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BRIDGEWATER, NJ-Wells Real Estate Investment Trust, the Atlanta-based real estate investment management firm, has picked up 200 Bridgewater Crossing, a 300,000-sf class A office building in this Somerset County community. The eight-story building is fully leased through early 2012 by Aventis Pharmaceuticals, which uses the location as its headquarters.

“High-quality tenant credit is the foundation for every acquisition we make, and Aventis certainly meets our investment criteria,” according to Wells chief investment officer David Steinwedell, referring to the company’s senior unsecured debt rating of A+ and A1 (positive) by S&P and Moody’s respectively. The subsidiary of France’s Aventis S.A. is primarily involved in therapeutics in the areas of cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses.

“Long-term, creditworthy tenants help to generate the income our investors expect from Wells REIT,” continues Steinwedell, who declined to disclose any further terms of the transaction, including the sale price.

The building is half of the 600,000-sf Bridgewater Crossing office complex, which has become one very hot property considering the softness of the local office market. Bridgewater Crossing, which still has approximately 180,000 sf available for lease, was completed in the middle of last year by the Texas-based Hines organization.

Hines, however, promptly sold both buildings at the beginning of this year to a subsidiary of the New York City-based Peabody Global Real Estate Partners, a fund co-managed by The O’Connor Group and JP Morgan Investment Management. While the sale price of that transaction was not disclosed, industry sources put the deal in the $150 million range, or about $250 per sf.

Now Peabody has apparently sold one of the two buildings to Wells, which has, of late, been on a buying spree in the Garden State. Just this past May, Wells bought a 410,000-sf, Citicorp-occupied office building in Englewood Cliffs, NJ for some $70.5 million. And late last year the REIT acquired a 405,000-sf class A building in Parsippany, NJ for a reported $101 million. That particular building is fully occupied by Key Bank USA.

It newest acquisition sits at the convergence of I-78, I-287 and Routes 22 and 202-206 in Central New Jersey. Adjacent properties include Bridgewater Commons, a region mall, and the new Bridgewater Marriott Hotel.

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