NEWARK, NJ-Kushner Cos., the Florham Park, NJ-based commercial real estate company, has signed a deal with New York-based Blackacre Capital Management to lease and manage the latter’s 60 Park Place, also known as the Military Park Building. Kushner has also taken an ownership position in the 21-story, 230,000-sf property. Total consideration in the agreement is $8.5 million.

60 Park Place is currently 83% leased to such tenants as EE&C Health and Financial Services, Hunt Hamlin & Ridley, Hudson City Savings Bank, NIPPY and GTG Printing. It also has 10,000 sf of ground floor retail space, including the venerable Arthur’s Downtown restaurant.

“Our standing philosophy is to work with the optimal operator in a given market,” according to Backacre president Jeff Citrin. His six-year-old company specializes in buying and repositioning undervalued and otherwise overlooked real estate assets. Prior to the latest agreement, Blackacre had renovated the building’s common area facilities.

“The property’s location is ideal,” says Kushner managing director Richard Stadtmauer. He points out that it’s a block from the NJ Performing Arts Center, adjacent to the Robert Treat Hotel and overlooks Military Park. Nearby corporate HQ operations include PSE&G, Prudential and Horizon.

“This building and others in Downtown Newark offer tenants an alternative to the excessive occupancy costs of Manhattan, and even the New Jersey Hudson waterfront,” asserts Roger Steinhardt, Kushner’s director of commercial leasing. “Newark’s office market is experiencing high demand and rising rental rates, and a significant amount of capital is being invested in existing buildings.”

Kushner, which first became active in the Downtown Newark market when it bought 520 Broad St. last year, manages and/or has ownership interests in some nine million sf of commercial property in six states in the Northeast plus Florida. The company also owns more than 20,000 apartment units.

Blackacre’s MO since it set up shop in 1994 has been to do most of its investment activities “through partnerships and joint ventures with a number of strategic operating and capital partners,” according to Citrin.

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