CRANFORD, NJ-Mack-Cali Realty, one of New Jersey’s largest real estate players, was buffeted by a failed acquisition of Texas-based Prentiss Properties, its stock price took a hit and there were rumors of dissention in the management ranks. But when the dust settled and the company’s bottom line numbers were announced for the third quarter, Mack-Cali did just fine.

Indeed, as EVP/CFO Barry Lefkowitz announced via teleconference yesterday, the REIT saw FFO per diluted share for the quarter increase 7.2% over ’99. FFO, after adjustment for straight-lining of rents and non-recurring charges, were $65 million for the quarter, 89 cents a share. For the quarter, the company did exclude non-recurring charges of $27.9 million relating to its failed merger with Prentiss. And for the nine months, FFO was $197.5 million, $2.70 a share, vs. $182.2 million, $2.46 a share, a 9.8% rise, according to Lefkowitz.

“We’re pleased with the results,” CEO Mitchell Hersh told teleconferencers. Beyond the numbers, “we are going to execute a highly focused growth strategy,” says Hersh, referring to the company’s well-publicized move back to its regional roots. “With our asset disposition program in non-core markets, we will build greater value for our shareholders by redeploying the proceeds in our core, high-barrier-to-entry Northeast markets.”

Along those lines, the company has already sold assets in Austin, TX and Omaha, NE; has its assets in Houston and San Antonio on the market; and is ready to move properties in Phoenix, Denver and Dallas.

On the other side of the coin, Mack-Cali has acquired a couple of smaller properties in New Jersey, and is already rolling out the heavy artillery with major new developments in several Garden State locations. The biggest is a two-building, 1.5 million-sf addition to its massive Harborside Financial Center on the waterfront in Jersey City. For the latter project, the company has already signed discount broker Charles Schwab & Co. to as 15-year, 300,000-sf lease.

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