The Real Deal Tristate

Mack-Cali ends settlement talks with activist investor, American Dream opening day delayed again and more North Jersey real estate news

By Mario Marroquin | May 21, 2019 05:43PM

From Left to Right: Mack-Cali dismisses settlement with activist investor Bow Street Capital, Triple Five Group again delays American Dream opening date, developers launch leasing at One Harrison and Pennrose breaks ground on a 172-unit residential development on the site of a former World War II camp site in Edison.

Mack-Cali board ends settlements talks with activist investor
Jersey City-based real estate investment trust Mack-Cali Realty has terminated settlement talks with activist shareholder Bow Street, GlobeSt reported. In a statement, Mack-Cali accused the New York-based dissident investor of having a conflict of interest in launching its proxy battle more than a month ago. Bow Street, which owns about 4.5 percent of Mack-Cali stock, had sought the election of four candidates to the REIT’s board of directors. Mack-Cali, which in recent years has shaken up its leadership and revamped its investment strategy, has been busy buying and selling properties in 2019. The company unloaded a $487.5 million office/flex portfolio in Westchester County and paid $264 million to buy Jersey City’s Soho Lofts and an undisclosed sum for an office complex in Iselin. Mack-Cali’s aborted settlement with Bow Street reportedly would have had the REIT set up a committee with four independent directors tasked with evaluating a range of options to maximize shareholder value, including the potential sale of the company and the divestiture of certain assets. Mack-Cali has turned to the law firms Greenberg Traurig and Seyfarth Shaw to advise on its proxy fight with Bow Street, which reportedly has sought to split the company in half. [GlobeSt]

Triple Five again postpones American Dream opening date
Another day, another delay in the opening of the long-awaited American Dream megamall in the Meadowlands. On Monday, Canada’s Triple Five Group, which took control of the former Xanadu project in 2011, confirmed that the massive development in East Rutherford will not open until later this year at the earliest. noted that some retailers might not officially open their stores until the 2019 holiday season or early 2020. Triple Five had said in early April that American Dream would not open on time as expected in May. The latest update from the developer, however, did include some interesting additions to the entertainment and retail complex. American Dream, besides a roster of high-profile tenants, will now also include a garden with aviaries and bunny rabbit fields, as well as a 60-foot “fashion fountain” that can be turned into a catwalk and a 60-foot atrium for events and social gatherings. American Dream is currently under scrutiny for $350 million in subsidies it has received from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. []

Developers launch leasing at One Harrison riverfront site
Park Ridge-based developer Hornrock Properties and Livingston-based BNE Real Estate Group started leasing last week at their 257-unit One Harrison, Real Estate NJ reported. The development at 1 Harrison Avenue in the city of the same name is located less than half a mile from the Newark Broad Street Station and less than one mile from the Harrison PATH station. The building consists of studio, one- and two-bedroom units beginning at $1,700 per month. Residents will receive complimentary shuttle service to the Harrison PATH station and access to 30,000 square feet of resort-style amenities, according to a press release from One Harrison’s developers. JerseyDigs reported that BNE and Hornrock secured approvals for One Harrison in 2016 and secured a long-term tax exemption for the property in December of that year, while securing an equity investment from New York-based BlueGate Partners in February 2017. The site was previously owned by All-Tow Transport and Top Car Auto Sales. The Harrison riverfront has been the site of a flurry of commercial real estate investment activity in recent years, with a 91-unit development currently underway and another 552-unit project along the Passaic River seeking approval to move forward. [RE-NJ]

Old US Army base in Edison now home to 172-unit rental project
Philadelphia-based developer Pennrose Development broke ground last week on a 172-unit project in Edison, according to Multi-Housing News. Pennrose said 22 apartments in the development, known as Truman Square, will be set aside for formerly homeless residents and 25 percent of the units will provide housing for veterans. Somewhat appropriately, MHN noted that the site itself was once known as Camp Kilmer, which processed more than 2.5 million soldiers during World War II. A nearby portion of the old Camp Kilmer site was redeveloped in 2014 into 120 homes for homeless families by the Alpert Group, Edison Affordable Housing and Monarch Housing Associates. The first phase of Pennrose’s Edison project will include 86 one-, two- and three-bedroom units and the developer said financing came in the form of a 9 percent federal low-income housing tax credit loan. [MHN]

