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WEST WINDSOR, NJ-Speculation has been rampant that given its well-publicized financial woes, Chicago-based General Growth Properties would be willing to part with some of those properties to raise some cash. Now, GlobeSt.com has learned, one of its New Jersey properties is indeed on the market.

It’s not an existing, developed mall property so common in the company’s portfolio, but rather a 650-acre industrial R&D campus that had been slated for mixed-use redevelopment. GGP has quietly hired Grubb & Ellis to find a buyer for the property, which contains some 450,000 square feet of R&D and administrative buildings. Ben Shapiro, SVP in that firm’s Edison office, is heading the assignment.

GGP inherited the property in 2004 when it acquired the Rouse Co. The latter had purchased the campus in June of that year for just $35 million from pharma giant Wyeth, which itself had picked up the former American Cyanamid agricultural research campus in 2002. Just six weeks after Rouse closed on the property, Rouse agreed to be acquired by GGP.

“When Rouse purchased the property, it was their intent to develop it into a multitude of different uses that would be anchored by a regional mall,” Shapiro tells GlobeSt.com. “General Growth’s vision remained the same, and in fact they hired the team from Rouse that had acquired this site.”

At one point, GGP was in deep negotiations with Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom’s to anchor a proposed mall for the site, but both of those chains subsequently opted for locations at Kravco Simon’s adjacent Quakerbridge Mall as part of that center’s 600,000-square-foot expansion.

“Since that time, GGP continued to pursue their options, but did not come forward with the submission of formal plans to the town,” Shapiro says. A spokesman for GGP could not be reached for comment.

The site’s various buildings were constructed between the 1950s and 1998 and total 750,000 square feet. The R&D/administrative portion now on the market consists of 450,000 square feet, and it is unclear whether any of those buildings would be utilized as part of a redevelopment. The site is bordered by Route 1 and Quakerbridge Rd., and is bisected by Clarksville Rd. in the Princeton-area community.

“The campus is zoned for research office and limited manufacturing, as well as mixed-use development,” Shapiro says. “As far as its environmental status, we’ve been told that GGP has an NFA (no further action) from the New Jersey DEP that meets the residential standard, and that there is approximately 200 acres of wetlands on the site.”

Shapiro says, “General Growth would like to sell this property on an ‘as is, where is’ basis and, as such, they will entertain all reasonable offers.” An asking price has not been released.

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