Business & Finance

Chinese firm buys One Newark Center

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The sale of One Newark Center to a Chinese investment and development firm was finalized Thursday. Credits: JLL
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A Chinese investment and development firm has acquired one of Newark's most visible properties.

The sale of One Newark Center to Beijing Ideal Group—a joint-venture between an affiliate of The Praedium Group LLC and Mack-Cali Realty Corp.—was finalized Thursday, with investment management company JLL completing the acquisition of the 423,028-square-foot commercial office building located in downtown Newark.

An announcement last week by Cushman and Wakefield confirmed that the real estate firm served as the exclusive advisor to Beijing Ideal Group in arranging the 10-year, $66.58 million financing for the property.

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One Newark Center is located on Raymond Blvd. between McCarter Highway and Mulberry St., just one block from Military Park and Newark Penn Station.

“Spurred by Newark’s progressively transforming landscape, One Newark Center was one of New Jersey’s most sought-after investments in 2017,” said JLL Managing Director Thomas Walsh. “Prospective buyer profiles ran the gamut, and included institutional investors, regional operators and even foreign funds.”

The sale includes the top 16 floors of the 22-story high-rise, with the first five floors owned and occupied by Seton Hall Law School.

The offering also includes a 10-story, 945-space parking structure that is physically connected to the office tower.

The venture has been trying to sell the space since 2012 to pay off a $91.7 million loan on the property, according to a report on real estate website Commercial Real Estate Direct.

The building was home to the exclusive Newark Club, a posh event venue that closed its doors earlier this year after nearly a quarter century.

“The purchase of One Newark Center demonstrates Beijing Ideal Group’s confidence in the future of Newark and the surrounding region,” said JLL Managing Director Joseph Garibaldi. “The Chinese investment and development company saw great potential in the office tower. The building is well positioned to take advantage of Newark’s tremendous momentum as the city is attracting major corporations such as Broadridge Financial and Mars.”

Mars Wrigley Confectionary announced their decision this week to move offices to the Ironside Newark Building, part of the city's 22-acre Mulberry Commons project which broke ground last month that will serve to bridge the central business district with the Ironbound neighborhood.

The move will bring close to 500 jobs to Newark.

Garibaldi noted that investor interest in Newark has never been higher, citing the 2016 sale of the 337,500-square-foot Two Riverfront Plaza to a Kuwait-based investment fund, as well as the October 2016 sale of the 973,000-square-foot 80 Park Plaza, both of which are located one block from One Newark Center.

“The fact that another international buyer has invested in a Newark office building speaks volumes about the evolution of the market,” Praedium Vice President of Asset Management Brian Lindenberg said. 

The move is seen by many as part of the city’s long-touted renaissance.

Since Prudential's 2012 announcement for its plans to develop headquarters along downtown Newark's Broad St., a number of stalled development projects have been completed or are underway, including Hahne & Co., One Theatre Square, One Riverview and the Carlton Hotel, among others.

The company joins a growing number of major corporations who have moved to Newark in the last several years—including Panasonic and Audible—all hoping to take part in the city's revitalization.

Last month Newark was chosen as Governor Chris Christie's top pick for Amazon's second global headquarters.

“The perception of the city continues to improve in the eyes of international investors, attracted by Newark’s connectivity to New York and the rest of the tri-state region," Lindenberg said.

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