Former Single-Tenant Office/Lab Campus is Being Transformed into Vibrant Town Center
Featuring Global R&D Hub, Residential, Hospitality, Recreation and Retail
After receiving Bridgewater Township’s zoning approval of major redevelopment plans for 62 of the 110 acres at the New Jersey Center of Excellence (NJCOE), Advance Realty announced today that it will move forward with an unprecedented project that will transform the Bridgewater, N.J., site into a bustling 21st century “live-work-play” environment.
Advance, in partnership with CrossHarbor Capital Partners, acquired the campus in 2014 when the former owner, global pharmaceutical company Sanofi, relocated its research and development arm to the Boston area. Recognizing that Sanofi was leaving behind a state-of-the-art laboratory environment in the heart of an internationally recognized life sciences corridor, Advance saw an opportunity to create a holistic mixed-use community that could attract the world’s brightest minds and most innovative companies.
Advance’s master plan calls for 400 luxury residences as well as numerous amenities of urban life, such as restaurants, a wellness center, a grocer, entertainment, shops and outdoor recreation — all amidst the serene backdrop and rolling hills of Central New Jersey’s Somerset County.
“Advance Realty and Bridgewater Township have a shared vision to create an interconnected community of residents, workers, visitors and globally-recognized leaders in life sciences, hospitality and retail at the New Jersey Center of Excellence,” stated Peter J. Cocoziello, Advance Realty’s founder and chief executive officer. “Doing so will open new channels for economic growth for the State of New Jersey.”
With an 800,000-square-foot R&D infrastructure that’s second to none, NJCOE is ideally equipped to host research — from idea to scale-up — in the fields of chemistry, biology, analytical science, formulations and pharmacology. The campus features 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 and gas as well as compressed air, vacuum, steam heating and chilled water for HVAC control. A dedicated fiber optic network and redundant back-up servers provide a secure, reliable communications and IT environment.
Last fall, Nestlé Health Science announced that it would relocate and bring more than 250 jobs to New Jersey, including personnel relocated from around the world, to a 180,000-square-foot space at NJCOE. Nestlé Health Science Senior Vice President Anders Kaspersson stated that his company could have selected any location in the world but chose NJCOE because of Advance’s plan to create a community that young workers would find desirable.
“Individuals do not want to give up the amenities, conveniences and overall lifestyle that make urban living attractive,” Cocoziello said. “In Bridgewater, we’re meeting that demand by providing city-inspired living — a destination that is enjoyed not only by residents and employees, but also by citizens from surrounding towns.”
Key to Advance’s vision for NJCOE is the campus’s geographic location. In the middle of the Boston-to-Washington “wealth corridor,” Bridgewater Township boasts the highest concentration of life sciences companies in New Jersey. NJCOE is also adjacent to Interstate 287 — which connects New York City, Westchester County and Northern New Jersey — as well as State Routes 202/206, 22 and 28. Interstate 78, which connects Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and New York City, is three miles from the campus.
With the additions of Nestlé and biopharma start-up Nevakar, which recently leased 26,497 square feet, NJCOE is now more than 70 percent occupied with a roster of tenants that includes Ashland, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, 3D Biotech, Union Med Tech, Clinical Genomics, GSG Scientific, Enterix, Solaris Pharma and Matinas BioPharma. Pending site plan approval, Advance plans to remove eight unused buildings this fall in order to begin construction on the town center, which will take roughly two years.
“We’re going to take what was an insular, single-tenant corporate campus and transform it into a central point for gathering, innovating, living and having fun,” Cocoziello said. “It’s a project that will change the face of New Jersey, and we are excited to move forward.”
About Advance Realty
Advance Realty is a privately owned real estate development, investment and management company headquartered in Bridgewater, N.J. Since its inception in 1979, Advance Realty has acquired or developed more than 10 million square feet of commercial, residential, R&D, industrial and mixed-use projects. Today, the company owns, manages and invests in a diversified portfolio of office, retail, industrial, residential and mixed-use assets in key urban and suburban markets along the Northeast Corridor. The company actively pursues real estate investments that provide opportunity to enhance value through development, repositioning and redevelopment. Advance’s strong capital base, fully integrated platform, outstanding talent and flexibility as a privately held organization position the company for continued growth. For more information, visit www.advancere.com.
About CrossHarbor Capital Partners LLC
CrossHarbor Capital Partners LLC is a Boston-based alternative investment management firm that invests in value-add and opportunistic commercial real estate transactions. The firm seeks short and medium duration debt and equity investments that offer a compelling case for generating high absolute returns. CrossHarbor was founded in 1993 and has invested in more than $13 billion of commercial real estate on behalf of a diversified and highly regarded group of endowments, foundations, public and corporate pension plans, family offices and sovereign entities.