PARSIPPANY, NJ-It’s hard enough to find a big block of office space these days, and a good example of what’s going on in the trenches is the way Trammell Crow Co.’s New Jersey office sniffed out a 200,000-sf block of space even before it hit the market. The broker’s tenant client is Champion Mortgage, a wholly owned subsidiary of KeyBankUSA, which needed that much space to consolidate its operations.

“The building [2 Gatehall Drive] wasn’t on the market yet, but under contract to the partnership that owns it, and that helped facilitate this transaction,” according to Trammell Crow SVP Frank Truesdell, who teamed with TC’s Douglas Gaffney and Thomas Fischer to do the deal. The company’s Northeast Metro operations are based in Chatham, NJ.

The property is owned by Two Gatehall Associates LLC, a Morgan Stanley, Gale & Wentworth real estate fund. Gale & Wentworth’s Tim Conklin, Rick Genthe and David Welsh represented the owner.

Besides the space requirement, Champion, a home equity and custom mortgage lender, also wanted to stay near its home turf in Parsippany, and it had a parking requirement of more than 4.5 cars per 1,000 rentable sf.

“It was a unique set of circumstances, but everything fell into place for us,” says Truesdell. “The tenant fit-out is underway and they should be in the building March 1.”"The facility will easily accommodate our ongoing expansion,” according to Champion EVP Dan Rich. “We expect to double our size over the next year, and our goal is to become a nationwide lender in the next five years.”

Champion was established in 1981 by Joseph P. Goryeb, well known for his role as company spokesman in its extensive TV advertising campaign. With 700 employees, it operates in the eastern half of the US. Since its acquisition by Cleveland-based KeyCorp, the aim has been to build a national platform for its lending services. In the process, Champion has helped grow Key’s home equity portfolio by 35% to more than $7 billion.

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