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NEWARK-The orphaned 570 Broad St., long vacant and on the market for sale, will finally have a new owner. Heritage Management Co. is under contract to buy the 14-story, 190,000-sf Downtown tower from Investment Properties Association, a New York City-based partnership that includes Leona Helmsley, the estate of the late Harry Helmsley and other principals of Helmsley-Spear.

The price tag of $7.5 million is a sharp reduction from the $13-million price tag IPA had placed on the building, which has been entirely vacant since 1997. That year, First Fidelity Bank vacated the premises in the wake of its merger and subsequent consolidation with First Union Bank. The sale was brokered by Christian Benedetto, a principal of the Newark-based National Redevelopment.

The building hit the market shortly after First Fidelity moved out. Initially, IPA tried to flip it in a sale of a dozen-building office portfolio here and in New York and Chicago, but that effort unraveled and the various assets have been sold individually. One reason 570 Broad took so long to sell, according to observers, was that IPA held out for several years for $13 million, or about $68 per sf. The eventual sale price of $7.5 million factors out to only about $39 per sf.

Since the building turned up vacant six years ago, its history has been checkered, to say the least. Early on, MetLife strongly considered it as an ancillary location but decided not to make a move. And nearly two years ago, the Gale Co. of Florham Park, NJ, thought it had the building at the $13 million price tag, but that deal fell apart in a morass of charges of tenant-poaching, a lawsuit involving state officials, a major resignation and other machinations involving another Downtown office tower.

According to observers, IPA finally caved in on the sale price because of the weakened regional office market, as well as the deteriorating condition of the building itself. Heritage officials concede that the asset will require a major interior renovation to make it ready for occupancy.

The acquisition does give the Ridgewood, NJ-based Heritage a one-two punch Downtown. Just two years ago, the company bought the adjacent 19-story 550 Broad St., paying an estimated $23 million for it. Both buildings are situated at the northern end of this city’s Downtown, near the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

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