Transformation of Former Sanofi-Aventis Campus into Vibrant Town Center with Global R&D Hub, Residential, Hospitality, Recreation and Retail Attracts Nestle Health Science
Leading Northeast U.S. real estate owner and developer Advance Realty earned a special honor on May 12 at NAIOP New Jersey’s (NAIOP-NJ) annual Commercial Real Estate Awards Gala, which is held each year to honor the state’s top commercial real estate deals and professionals. The organization bestowed its prestigious Judge’s Award in recognition of Advance’s success in transforming the former Sanofi-Aventis campus in Bridgewater into the the New Jersey Center of Excellence (NJCOE) — the state’s most modern and sought-after “live-work-play” development.
The award comes on the heels of Nestle Health Science’s decision to relocate its research and development professionals to a 180,000-square-foot space at NJCOE, where Advance recently received zoning approval for 62 of the campus’ 110 acres, allowing for multi-family, restaurants, outdoor recreation, a grocery store and other shopping destinations.
While presenting the award, Judges Chair Caren Franzini called the NJCOE “the poster child for redevelopment of vacated corporate sites,” noting its triumphs in attracting top-notch companies as anchor tenants while completely revamping the site to include 400 luxury apartments as well as retail and entertainment space.
“The Judge’s Award is an extreme honor,” said Peter J. Cocoziello, Advance Realty’s founder and CEO. “We are delighted that NAIOP understands our vision and shares our passion for reinventing this property into a comprehensive lifestyle center that will bring the country’s best and brightest talent to Bridgewater.”
The project’s master plan includes 800,000 square feet of research and development infrastructure for Nestle and other tenants looking for a home within Bridgewater’s thriving life sciences sector. The campus is equipped with buildings certified by Good Manufacturing Practices, lab benches on wheels, point exhausts and gas lines that descend from the ceiling, fume hoods, and a 4.5-megawatt cogeneration plant that supplies energy, gas and advanced HVAC control. A dedicated fiber optic network and redundant back-up servers also provide a secure, reliable communications and IT environment.
“Advance has long been a leader in New Jersey’s commercial real estate sector,” said Mike McGuiness, CEO for NAIOP-NJ. “The New Jersey Center of Excellence is a prime example of the company’s ability to foster 21st century developments that will add an element of city-inspired living to idyllic Somerset County.”
Advance acquired the property along Route 202-206 after Sanofi-Aventis announced it would leave the 1.2 million square-foot campus in 2011. Nestle announced last fall it would bring more than 250 research and development jobs to the site, and other commercial tenants — Ashland, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, 3D Biotech, Union Med Tech, Clinical Genomics, GSG Scientific, Enterix, Solaris Pharma, Matinas BioPharma and biopharma start-up Nevakar — have also recently leased space. NJCOE is now more than 70 percent leased.
Pending site plan approval, Advance plans to remove eight unused buildings from the campus this fall. Construction would then begin on the town center, with an estimated completion date of late 2018.