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BRIDGEWATER, NJ-Pharmaceuticals and biotech have long been a key economic driver in New Jersey, so even in one of the weakest submarkets in a generally down office market, leave it to the pharmaceutical industry to help things out by taking a large block of space in hand. Biovail Pharmaceuticals Inc., based in Mississauga, ON, has signed a long-term lease for the entire 115,558-sf Bridgewater Hills Corporate Center here. Details of the transaction were not released.

Bob Lee, John Kuhn and John Hoffman of Grubb & Ellis’ Fairfield, NJ office represented the owner of the class A facility, the locally based Bridgewater Investments Inc. Biovail was spoken for by Paul Myers and Ed DaCosta of CB Richard Ellis.

Biovail, which produces oral controlled-release products for respiratory ailments, allergies, hypertension and a number of other applications, will be relocating its office operations currently located in Raleigh-Durham, NC to the facility, which is located on a 20-acre site at 700 Route 202/206. Occupancy is currently slated for early 2004 in a move that involves several hundred employees, according to Biovail officials.

The lease also represents one of the largest office leases signed so far this year in Somerset County, where the office market is among the hardest hit in the Garden State by the overall economic downturn. Indeed, according to Grubb & Ellis’ Research/Client Service Group, the overall office availability rate for the county was hovering in the 38% range in mid 2003, with much of that excess tied to the telecom industry’s woes, as well as to the Pfizer/Pharmacia merger. That 38% is the highest overall availability rate out of the 11 Northern and Central New Jersey counties tracked by Grubb & Ellis.

“Against the backdrop of the transitional real estate market conditions, we are pleased that Biovail has chosen to relocate its operations to Bridgewater Hills Corporate Center,” says Lee. “Biovail was attracted to this particular region of New Jersey because of the large concentration of pharmaceutical firms located in proximity.”

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