HAMILTON TWP., NJ-Preferred Real Estate Investments, based in Conshohocken, PA, has completed its acquisition of the 750,000-sf former American Standard plant here. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, however, industry sources estimate that the final number on the deal was in the $50 million range.

The acquisition has been in the works for nearly two years, ever since PREI announced plans to buy the three-building, 112-acre complex and redevelop it as American Metro Center, a 450,000-sf class A office complex. The closing of the transaction and the start of the site’s redevelopment was sparked, say officials, by the fact that PREI has lined up 11 local tenants that will make the project approximately 30% pre-leased. The 11 tenants have not been identified.

“We’ve been enthusiastic supporter of Preferred Real Estate from the very beginning, and we’re pleased that they will now move ahead with their plans for the site,” says Aris Chicles, vice president of business development for American Standard. The seller, a Piscataway, NJ-based manufacturing conglomerate that makes everything from air conditioning and bath and kitchen products to automotive products, shuttered the outdated plant a number of years ago.

What PREI has in mind for the vintage World War I-era complex, which is situated adjacent to the Hamilton commuter train station in the Princeton area, is to restore its terracotta tile exterior, mosaic design work and red-brick walls. The finished complex will offer industrially inherent features like high-bay ceilings and oversized window bays, along with such modern amenities as conference rooms, auditoriums, a fitness center and a full-service cafeteria, according to plans laid out by PREI officials.

“Hamilton Station has been one of the most successful public transportation projects in the state’s history, and being adjacent to the station makes this one of the most convenient buildings for tenants to occupy,” says Michael G. O’Neill, founder and chairman of PREI.

“Our ability to sign 11 tenants before construction started clearly indicates the kind of demand that exists for this project,” O’Neill continues. “The work setting created by these historic buildings will be truly unique.”

PREI, which now has a portfolio of nine million sf, is offering space at the rate of $23.50 a foot, according to O’Neill. The going rate in the region is currently $26 and up. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by the end of this year, and the entire redevelopment is expected to be completed by early next year.

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