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NEW YORK CITY-Melville, NY-based Reckson Associates Realty Corp. will spend more than $3 million to convert a vacant industrial building it owns in the Hauppauge Industrial Park to office space. The build out is part of a single-tenant lease for the 57,050-sf property the REIT just signed with pharma firm Forest Laboratories Inc.

CB Richard Ellis senior vice president Bob Godfrey represented the tenant in the transaction. While he would not reveal specific financial details of the lease, Godfrey tells GlobeSt.com that Forest is paying less than $25 per sf for the space. “We got a better rate than we would have gotten in an office building,” he says. “Office space [in the area] is in the mid-$20s and we’re considerably below that.”

Reckson vice president of leasing Joe Caridi also refused to reveal details of the 12-year lease and said that it would be difficult if not impossible to come up with comparable area rents. “This was a conversion, so it’s a different type of animal,” Caridi tells GlobeSt.com. “So I don’t know if there’s anything you can actually compare it to.”

Reckson is footing the bill for a complete overhaul of the structure, both interior and exterior. Godfrey credits Reckson’s in-house architectural services with “really making the deal flow smoothly.” But while Caridi claims a timeframe for the project has yet to be established and “move-in is subject to completion of the work,” Godfrey says his client is looking for a late-summer relocation “right after labor day. We’re fast tracking it. They want to get in as soon as possible.” Reckson has already approved site plans with the town of Smithtown.

The structure’s exterior will be clad in Lucabond, while the interior, which will house Forest’s information technology unit, is slated for conversion from warehouse space to offices. Amenities will include full utility backup and fully redundant energy and environmental systems.

Reckson picked up the Moreland Road property in 1998 for $1.6 million. It was one of six assets acquired by the REIT at the time. The aggregate purchase price of the office and industrial portfolio was $62 million.

According to Caridi, Reckson is currently converting another Long Island industrial property to office space. “We just did a similar deal at 100 Engineers Road, also in the Hauppauge Industrial Park,” he tells GlobeSt.com. Caridi says the project called for “knocking down half the building. We took an 88,000-sf industrial building and converted it to 40,000 sf of office space,” leaving additional room for parking. Caridi again declined to reveal financial details but said the project is expected to be finished by September.

Reckson Associates is a self-administered and self-managed REIT specializing in the acquisition, leasing, financing, management and development of office and industrial properties. Reckson’s core growth strategy is focused on the markets surrounding and including New York City.

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