NEWARK-A recent surge of leasing activity has netted more than 86,000 sf of new, renewed and expanded occupancy at the Legal Center, a 420,000-sf, 20-story class A tower in this city’s Gateway area. Also known as One Riverfront Center, the property is owned by Cranbury-based Matrix Development Group.

Leading the surge are two law firms, which combined have signed up for nearly 53,000 sf. For one, the international firm Patton Boggs has taken 28,828 sf in a deal brokered by Mark Weiss and Robert Eisenberg of Newmark Knight Frank. And McManimon & Scotland, a multi-practice firm, has signed a 23,719-sf renewal and expansion. The tenant was represented by Jim Medenbach of the Staubach Co.’s Murray Hill office.

Also, STV Inc., an architectural and engineering firm, signed a 8,238-sf renewal, brokered by Walter Schoenberg of Cushman & Wakefield; Everest Technology Group signed an 8,959-sf lease, brokered by Jim Bailey of GVA Williams; and the engineering/design firm URS Corp. signed a 4,945-sf lease, brokered by Jack Feeney of Studley.

Finally, HDR Engineering signed up for 3,818 sf, with Jon Karnick, formerly of Newmark Knight Frank and now with Assure Realty as the broker; the law firm LeBoeuf Lamb Green & McRae took 2,800 sf, with Rich Baumstein of Cushman & Wakefield as the broker; PMA Consulting, a construction firm, took 2,498 sf, brokered by Jeff Kolodkin of Grubb & Ellis; and the law firm of Winston & Strawn signed for 2,322 sf, with Richard Charles of CB Richard Ellis as the broker.

“One Riverfront Center continues to be a premier business address,” says Matrix VP Hilary Budny. “It remains a catalyst for economic and business development in Newark.”

Terms of the various leases were not released; comparable space in this city’s Gateway area generally command asking rents in the $35-per-sf range. One Riverfront Center itself is connected by pedestrian skywalk to both Newark Penn Station, a major rail hub, and to the multi-tower Gateway Center complex.

And Matrix is currently marketing a 100,000-sf space at the building, a block that went on the market early this year after the Gibbons law firm moved across the street to Advance Realty Group’s One Gateway Center. Matrix has since spent $1.5 million to prep the former Gibbons space for new tenants.

Matrix also owns seven acres of waterfront land adjacent to One Riverfront Center. Planning is currently under way to turn that site into a $400 million mixed-use project.

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