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FLORHAM PARK, NJ-It’s worked before–twice–so why not give it another try, especially when the players are heavy hitters like developer Gale & Wentworth, based in Florham Park, NJ, and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter? The dynamic duo have launched a third equity fund with the aim of acquiring and developing as much as $250 million in prime office properties. The focus of the property search will be the two coasts.

“Our relationship with Morgan Stanley has been a good one, and we continue to maintain the resources and strategies that have worked for us in our two earlier ventures,” according to Mark Yeager, president of Gale & Wentworth’s commercial group.

The first step is an investment of $75 million in MSGW Real Estate Fund III, with the money being used to begin the process of picking up assets, targeting New Jersey, New York and Boston on the East Coast, and California on the West, according to Yeager. In New Jersey, four class A office buildings are in the fold in Montvale and Morristown, and an announcement on two other properties is said to be near. The newly acquired properties include a 200,000-sf portfolio of three properties in Montvale, worth more than $26 million, and 131 Madison Avenue in Morristown. The buildings’ occupants include Mercedes Benz, International Paper and Volvo North America.

Indeed, based on what’s already happened, Yeager predicts that those initial acquisitions will be completed as soon as the end of this year, at which time a fourth such venture could be launched.

Venture I between the two partners came four years ago with a $50-million pot that was used to leverage a group of New Jersey properties with a total value of $150 million. Three years ago came the launch of MSGW II, which accumulated $200 million in assets on both coasts.

Gale & Wentworth has developed, owns or manages a commercial real estate portfolio of more than 40 million sf.

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