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JERSEY CITY, NJ-Making its second major acquisition in the Garden State in recent weeks, Wells Real Estate Investment Trust II Inc., Norcross, GA, has picked up the International Financial Tower, a 630,000-sf, 19-story office building here. The sale price was not released, but a source with knowledge of the transaction puts the number in the $195 million range, or more than $300 per sf.

The seller was a closed-end real estate fund set up by CommerzLeasing und Immobilien Group, Duesseldorf, Germany. CIG had teamed up with the Atlanta-based Germania of America to buy the building in 2000 from its original developer, Mack-Cali Realty Corp., Cranford, NJ, for a reported $153 million.

The building, located at 95 Christopher Columbus Dr., is currently 100% leased. The Bank of New York-owned Pershing LLC, a service provider for the financial industry, occupies three-quarters of what is commonly referred to as “the Pershing Building” as its headquarters, with a lease that runs into 2021. The asset, which features a waterfall-dominated five-story atrium, was completed in 1989 as the headquarters for a predecessor firm of Pershing.

‘This is a fine addition to the Wells REIT II portfolio, a true class A property in a desirable financial center with a very strong lead tenant,” says David Steinwedell, chief investment officer for Wells Real Estate Funds. “The Hudson waterfront submarket is showing strong office absorption and we feel very good about this area.”

“There were a number of competitive offers, and we were successful in making the deal,” says Jeff Gilder, managing director of acquisitions, who teamed with vice president Heather Griner to represent Wells in-house. “We think it is a good value for both parties.”

Also in the building are PNC Bank and NTT Data Communications. As reported by GlobeSt.com, the latter, a subsidiary of a Japan-based data communications provider, renewed its lease for more than 136,000 sf in mid 2004. That lease runs through mid-2014.

The deal follows by weeks another major pick-up by Wells just a few miles away in downtown Newark. As reported by GlobeSt.com, that earlier acquisition was 80 Park Plaza, a 26-story, one-million-sf tower fully occupied by Public Service Electric & Gas as its headquarters under a lease that runs through 2015. Wells paid a reported $147.5 million for 80 Park Plaza, which was sold by an affiliate of Lehman Brothers.

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