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MOUNT OLIVE, NJ-BPG Properties Ltd., the real estate manager for the Philadelphia-based Berwind Property Group, has launched its marketing campaign for Morris Crossroads, a five-building, one-million-sf office complex within the International Trade Center here. BPG has given the assignment to Cushman & Wakefield of NJ, with Robert Donnelly, Marc Rosenberg and Charles Hatfield of that firm’s Parsippany office handling the assignment.

The owners say they’re targeting Manhattan companies and back office and redundant-type operations to fill the sprawling complex, which once housed the North American headquarters of chemical giant BASF. The latter downsized and moved into two smaller North Jersey locations in 2003 and 2004, leaving the buildings completely vacant.

“Business continuity, redundancy, secure data center and affordable back office spaces are essential,” says Christopher Locatell, VP of BPG. “Demand for these services far outweighs supply in the New York metro market. With demand outpacing supply, landlords increased rents by more than 25%, resulting in some rental rates over $100 per sf in Manhattan in 2006.

“This facility provides access to the regional work force for literally one-quarter of the cost,” Locatell says. “The need for value-added options in this marketplace is a natural extension into the suburbs. New Jersey has seen major financial services corporations reduce their occupancy costs by hundreds of millions of dollars or more over the term of a 10-year lease by taking advantage of facilities like this.”

Built for BASF in phases between 1994 and 1998, the complex sits at the intersection of Interstate 80 and Routes 46 and 206 in Morris County, carrying an address of 3000 Continental Dr. Its features include an 800-seat cafeteria, a medical suite and credit union. The 97-acre site also carries additional development rights.

As reported by GlobeSt.com BPG bought it from BASF on behalf of its BPG Investment Partnership VII LP, a private equity fund, in June 2006, and subsequently renamed it Morris Crossroads. The sale price was not disclosed, but a source with knowledge of transaction told GlobeSt.com then that the property traded for just $50 million. The property had initially been listed in 2003 with an asking price of $195 million, as reported here, but the vacancy factor and potential costs of repositioning it brought the final price down substantially, the source told GlobeSt.com.

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