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[IMGCAP(1)]NEWARK, NJ-When Verizon New Jersey agreed to sell its headquarters building at 540 Broad St. to Accordia Realty Ventures in February, it was described as a precursor to the company’s move to another location out of town, supposedly in the suburbs. As part of the deal, Verizon NJ was to have stayed in the building for 18 months until a new location was found, while keeping a small executive presence at the site on a longer-term basis.

[IMGCAP(2)]In an apparent about-face, the telecom giant intends not only to remain at 540 Broad St. full-force, but also increase its on-site workforce by nearly 50%. According to a published report, Verizon NJ has signed a 10-year lease with Accordia for nearly half of the 20-story, 425,000-sf landmark art deco tower. The move calls for the company to keep the existing 650 staffers on-site while adding another 300, mostly sales positions.

“The deal is moving forward,” Joseph Romano, a partner of the Fairfield, NJ-based Accordia, tells GlobeSt.com, referring to the building sale. “But the terms of the deal have now been expanded.”

Romano confirms to GlobeSt.com that the pending lease involves, “in excess of 200,000 sf. We are still moving forward to finalizing the deal to acquire the building, and Verizon has re-affirmed its commitment to Newark. Everybody’s working in harmony on this. We had a lot of faith in the building.” A spokesman for Verizon NJ did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

While the pending building sale still requires state BPU approval and must meet “other contingencies,” Accordia is moving forward with plans to spend millions of dollars on upgrades, notably the lobby and exterior, Romano confirms. As far as the rest of the building’s vacant space, amounting to about 200,000 sf, “leasing interest in the property is strong,” he says.

Verizon NJ put the building up for sale as part of a three-building portfolio this past summer. The sale price has not been disclosed, but industry sources with knowledge of the transaction put the number in the $35-million range. The other two buildings in the portfolio, a 210,000-sf switching and call center in Madison and a 30,000-sf call center in Scotch Plains, remain on the market.

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