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LIVINGSTON, NJ-In what is being touted as the single largest lease deal in the state so far this year, Verizon is signing on for 153,000 square feet at the Eisenhower Corporate Campus here. The communications giant plans to use the new site as a customer service center staffed by 950 employees who will move from company facilities in Madison, NJ and Scotch Plains, NJ.

The 385,000-square-foot property is owned by Eastman Cos., which also serves as on-site manager, and its partner, the Sagner Cos. According to a statement from Verizon, the facility, located at 290 W. Mt. Pleasant Ave., was previously occupied by Bellcore and most recently by Prudential.

Jeffrey J. Garibaldi, president of the Garibaldi Group, represented Eastman in the transaction. “It is quite remarkable that we have been able to lease such a large block of space and introduce a blue-chip tenant to the West Essex market in a tough economy for deal-making,” he says. “What makes this deal so remarkable is that we have been able to complete one of the largest–if not the largest–lease transaction this year in an office market that has been dominated of late by smaller transactions and lower deal velocity.”

In addition to Garibaldi, ownership was repped by Michael and Peter Schofel, managing partners at Eastman Cos., and Eric J. Maurer, director of leasing for Eastman Cos., in addition to David A. Kelso of the Sagner Cos. Wayne Kasbar and Adam Silver of Grubb and Ellis advised Verizon in the transaction.

Construction is currently under way to fit out the space to Verizon’s specifications under the direction of the architectural firm of Rotwein & Blake and the Eastman Construction Co., a division of Eastman Cos. Verizon is expected to begin operations in its new facility later this year.

In a related matter, Verizon is in the process of selling its building at 540 Broad St. in Newark. It plans to lease back the space and keep its New Jersey headquarters there.

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