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NEWARK-When New York-based JEMB Realty bought the old Krementz Jewelry Co. plant here three years ago, the idea was to turn it into a 200,000-sf telco hotel. The company even formed a separate division to operate a series of similar properties around the country. One dot-com bust and telecom roll-back later, the property has been repositioned for more general use, a decision that has just paid off in a big way.

Affiliated Computer Services has taken over 50,600 sf on the building’s first and second floors, where it will operate New Jersey’s EZ-Pass customer-service operations. The company also operates the New York, Maryland and Delaware segments of the EZ-Pass electronic toll-collection system from locations in those states. The NJ location, officially known as 375 McCarter Hwy., will house more than 300 jobs, a larger total than the entire building might have created as a telco hotel. The asset is located between McCarter Highway and Broad Street just south of this city’s downtown.

ACS’s move-in comes after an accelerated 60-day build-out made more pressing by the company’s desire to move out of cramped quarters in Paramus, NJ. “They had an aggressive schedule to meet, so we had architects, engineers and contractors working around the clock,” according to Raymond Chalme, a partner and co-founder of JEMB Realty. “The opportunities this company is offering the community are tremendous.”

“We were not only able to provide the space, but we also worked closely with ACS to meet their needs in a timely manner,” adds Daniel M. Blanco, JEMB’s senior managing director.

As part of its initial effort to launch the building as a telco facility, JEMB spent a lot of money importing state-of-the-art communications, including fiber optics and related systems. Company officials say they spent $8 million for a power substation alone.

ACS spokespeople say the set-up worked for them. Besides serving as an administrative office and 24-hour call center, ACS offices here also serve as a consumer center with heavy walk-in traffic.

As far as the lease transaction that led to ACS’ move-in, Christian M. Benedetto, Jr. of Newark-based National Redevelopment repped JEMB Realty. ACS was represented by Edwin H. Cohen, executive director, and David N. Stifelman, director of Cushman & Wakefield of New Jersey, East Rutherford.

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