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CHERRY HILL, NJ-Popular Mortgage Servicing, a newly established subsidiary of Popular Financial Holdings Inc., has signed a lease for 57,000 sf of space at O’Neill Properties’ and Strategic Realty Investments’ Woodcrest Corporate Center here. The center is O’Neill Properties’ and Strategic Realty Investments’ redevelopment of the former Langston Manufacturing Co. steel fabrication plant. The facility stood vacant for two years after 100 years of operation before the joint venture partners bought it and converted it to offices.

The deal was arranged for the tenant by Kirk Miller of Cushman & Wakefield, while the owning partnership was repped by Joseph Corcoran and Mike MacCrory of Strategic Realty Investment, Wayne, PA. Terms of the lease were not disclosed.

Popular Mortgage Servicing joins Towers Perrin as a major tenant at the 330,000-sf Woodcrest Corporate Center. In the second half of 2004, the employment and benefits consulting firm signed a lease for 200,000 sf, moving 1,100 operations center employees to the site from another South Jersey location. That earlier lease, which carries a 10-year term, was one of the largest in metro Philadelphia last year.

“It’s a case study for how New Jersey can reclaim former industrial sites,” says Richard Heaney, executive vice president for O’Neill Properties, based in King of Prussia, PA. “It’s a leading example of ‘smart growth’.”

The layout of the facility puts all 330,000 sf of usable space on a single floor. The redeveloped building features 24-foot steel and glass ceilings, floor-to-ceiling exterior glass walls and a 40-foot by 60-foot skylight. The signing brings the facility to 83% occupancy, with 273,000 of its 330,000 sf now accounted for, according to Heaney.

“Woodcrest’s combination of ‘tier one’ amenities and design makes it a perfect location for our mortgage servicing employees,” says Bill Williams, president and CEO of Popular Mortgage Servicing. “It allows our employees to efficiently interact with each other and service our customers.” Parent company Popular Financial Holdings is a diversified retail and wholesale lending institution. Formerly known as Equity One, the company has more than $9 billion in managed assets.

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