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Reinvestments help Normandy land tenant at Center 78

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Though it had contemplated renovating a space in Berkeley Heights that it has occupied for more than 10 years, Massachusetts-based information technology firm EMC Corp. decided to ink a long-term lease a few miles away to become the first tenant of a newly improved office complex in Warren.

"We bought the property a year ago at an attractive basis, mostly on the fact that it had an expiring loan, the building was 100 percent vacant and it needed a full redevelopment program," said Paul H. Teti, senior vice president of Normandy Real Estate Partners, which owns the 372,000-square-foot complex. "Now, no other building in the market can match this property's location, infrastructure and efficient floor plan with amenities all under one roof."

Dennis Gralla, a principal of the northern and central New Jersey branch of real estate firm Cresa LLC, which represented EMC in the transaction, said the technology company was "on a search for several months in the Berkeley Heights area, and this building just made sense to them, because the new infrastructure created at this property just works great for them."

"Normally, a client this big in a lot of buildings in this area would have to be located on several floors, which for an IT company creates a lot of duplication of infrastructure that doesn't have to happen in this building," Gralla said, noting EMC will occupy 81,500 square feet of space on a single floor.

To attract companies like EMC to the building, Normandy laid out a $12 million capital expenditure program, recently complete, to make class A-type improvements that included installing a cafeteria, fitness center and conference center; expanding the lobby; resurfacing parking lots and entry roads; and bringing the property up to the LEED Silver environmental standard.

In a statement, Raymond P. Trevisan, the Cassidy Turley New Jersey managing principal who represented Normandy in the lease, said "Normandy's reinvestment in Center 78 transforms the site into a standout showcase in Warren that readily meets the needs of tenants seeking best-in-class, energy-efficient space options."

With EMC set to occupy more than 20 percent of the building, Teti said Normandy is seeking tenants for the remaining space who are "looking to become more efficient and want to feel like they have a whole building to themselves," though he noted "that's really the direction we're seeing a lot of corporate tenants wanting to go."

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