The Real Deal Tristate

Mack-Cali to consider potential sale, Kushner Companies trumps Jersey City in legal fight & more North Jersey real estate news

By Mario Marroquin | June 04, 2019 05:30PM

From left to right: Mack-Cali Realty and board chairman William Mack to consider the REIT’s strategic options amid proxy fight with activist investor Bow Street, Tony Soprano’s former “home” in North Caldwell for sale at more than $3M, Charles Kushner’s Kushner Companies scores an open records request win in a legal dispute with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Bridge Development Partners acquires an industrial site in Edison.

Mack-Cali board committee to mull strategic options
The board of directors at Jersey City-based Mack-Cali Realty is planning to form an independent committee to explore its strategic options, including a potential sale of the real estate investment trust, NJBIZ reported last week. Only 10 days after spurning activist investor Bow Street, the Mack-Cali board said it would extend offers to join its ranks to two individuals nominated by the New York-based firm: former Forest City Ratner president and CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin (now head of development firm L&L Mag) and French businessman Frederic Cumenal. At least one of them will be part of an independent committee, Mack-Cali said in a statement. Mack-Cali, which is being advised by the law firms Greenberg Traurig and Seyfarth Shaw, has been involved in a high-profile proxy fight with Bow Street for the past two months. Mack-Cali’s board rejected a $2.4 billion offer for the REIT from Bow Street in March. That offer would have resulted in the sale of what Mack-Cali called a “grossly inadequate price” for a number of its waterfront and suburban office assets, which would have been spun off into a new REIT. Mack-Cali, which in recent years has shaken up its management and pivoted toward office and multifamily investments, earlier this year unloaded a nearly $500 million portfolio in Westchester County. In a securities filing Tuesday, the REIT said that it had sold off non-core office assets with substandard rents. “The average rent profile of our remaining office portfolio is 53.4% higher than the disposition profile,” Mack-Cali said. As for Bow Street, it maintains change is needed at the REIT, which in recent weeks has touted the $2.1 billion in assets it has traded over the past three-and-a-half years and $2 billion in multifamily assets it has developed during that time. [NJBIZ]

Kushner Cos. scores public records win against Jersey City
New York-based developer the Kushner Companies scored a favorable ruling in a case related to a public records request made in connection to its One Journal Square project in Jersey City, NJ.com reported this week. A Hudson County judge initiated a criminal contempt proceedings against Jersey City for failing to comply with a request from the Kushner Companies, whose founder Charles Kushner has deep ties to New Jersey and familial connections to the White House. The ruling came after Kushner Companies and KABR Group filed a complaint in September over tax abatement documents related to a nearby Journal Square project by KRE Group, which is led by Charles Kushner’s brother, Murray Kushner. Kushner Companies and KABR are also pressing claims in federal court accusing Jersey City officials and the city’s Mayor Steven Fulop of treating them unequally due to their political affiliations. Jersey City has said it will appeal the latest ruling, according to NJ.com, although the city is now on the hook for $137,000 in legal fees. JerseyDigs recently reported that Jersey City must pay $95,000 in attorney fees incurred by the Kushner Companies in its battle with Fulop’s administration and $42,000 to two other property owners in a separate public records fight related to the troubled Sixth Street Embankment, an abandoned elevated freight line that the city wants to turn into a park. JerseyDigs also noted this week another evolving dispute between the Kushner Companies and a Mediterranean restaurant tenant at a building it owns at 26 Journal Square in Jersey City. [NJ.com]

Tony Soprano’s North Caldwell mansion listed for $3.4M
The roughly 5,600-square-foot North Caldwell mansion used in HBO’s “The Sopranos” hit the market listing week with a starting price of $3.4 million, the New York Times first reported. The property, set on 1.46 acres at 14 Aspen Drive, was built in 1987 and consists of four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a powder room, a pair of a two-car garages and a detached one-bedroom guesthouse, according to the outlet. NorthJersey.com noted that scenes from the first season of “The Sopranos” and outdoor shots in later seasons were filmed at the property. The David Chase-produced show later built a replica of the interior of the North Caldwell home at Silvercup Studios in Queens. The great room has an octagonal vaulted ceiling, a white stone fireplace and French doors. The home has been occupied for 35 years by its builders and current owners, the Recchia family, who are selling it themselves. The property is located 2 miles from the Little Falls New Jersey Transit station and the Green Brook Country Club. Comparable sales in the Caldwell area have ranged between $1.5 million and $2 million according to research from Zillow, which noted that the median home value in Caldwell was $486,700. [TRD]

