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LYNDHURST, NJ-Wells REIT wants to buy up $2.5 billion worth of properties nationwide this year, and the Atlanta-based investor has been making the Garden State one of its key targets. The REIT has just added the 268,000-sf Copper Ridge Center at 9 Polito Rd. here to its growing portfolio, paying a reported $47 million for the class A office building.

The deal factors out to just over $175 per sf for the 10-story asset, which is situated on 6.15 acres just off the New Jersey Turnpike and Routes 3 and 17 in the Meadowlands submarket. While Wells officials would not disclose further details of the transaction, including the identity of the seller, the Utah State Retirement Fund of Salt Lake City had been listed as the owner of the property.

“Given our commitment to invest up to $500 million in the New York metropolitan area, the acquisition of Copper Ridge Center is another step toward achieving that goal,” according to Wells chief investment officer David Steinwedell. “This building also enhances our portfolio by geographic diversity, by tenant quality and by lease term.”

The asset’s tenant roster is headed by Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. The men’s and women’s apparel and accessories company currently leases 161,000 sf, or a little less than two-thirds of the building, on a long-term basis. Other tenants at Copper Ridge Center include Mitel Networks and TeleCheck.

The latest acquisition follows quickly on the heels of Wells REIT’s buy, in mid-summer, of the 300,000-sf 200 Bridgewater Crossing in Bridgewater, NJ for an undisclosed price (see earlier story). The class A building is leased through 2012 to pharmaceutical giant Aventis, which uses it at its North American headquarters.

This past spring, meanwhile, Wells paid a reported $70.5 million for a 410,000-sf office building in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, an asset that’s fully occupied by Citicorp. And about a year ago the company bought a 405,000-sf class A building in Parsippany, NJ, fully occupied by Key Bank and a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank.

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