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MIDDLETOWN, NJ-Mack-Cali Realty Corp. has acquired a 62.5% interest in One River Center, a three-building, class A office complex totaling 460,000 sf here. The interest was acquired through the exercise of an equity conversion option on the mezzanine loan the REIT provided on the property in 2003. The loan balance at the time of conversion was $13 million.

As reported earlier by GlobeSt.com, the mezz loan was provided to One River Associates, a partnership headed by local builders William Schaffel and Ben Torcivia, Sr. When the loan was provided, Mack-Cali was also hired by One River Associates to manage and lease the asset.

“This transaction allowed us to participate in this property with minimal risk during its lease-up, and to convert our loan position into an equity interest in the property as it became more stabilized,” says Mitchell E. Hersh, president/CEO of the Cranford-based Mack-Cali. “This transaction further enhances our position in Monmouth County, one of the top submarkets in the state.”

One River Center consists of two four-story, 120,000-sf buildings and one three-story, 220,000-sf building on 35 acres near Exit 109 of the Garden State Parkway. When the mezz loan deal was cut, the property was about 52% leased. The complex is now nearly 85% leased, according to Hersh.

A major signing came this past spring when High Point Safety and Insurance Management Corp. signed on for more than 88,000 sf for an 11-year term, moving its headquarters here from nearby Holmdel. High Point, a subsidiary of the Berkeley Heights-based Palisades Safety and Insurance Association, is the former property and casualty business of Prudential Financial.

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