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TRENTON-In a transaction hailed by Mayor Douglas Palmer as a “sign of Trenton’s emergence,” Wachovia Corp. has sealed a deal that will result in the relocation of the financial institution’s regional offices, currently located in suburban Ewing Township, to the Downtown area of New Jersey’s capital city. The move to 32 E. Broad St., which is nearing completion, will take place in the first quarter of 2006.

“After many years in the suburbs, this company has decided that it is important for it to have a leading role in our city’s emergence,” Palmer said during his state of the city remarks. “I’m not just talking about a Wachovia branch, I’m talking about a regional headquarters. It will be the first major corporate headquarters to be located in Trenton in decades.”

Wachovia signed the lease, which carries a 10-year term, with Matrix Development Group, the Cranbury-based developer of 32 E. Broad. The signing encompasses three full floors, or approximately 43,500 sf within the 67,000-sf building.

The signing is also tied to the expiration–in January–of Wachovia’s current lease with Textron Financial Group at the latter’s 370 Scotch Rd. building in Ewing Township. The relocation involves a total of 125 employees.

Initiated by the Trenton Economic Development Corp., work started on the building in mid-2003 with an anchor tenant supposedly in hand. It was originally to have been anchored by the West Windsor-based law firm Hill Wallack, but the latter backed out in July 2004 when the building couldn’t be ready by the time the firm’s existing lease was up.

A call by Palmer to Joseph Taylor, president of Matrix, brought that company into the project as its developer, according to a source with knowledge of the deal. According to the source, Matrix will also assume ownership of the building. To get the project moving, the city pledged $3 million from its urban enterprise zone funds, according to Taneshia Laird, director of the city’s division of economic development. And to complete the Wachovia signing, officials had to work out “the challenges of moving a suburban company into the city–issues like parking,” she tells GlobeSt.com.

“Wachovia’s lease accommodates the growth of its business,” says Russell Tepper, Matrix’s vice president of development. “Our move to Downtown Trenton aligns with our commitment to economic development,” says Susanne Svizeny, Southern New Jersey regional president for Wachovia Bank NA. The lease agreement also includes exterior signage on both East Front and Broad streets. Besides its office space, the building includes an adjacent parking garage and about 10,000 sf of ground-floor retail.

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