BASF has officially opened its new North American headquarters, in Florham Park, marking the completion of one of the first major headquarters projects to be conceived and built while New Jersey was mired in a real estate downturn.
The 325,000-square-foot building, built by Rockefeller Group Development Corp., reached full occupancy on Thursday as employees of the German chemical company moved in from around Morris County, the developer said. And the completion of the high-profile, build-to-suit property already has opened the door for another major project at the Green at Florham Park, Rockefeller's master-planned development that hosts BASF.
"Ever since this building went up, we have had totally unsolicited interest from others, which is certainly very unusual," said Leslie E. Smith Jr., Rockefeller's executive vice president for development. He added that the interest has come from three companies from around the region, predicting that his firm would be announcing another project with a "major tenant" by Labor Day.
The New York-based firm, which has offices is Mount Olive, has touted the BASF project as a cutting-edge model of sustainability. The office was designed to achieve platinum status on the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating scale for environmentally friendly building design, and the firm plans to take a similar approach on all future projects.
"Everything we're planning in New Jersey is, at minimum, gold (status)," said Clark Machemer, Rockefeller's vice president and regional director for New Jersey. "If you can't get to silver, you're doing something wrong."
Smith said the building's sustainable design was a key attraction for BASF before many of the state's other major headquarters projects came into view. The roughly $130 million development received no state incentives, which have now caused New Jersey to gain national attention from other large corporations looking for new space.
The developers also said the construction used more than 100 products that are either made by BASF or contain the company's chemicals, from paving and roof materials to Benjamin Moore paints.
"It ends up being truly their showcase building," Smith said Thursday, a day before today's ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Green at Florham Park, a 268-acre development at the former ExxonMobil research center, has a master plan that includes another 550,000 square feet of office space, Machemer said. The plan also calls for a hotel and 100-acre residential portion.
The property also is home to the New York Jets' training facility.