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EATONTOWN-Meridian Investment Partners LLC and Phillips Real Estate Services have teamed up to buy Meridian Center I, a 60,000-sf class A office building at 2 Industrial Way here. Buying the property as a partnership called 2 Industrial Way Associates LLC, the two firms pick it up from the New York-based Topnotch Realty & Development. The sale price of $10.7 million factors out to just more than $178 per sf.

The buyers now own and operate four of the five office buildings that make up the 200,000-sf Meridian Office Center. That acquisition process began in 2000, according to Gary Rafaloff, managing partner of the Freehold-based Meridian Investment Partners. The fifth building at Meridian Office Center remains under separate ownership.

“Adding Meridian Center I to our portfolio gives us significant operating synergies with the other three properties we control in the complex,” says Rafaloff, who structured the financing for ownership entity 2 Industrial Way Associates through JP Morgan Chase. “We’ve had an interest in this property for several years and put in our first offer in June of 2006. We are now actively seeking additional properties to add to our portfolio.”

Built in 1986, the three-story building was fully occupied at the time of sale. Its tenants include the law firm of Wilentz Goldman and Spitzer; Eastern Title Agency Inc., a subsidiary of Hovnanian Enterprises; and Central Jersey Hand Surgery Inc.

“It has consistently attracted and maintained some of the most desirable tenants in the market,” says Eric Phillips, president of the Red Bank-based Phillips Real Estate Services, who found the deal and brokered it on behalf of the buying partnership. Seller Topnotch Realty & Development was represented by Newmark Knight Frank.

“We have been seeing properties like this trade at very low cap rates,” Phillips says. “That’s why we were so pleased to finally be able to obtain the property at a price that, along with the proper debt structure, should maximize returns for our investors.”

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