Onyx, Machine Investment Buy 2 MSF R&D Campus

Merck’s historic former headquarters features buildings that were completed between 1950 and 2014.

Class A life science campus in Kenilworth, N.J.

2000 Galloping Hill Road. Image courtesy of Onyx Equities

A joint venture between Onyx Equities and Machine Investment Group has acquired Merck Sharp & Dohme’s former world headquarters, a 108-acre Class A life science campus in Kenilworth, N.J. The property encompasses 2 million square feet of biologics, research and development space.

JLL Vice Chairman Dan Loughlin, along with Senior Managing Directors Jose Cruz and Kevin O’Hearn brokered the deal on behalf of Merck, while Onyx’s development team handled the transaction in-house.

Onyx also received guidance from Cole Schotz for the joint venture aspects of the agreement, as well as the upper-tier corporate structuring and a portion of the finance element. The team at Cole Schotz included Members Jordan Metzger and Samantha Epstein and Paralegal Kim Calkin.

According to Onyx’s website, the 10-building campus was completed between 1950 and 2014 and underwent renovations between 2006 and 2016. Over its 120-year history, the site has expanded from a single manufacturing plant to a facility dedicated to research and innovation.

As part of the arrangement, Merck will gradually vacate the historic site over the next few years. The new owners plan to promote the property to biotech, pharmaceutical and tech firms that prioritize access to a skilled workforce in the life science industry and proximity to regional infrastructure and transportation routes.

A fully equipped life science campus

Besides featuring more than 1.4 million square feet of laboratory space, the property also incorporates 500,000 square feet of office space, 30 acres of land that can be developed, a 25-megawatt cogeneration plant, three cafeterias, a fitness center, as well as conference centers and auditoriums, outdoor amenity spaces and more than 3,200 surface and structured parking spots.

The campus is situated at 2000 Galloping Hill Road, providing access to the Garden State Parkway via Exit 138. In addition to the direct interchange, the property is also in close proximity to Route 78, the Route 22 retail corridor, the New Jersey Turnpike, Newark Liberty International Airport and the Port Newark Elizabeth Marine Terminal.

READ ALSO: Life Science Assets Maintain Lasting Appeal

A recent Newmark report reveals that New Jersey has an established reputation as a prominent center for the life science industry, hosting 14 out of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies, as well as eight out of the top 10 research and development firms. Additionally, the area boasts the highest number of biomanufacturing facilities registered with the FDA in the U.S.

According to the same source, despite minimal changes in total employment, the life science industry experienced a notable expansion of 9.3 percent in New Jersey over the last five years. This growth can be attributed to unprecedented levels of funding from both public and private sources, as well as successful partnerships between research universities and private companies.

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