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NORWALK, CT-In the largest lease deal in Fairfield County in 2003, GE Commercial Finance has signed a lease for 221,000 sf of space at 201 Merritt 7.

The subsidiary of GE Capital of Stamford, will be relocating some of its employees in Fairfield County to the Merritt 7 Corporate Park, which is owned by Albert D. Phelps Inc. GE Commercial Finance signed a 10-year lease at 201 Merritt 7, a 240,125-sf building that is part of the six-building, 1.5 million-sf Merritt 7 office complex.

John P. Crosby, chairman, president and CEO and Kathleen Williams, director of leasing, of Albert D. Phelps Inc., represented the ownership in the transaction.

Officials knowledgeable about the transaction say that between 400 to 600 GE Commercial Finance employees will be housed at the Merritt 7 complex once the firm takes occupancy of the space this October. The Merritt 7 Corporate Park is also home to offices of GE Commercial Leasing, which occupies approximately 60,000 sf of space at 401 Merritt 7.

Crosby of Albert D. Phelps Inc. confirmed the lease with GE Commercial Finance and says of the deal, “This transaction was the result of a year and a half of hard work and ownership’s commitment towards working with tenants, recognizing tenants needs and remaining flexible…”

In fact, the ownership had to do a little bit of shuffling of the deck so to speak to accommodate the GE Commercial Finance tenancy. Phelps officials note that M-real USA, a paper company, is relocating from 9,000 sf of space at 201 Merritt 7 to 15,000 sf of space at 401 Merritt 7. Daimler Chrysler’s Debis financial unit, which at one time had as much as 115,000 sf of space at 201 Merritt 7, is downsizing from 32,500 sf at the building and will move to approximately 26,000 sf of space at 501 Merritt 7. The Daimler Chrysler firm is occupying space formerly leased by the Core Insurance Group. The firm is moving to 3,200 sf of space at 101 Merritt 7, according to officials with the building owner.

GE Commercial Finance’s lease comprises most of the 201 Merritt 7 building, with the exception of about 8,000 sf of space on the Plaza Level that is home to a fitness center and audio-video conference center and approximately 7,500 sf of subleased space.

Phelps officials note that Labatt USA recently expanded its headquarters at the Merritt 7 Corporate Park by another 5,000 sf of space to approximately 36,000 sf. Other major tenants at the complex include ABB USA, Emcor Group Inc., Olin Corp., Arch Chemicals, the Financial Accounting Standards Board and Kodak Polychrome Graphics.

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