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FLORHAM PARK, NJ-The Gale Co., based here, and the New York City-based SL Green Realty Corp. have hired Eastdil Realty Co. to “explore various alternatives” for recapitalizing a jointly held portfolio of 29 office building totaling more than 4.2 million sf. The properties are located mostly in suburban Northern New Jersey locations.

“The venture partners’ objective is to realize the value created in the portfolio through the signing of more than 1.5 million sf of leases over the past 18 months, at a time when favorable market conditions prevail in both debt and equity markets,” according to a prepared statement issued by the companies. “The recapitalization will provide the venture with additional resources to focus on its objective to acquire and develop value-added suburban office properties in the tri-state [New York, New Jersey and Connecticut] area.”

Most of the holdings involved are part of a 36-building, 4.7-million-sf office portfolio that Gale acquired in the middle of 2004 with SL Green’s financial backing. The bulk of the former Bellemead Development Corp. portfolio, acquired from Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds and UBS for a reported $555 million, is located in Northern New Jersey, although a handful of the acquired properties were in Michigan and in the Chicago area. The New Jersey holdings include such properties as the seven-building 280 Corporate Center in Roseland.

The move to recapitalize their joint holdings follows the news, earlier this week that Gale and SL Green, along with an affiliate of Principal Real Estate Investors, had signed pharma giant Sanofi-aventis to a full-campus, 670,000-sf US headquarters lease for the partners’ 55 Corporate Dr. in Bridgewater. Gale and SL Green had teamed up to buy the three-building, 150-acre campus from AT&T just this past May.

“The Gale Co. and SL Green have enjoyed a relationship built on a vision to drive value in our tri-state investment portfolio,” says Stan Gale, Gale’s chairman. “That relationship continues, as illustrated by our most recent, separate joint venture acquisition of 55 Corporate Dr.”

Also this past May, the partners teamed up for another acquisition that’s outside the recap effort. Gale, with the backing of an SL Green affiliate, paid $31.4 million for the 147,000-sf 105 Challenger Rd. in Ridgefield Park. The asset, fully occupied by Samsung and Chase Mellon, was acquired from Wellsford/Whitehall Group.

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