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FLORHAM PARK, NJ-The Gale Co., based here, closed on its acquisition of a 36-building, 4.7-million-sf office portfolio, GlobeSt.com has learned. In a deal that has been in the works since Gale signed a definitive purchase and sale agreement in early spring, the firm is spending $555 million to buy out the interests of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds and UBS in the properties.

The portfolio, which Gale has been managing for the past seven years, is made up of the bulk of the holdings of Bellemead Development Corp., which was itself owned by Chubb Insurance. The buildings, a combination of class A and B assets, are located in New Jersey, as well as in Michigan and the Chicago area. Gale, MSREF and UBS bought the holdings from Chubb in 1997.

Gale is financing the acquisition through Wachovia Securities, and through an affiliate of the New York-based SL Green Realty Corp. Schonbraun Safris McCann Bekritsky & Co. of Roseland advised Gale on the deal, while Morgan Stanley and UBS advised their own respective affiliates.

“We are very proud to have closed on this milestone acquisition, and to continue our ownership of these assets,” says Stan Gale, chairman and CEO of the company that bears his name. “We are also pleased to team up with SL Green, a world-class capital partner, to execute this highly creative transaction, which provides us with the working capital to reinvest in these assets and maintain them to our standards.”

“We look forward to establishing a long and successful relationship with the Gale Co.,” says Marc Holliday, president and CEO of SL Green.

Gale, of course, will continue its role as leasing, construction and property manager for the buildings, which collectively are still commonly referred to as the Bellemead portfolio.

And, according to Gale president and chief investment officer, Mark Yeager, “we are aggressively targeting new acquisition and development opportunities throughout New Jersey and in targeted markets across the US.”

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