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PLAINSBORO, NJ-Merrill Lynch has sold its local office complex, totaling 685,000 sf on 50 acres, for $122 million. That price tag equates to about $178 per sf, although the sale includes an adjacent site that can accommodate upwards of 700,000 sf of additional office development.

The buyer was a partnership that includes the Montvale-based Ivy Equities. The partner in the acquisition did not want to be identified, and the other parties involved in the deal would describe that entity only as, “a Philadelphia-based real estate development company.”

As reported by GlobeSt.com, Merrill Lynch put the property located at 800 Scudders Mill Rd. within Princeton Forrestal Center on the market this past fall as a sale-leaseback offering, listing it with Cushman & Wakefield’s Metropolitan Area Capital Markets Group, East Rutherford, NJ. “This is a great value-added offering,” Andrew Merin told GlobeSt.com when the property was listed.

“The quality of this asset and the opportunistic nature of the investment drew several pre-emptive bids, including the offer from Ivy Equities,” says Merin, who arranged the sale along with C&W colleagues David Bernhaut, Gary Gabriel and Jose Cruz. “It sits directly across the street from where Princeton Medical Center is planning to relocate, and it’s in one of New Jersey’s most prestigious corporate neighborhoods.”

Besides the site’s build-out capacity, the property will also have Merrill Lynch on the premises for the time being. Under the terms of the sale-leaseback agreement, the financial giant will stay on for another year as it continues to reorganize its local operations in preparation for relocating to another office campus in nearby Hopewell.

Beyond 2008, 800 Scudders Mill Rd. is all set for a major tenant that has already committed to more than half of its space. BlackRock Inc., which recently merged with Merrill Lynch’s Investment Management Group, has leased that space on a long-term basis.

Developed in phases between 1985 and 1994, 800 Scudders Mill Rd. sits just off Route 1 near the New Jersey Turnpike and other major routes. Amenities include lake views, atrium entrances, trading floor areas, some with raised floors, and an executive area. It also connects to the Harrison Conference Center and Hotel, which Merrill Lynch developed and formerly owned. The latter is now under separate ownership and was not part of Merrill Lynch’s offering.

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