower will be designed by HLW International. It will have floor-to-ceiling windows to enhance natural sunlight, flexible floor plates, 25,000-square-feet of retail space, a 200-car underground garage and access to a fitness center at Waterfront Corporate Center II, at 121 River Street, which is already operating. The existing two buildings have a number of high-profile corporate tenants, including John Wiley & Sons, Marsh and McLennan, Sumitomo Trust and Banking and Thomson Reuters.

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The first two buildings are fully leased, but the asking rents at the new site start at about $38 a square foot, officials said.

SJP CEO Steven Pozycki said that despite a slow and at sometimes turbulent recovery, lenders are willing to finance well-managed projects with developers that have a track record of success in locations that are attractive.

“We’ve got a great building,” he told The Real Deal, “and we’ve got a reputation of delivering.”

Richard Berzine, the lead broker for Pearson and president of Richard Berzine & Co., said the reason for choosing Hoboken was it was the most attractive location to attract educated, young employees that are into technology.

“We wanted to attract the digerati,” Berzine told The Real Deal.

Jones Lang LaSalle also represented Pearson and SJP was represented in-house. SJP will manage leasing at the building as is in talks with other potential office and retail tenants.