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EAST HANOVER, NJ-It took 18 months and about $28 million worth of renovations, but Geneva, Switzerland-based flavor and fragrance maker Givaudan has moved into its new administrative and lab quarters at 711-717 Ridgedale Ave. here. The company acquired the 150,000-square-foot, 20-acre former Ridgedale Corporate Center in mid-2007 from Mountain Lakes, NJ-based North Jersey Development Group for $21.5 million, or about $142 per square foot.

The move-in actually culminates a five-year effort to find a new location. “Back in 2003, the initial thought was: new construction rather than renovation, because the cost for new [construction] was not much more,” says Steven Andersen, a principal of the New York-based architectural firm Montroy Andersen DeMarco and the project manager. “We programmed and designed what the client agreed was the perfect building. But over a great deal of time, the right land simply proved not to be available and it became apparent that renovation was the best way to proceed.”

The original plan was for a two-building complex separating administrative and lab functions, and 711-717 Ridgedale, constructed in phases over a 30-year period, had a “split plan” already in place. A two-story building houses offices, while a three-story building contains labs, odor booths and other creative facilities–the two structures are connected by a centrally located lobby atrium.

The renovation prior to Givaudan’s occupancy this month–of what the company considers its top North American fragrance development facility–includes new curtain wall enclosures, roofs, HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems. The facility, dubbed the Consumer Products Fragrance Creative Center, utilizes robotics for chemical mixing. Also part of the design are energy-efficient Low-e glass and fiber-optic lighting, sustainable bamboo flooring and automated building climate and lighting monitoring and control systems.

“The new center will allow us to engage clients differently,” says J. Colin O’Neill, president of Givaudan’s global consumer products business. “The development infrastructure and design concept promotes on-site interaction with clients and exposure to the perfume development process.”

Previous owner North Jersey Development had held the building–the long-time HQ of National Prescription Administrators–for just more than a year. North Jersey Development had acquired the complex in early 2006 from PREI for $15.3 million.

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