Transwestern is leaving New Jersey, a company representative confirmed for Commercial Property Executive, effective early April. The firm’s decision to close its offices at 180 Park Ave. in Florham Park, N.J., follows nearly a decade of activity in the market.
However, Transwestern Development Co. will continue to operate within the state. Part of the Transwestern companies, the branch develops logistics, multifamily, office, mixed-use, health-care and life sciences properties since 2012. One of its latest investments in the Northeast is a 64-acre site in Jessup, Pa., where it plans to develop a 750,000-square-foot speculative industrial project.
According to a recent Transwestern report analyzing the New Jersey market, 2020 ended with a dramatic decline in office leasing activity and the highest vacancy rate since 2014, with some 4 million square feet returning to the market during last year. Subleasing activity, which has been increasing in popularity since 2018, escalated to its highest levels in more than a decade in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Transwestern’s history in New Jersey
The company opened its first New Jersey premises in 2011 at 300 Kimball Drive in Parsippany, N.J., where it occupied 6,000 square feet. In October 2018, the firm chalked up a 7,211-square-foot lease with Lone Star Funds and relocated to the first floor of a 221,706-square-foot building at 180 Park Ave. Since then, the LEED Gold certified property changed ownership, with a joint venture of Vision Properties and The Birch Group purchasing the asset in November 2020, in a $35.6 million transaction.
The Class A property at 180 Park Ave. is also home to Maersk Inc.’s 70,000-square-foot headquarters. Transwestern is listed as the leasing agent for the property, as well as for the neighboring 170 Park Ave., where it arranged a full-building lease in 2019 for clinical-stage cell therapeutics company Celularity. Last month, JLL Income Property Trust paid nearly $47 million for the purpose-built life science facility.
New Jersey is one of the top-ranking markets for the life sciences industry, with the state holding one of the largest concentration of scientists and engineers per square mile in the world. During last year’s shaky grounds for the office sector, medical and life sciences tenants bolstered leasing activity, especially within the Princeton submarket. In a recent interview with CPE, James Postell, city leader & partner at Transwestern, discussed shifting dynamics within the New Jersey office market and shared his predictions for the permanent changes the global health crisis has brought upon the industry.