Bridge Development acquires industrial site in Edison
A 7.47-acre industrial development site in Edison was sold last week for an undisclosed sum to Bridge Development Partners, NJBIZ reported. The developer said its plans for the property include a 124,560-square-foot industrial facility. Industrial properties, whose valuations in New Jersey and elsewhere have soared based upon their proximity to customers and clients, are located two miles from I-287 and three miles from Exit 10 of the New Jersey Turnpike. Plans for the facility, known as Bridge Point Edison, call for 36-foot clear ceilings and two 1,892-square-foot office pads. Teterboro-based commercial real estate services firm NAI James E. Hanson brokered the deal on behalf of Bridge Development. According to research from JLL, the Exit 10 submarket had a net absorption of 322,688 square feet during the first quarter of this year. Total vacancy in the submarket reached 1.2 percent, while average asking rents neared $8.31 per-square-foot. The Real Deal reported in March that Bridge Development had secured a $12.3 million loan for a spec industrial building in the Chicago suburb of Bedford Park. NJBIZ noted in late May that industrial rents in New Jersey were substantially higher than the U.S. average, citing data from Transwestern. [NJBIZ]

Stro Cos. adds to industrial portfolio in Hackensack, Roselle
Ridgewood-based commercial real estate firm Stro Companies has acquired more than 100,000 square feet of industrial space in the Garden State within the past week, ROI-NJ reported. Stro recently closed on its inked the acquisition of 65,000 square feet and 18,000 square feet at 211-215 South Newman Street in Hackensack, as well as 35,000 square feet at 450 West First Avenue in Roselle, a property that is fully-leased to Federal Express, according to the outlet. Both Hackensack properties are located six miles from the George Washington Bridge. SB One Bank provided financing for the Hackensack acquisitions, while Signature Bank financed the purchase in Roselle. Stro said that within the past 18 months it has acquired 275,000 square feet of industrial space. The Real Deal reported in its recent Tri-State issue that Hackensack has become a hotbed for real estate investment activity in recent months, in part due to its number of strategically located Opportunity Zones. [ROI-NJ]

New Providence Gardens apartments trade for $59M
Gebroe-Hammer Associates brokered the sale Monday of a 232-unit rental community in New Providence, GlobeSt first reported. The Livingston-based brokerage said the multifamily development, built in 1951, was sold by a private investment group for $58.5 million to an unidentified institutional buyer. The property, located at 43 Gales Drive and known as New Providence Gardens, consists of 164 one-bedroom units and 68 two-bedroom units. It is also proximal to the Acme Market-anchored Village Shopping Center, a 109,000-square-foot retail complex, and located less than 1.5 miles from the New Providence New Jersey Transit station. The Real Deal reported last year that investors were pouring multifamily money into transit-friendly locales of northern New Jersey like New Providence. Institutional Property Advisors, a division of Marcus & Millichap, provided financing for the transaction. [GlobeSt]

Multifamily complex in Bound Brook hits market at $50M
New York-based developer Sturm Asset Management has tapped HFF to market its 145-unit Queens Gate apartment complex in Bound Brook, Real Estate Alert reported last week. The property at 675 Tea Street is being marketed at a price of $345,000 per unit — $50 million — and is 92 percent occupied. Queens Gate consists of two-bedroom, two-bathroom units built and renovated in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The complex itself consists of three four-story properties with first-level parking on 9 acres. A potential buyer’s initial annual yield will approach 5 percent, according to REA. In recent years, Bound Brook has seen a number of developments crop up, including Capodagli Property Company’s Meridia Main Station and Sterling Bridge Investment Partners’ development at 15 West Main Street, the site of the former Ooh-La-La’s Gentlemen’s Club. My Central New Jersey reported in March that the borough is at work on the redevelopment of its downtown train station plaza, which could create other development opportunities. [REA]