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MORRIS PLAINS, NJ-A $26.8 million first mortgage loan of $26.8 million has been arranged for the Morris Business Campus. The property is a 320,000-sf class B building with a tenant roster that includes such names Traveler’s Insurance, publisher Houghton Mifflin and Foster Wheeler.

Martin Klebanoff, senior vice president and regional manager of the Parsippany, NJ regional office of Baltimore, MD-based Legg Mason, Inc., arranged the package for owner PMW Partnership LLC. The funding came from an unnamed major life insurance company. Legg Mason is a holding company whose subsidiaries are involved in securities brokerage, investment advisory, investment banking, commercial mortgage banking and other financial services.

“This is the second time in three years that we have financed this property,” according to Klebanoff. “Originally financed as a participating mortgage when it was 40% leased, the participating lender has now been paid off with a significant return, and this new financing has reduced the monthly debt service by about $100,000.”

PMW Partnership recently finished a complete renovation of Morris Business Campus. The makeover project involved adding a two-story atrium, a new parking lot with a circular drive, plus such amenities as a health club and cafeteria.

“The renovation has brought some significant tenants to the property,” according to Klebanoff. “It is currently 65% leased, with leases out for the balance of the space. The managing partners have done an extraordinary job of turning a tired piece of real estate into a well-performing asset. It has the makings of a classic value-added real estate story.”

Morris Business Campus is located in Morris County in Northern New Jersey, one of the Garden State’s stronger office submarkets. The renovation of the property is another sign that one ongoing trend is alive and well: In a market where the development timeline is still long and new construction is under tight restraint, developers and owners are continuing to revert to existing underperforming assets to bring product to market.

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