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Deals & Dealmakers

Metlife’s 185,000 s/f HQ ranked among top New Jersey deals of 2015

A deal to bring MetLife Investments’ global headquarters to Hanover Township, NJ, has been recognized as one of the top office transactions of 2015.

The Morris County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) honored Vision Real Estate Partners, Rubenstein Partners and Cushman & Wakefield for arranging the insurance giant’s 185,000 s/f build-to-suit lease at67 Whippany Road campus, one of the last large-scale master-planned redevelopments in Northern New Jersey.

The deal was recognized during MCEDC’s 24th Annual Partners in Economic Development Awards Luncheon at the Sheraton Parsippany. The MetLife lease, completed in April 2015, marked the latest milestone for Vision Real Estate Partners/Rubenstein Partners’ 67 Whippany Road campus.

Two Cushman & Wakefield teams brokered the lease on behalf of the joint venture ownership and the tenant.

The Vision/Rubenstein partnership subsequently designed, executed approvals for and broke ground on a new global headquarters for MetLife’s investments business.

Located on 14 acres, the facility includes specific emphasis on sustainability. The project, which will be delivered in July, has been designed to LEED Gold Core and Shell, and LEED Platinum Interiors. Cushman & Wakefield’s Robert Donnelly Sr., Rob Donnelly and Marc Rosenberg served as landlord brokers in the transaction. “The MetLife deal represented one of New Jersey’s largest 2015 leases and another major milestone in executing the successful plan to revitalize 67 Whippany Road,” Donnelly Sr. said.

“The combined expertise, vision and cooperation of the many parties involved enabled the success of this highly significant transaction.”

The tenant brokerage team included Bill Brown, Bruce Mosler, Ethan Silverstein, David Susoreny, Andrew Merin and Peyton Horn.

Brown accepted the MCEDC award on behalf of Cushman & Wakefield saying, “MetLife’s continued long-term commitment to New Jersey provides invaluable testament to the state’s staying power as a preferred place to do business.

“This transaction – and this development – reflects the best of public/private partnership.”

The Vision/Rubenstein venture purchased the former Alcatel-Lucent campus at 67 Whippany Road in 2010, with the goal to redevelop the 194-acre site into modern product reflecting its highest and best use.

In 2012, the partnership developed Bayer Healthcare’s 675,000 s/f LEED-certified East Coast Headquarters to anchor the property.

That transaction, which involved the pharmaceutical giant purchasing nearly half the acreage in a transaction also brokered by the Donnelly team, was recognized as an MCEDC award winner in 2013.

Vision Real Estate Partners’ Sam Morreale, founder and managing partner, accepted the recent award on behalf of his firm and Rubenstein Partners.

“Our goal at 67 Whippany Road was to create a benchmark in the drive to improve underutilized, infill office real estate to institutional grade,” said Vision Real Estate Partners’ Ross Chomik, managing director, who spearheaded the MetLife lease with Morreale.

“This project validates the idea that if developer teams can acquire product at a basis that allows for the investment required to redevelop in a first-class manner – working alongside first-class local partners, corporate tenants, and municipalities – they can successfully create flagship assets that center on sustainability and quality of life.”

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