AvalonBay opens luxury rental community in Piscataway
Nearly two years after announcing plans for a 36o-unit rental community in suburban Middlesex County, apartment giant AvalonBay Communities held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting for its project in Piscataway last week, Real Estate NJ reported. The outlet noted that the development, known as Avalon Piscataway, was 70 percent leased and 63 percent occupied as of May 16. The community at 37 Old New Brunswick Road is less than a mile from I-287 and within five miles of the Dunellen and Edison New Jersey Transit stations. Four-story elevator buildings, three-story walkups and multilevel townhomes with individual and private garages for some units all make up Avalon Piscataway, about 15 percent of which has been reserved for low and moderate income tenants. According to JerseyDigs, the 13-building property sought a LEED certification in 2017, having secured preliminary and final site plan approvals that summer. AvalonBay, an Arlington, Virginia-based real estate investment trust, earlier this year sought approval for a $300 million mixed-use development in Mercer County that would have 800 units, 50,000 square feet of open space and 37,000 square feet of retail in West Windsor. [RE-NJ]

Hugo Neu secures first Garden State OZ grant at Kearny Point
The Town of Kearny and New York-based developer Hugo Neu Corporation secured a $3 million grant last week from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, reported. According to a news release from the EDA, resources from the grant will be matched by $1.3 million in local funds to be deployed into turning a portion of Hackensack Avenue into a “green” street. The EDA said the improvements will facilitate the redevelopment of Kearny Point, a manufacturing center operated by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company during World War I and II, into a 4 million-square-foot complex by Hugo Neu. According to ROI-NJ, the redevelopment of the road will include planting over 20,000 square feet of grass, plants and trees, the creation of paths for pedestrians and cyclists and improvements to the electrical and gas infrastructure at the complex. Kearny Point is located in one of New Jersey’s 169 approved federal Opportunity Zones. The Kearny Point OZ tract is also eligible for incentives from New Jersey’s Redevelopment Authority and Urban Enterprise Zone Authority. said Hugo Neu and local officials hope the Kearny Point redevelopment will create as many of 10,000 jobs at a site that once employed as many as 30,000 workers. []

Victorian-era Lake Hopatcong ‘castle’ relisted after big price cut
An eight-bedroom, four-bathroom mansion at 13 Edgemere Avenue in Mount Arlington was relisted in late April at more than $200,000 less than it sought in August 2018, JerseyDigs reported. The property on Lake Hopatcong, known as Mira Lacum, had been on the market for $1.2 million late last year. Mira Lacum had previously listed for $2.9 million in 2012 and experienced a number of price cuts before returning to the market last month with a $999,900 ask. The home’s Zillow listing noted that it was foreclosed upon in April due to a $710,000 unpaid balance. Kathleen Courter of RE/MAX House Values has the listing for Mira Lacum, which was built in 1895. The 5,626-square-foot property has 3 docks, 4 floors, 6 fireplaces and a wood stove. According to Zillow and various news reports, the Mira Lacum property was designed by former German architect Francis Himpler, who designed Hoboken City Hall and other buildings across the country. [Jersey Digs]

Colliers hired to lease Hanover office complex bought for $21M
Asset manager Northeast Capital Group has tapped Colliers International to serve as exclusive leasing agent for its recently acquired 177,820-square-foot office property in East Hanover, NJBIZ reported. Northeast Capital, which is based in Ramapo, New York, in Rockland County, paid $20.85 million in February – or $117 per-square-foot – to acquire the building at 120 Eagle Rock Avenue, according to research from CBRE Group. Existing tenants at the property include market research firm GfK, the Kessler Foundation and Prudential Insurance Company of America. Boxer Property Management Corporation sold the complex to Northeast Capital when it was 79 percent leased, according to a GlobeSt report from February. The Morris County property has reportedly undergone significant renovations. Northeast Capital has been busy in the region lately, having paid $14 million to acquire another office property in Montvale straddling the New York-New Jersey border late last year. Correction: A previous version of this post misstated Colliers’ role on behalf of Northeast Capital. [NJBIZ]

Colart relocates North American HQ to 150K sf in Piscataway
International art supplies manufacturer Colart completed last week the relocation of its North American headquarters to Piscataway, just outside of New Brunswick, NJBIZ reported. Colart has moved into a 150,000-square-foot office, warehouse and distribution center at 2 Corporate Place South owned by the Chatham Township-based Sudler Companies and the Long Island-based GTJ REIT. Colart previously was based at Piscataway’s 11 Constitution Avenue, which Sudler and GTJ acquired in 2016. That property and Colart’s new headquaters are part of a 2.5 million-square-foot campus on 200 acres known as Corporate Park 287, which is home to tenants like American Express, Nomura Securities and Verizon Communications. Sudler and GTJ worked together to keep Colart in space owned by both landlords, according to NJBIZ. The Real Deal reported earlier this year that Piscataway, home to a former Dow Chemical site being redeveloped into industrial space, has been one of the main beneficiaries of the industrial property boom sweeping northern New Jersey. [NJBIZ]