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Grapevine: Move was a Fargo-ne conclusion

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The Schools Development Authority is reportedly saving a chunk of change by moving from a Ron Berman building to one owned by Matrix Development.

A source said the SDA has been paying about $22 per square foot for Berman's building, at 1 W. State St. When SDA relocates additional employees to 32 E. Front St., where it already leases some office space, it will pay about $13 per square foot, the source said. SDA's move was approved last week at its monthly board meeting; an SDA spokeswoman would not verify the lease rate.

"As this action is not finalized until expiration of the gubernatorial veto period and lease execution, we cannot provide you with any specifics related to the terms. The move is estimated to save the SDA more than $600K per year versus today's rates," Edye Maier wrote in an e-mail.

At the SDA meeting last week, Berman reportedly argued about the historic significance of his building and voiced his fears that it will be hard to find a tenant. Berman did not respond to a request for comment.

The shuffling comes because Wells Fargo is vacating 32 E. Front St. for the Carnegie Center, in West Windsor. The company signed a 10-year lease in 2006 and exercised an early termination option, a bank spokesman said.

"We just really need only half the space, so we looked at different spaces and the one that suits the long-term needs of the company best is the one in West Windsor," said Kevin Friedlander. "We're always evaluating our leases and properties and just trying to figure out what works best long term for the company, and that's happening across the whole enterprise at Wells Fargo. And it's pretty standard for any company."

The jobs being moved to West Windsor are mostly back-office and administrative, according to Friedlander.

"It's not customer-facing, so our store presence in Trenton is remaining the same," he said. "We're committed to Trenton. We're not leaving Trenton. In fact, we'll still donate to the same nonprofits and donate to all of the organizations we've always been volunteering in, so nothing really changes."

Building their case

Last week featured two public rallying cries for commercial development in Newark — from both Cory Booker and local business leaders — and Prudential's planned new downtown office tower was a highlight in both cases.

But neither mentioned the recent legal challenge by the insurance giant's three current landlords, at the city's Gateway Center, who would find themselves with nearly 1 million square feet of vacant space if the company leaves for the new building. The owners have been challenging the plan in court for more than a year, and while a judge recently denied the landlords' plea to stop Prudential from moving ahead, a source said the case is still open.

In his March 5 State of the City address, Booker touted the billions of dollars' worth of development both under way and planned for the future. At one point, he said, "And then there is the big one. Across from Military Park on Broad Street, our prodigious, persevering and powerful city partner Prudential is building a new, $450 million office tower that will transform that section of Broad Street as, yet again, this global corporation affirms its more than century-long commitment and connection to Newark."

Earlier that day, the Prudential project was a regular mention by speakers at the Newark Regional Business Partnership annual development forecast.

Grapevine reported in January that legal filings tied to the project were piling up, including documents tied to a lawsuit challenging the company's redevelopment agreement with Newark. Since then, a source said, judges have denied the landlords' request for an injunction to stop Prudential from proceeding with demolition and construction.

For angels, devil in the details

Advocates for early-stage technology businesses are praising the Legislature and Chris Christie for creating a new 10 percent "angel" investment tax credit, but some fear the program may benefit larger companies, rather than startup ventures.

Companies with up to 225 employees will qualify, "and that is not early stage," said one well-connected source in the high-tech community. "Unfortunately, I anticipate that very little will go to early-stage companies in the first five years of their lives, which are the companies that grow two-third of all net new jobs."

Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at sharonw@njbiz.com.

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Grapevine: Move was a Fargo-ne conclusion

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The Schools Development Authority is reportedly saving a chunk of change by moving from a Ron Berman building to one owned by Matrix Development.

A source said the SDA has been paying about $22 per square foot for Berman's building, at 1 W. State St. When SDA relocates additional employees to 32 E. Front St., where it already leases some office space, it will pay about $13 per square foot, the source said. SDA's move was approved last week at its monthly board meeting; an SDA spokeswoman would not verify the lease rate.

"As this action is not finalized until expiration of the gubernatorial veto period and lease execution, we cannot provide you with any specifics related to the terms. The move is estimated to save the SDA more than $600K per year versus today's rates," Edye Maier wrote in an e-mail.

At the SDA meeting last week, Berman reportedly argued about the historic significance of his building and voiced his fears that it will be hard to find a tenant. Berman did not respond to a request for comment.

The shuffling comes because Wells Fargo is vacating 32 E. Front St. for the Carnegie Center, in West Windsor. The company signed a 10-year lease in 2006 and exercised an early termination option, a bank spokesman said.

"We just really need only half the space, so we looked at different spaces and the one that suits the long-term needs of the company best is the one in West Windsor," said Kevin Friedlander. "We're always evaluating our leases and properties and just trying to figure out what works best long term for the company, and that's happening across the whole enterprise at Wells Fargo. And it's pretty standard for any company."

The jobs being moved to West Windsor are mostly back-office and administrative, according to Friedlander.

"It's not customer-facing, so our store presence in Trenton is remaining the same," he said. "We're committed to Trenton. We're not leaving Trenton. In fact, we'll still donate to the same nonprofits and donate to all of the organizations we've always been volunteering in, so nothing really changes."

Building their case

Last week featured two public rallying cries for commercial development in Newark — from both Cory Booker and local business leaders — and Prudential's planned new downtown office tower was a highlight in both cases.

But neither mentioned the recent legal challenge by the insurance giant's three current landlords, at the city's Gateway Center, who would find themselves with nearly 1 million square feet of vacant space if the company leaves for the new building. The owners have been challenging the plan in court for more than a year, and while a judge recently denied the landlords' plea to stop Prudential from moving ahead, a source said the case is still open.

In his March 5 State of the City address, Booker touted the billions of dollars' worth of development both under way and planned for the future. At one point, he said, "And then there is the big one. Across from Military Park on Broad Street, our prodigious, persevering and powerful city partner Prudential is building a new, $450 million office tower that will transform that section of Broad Street as, yet again, this global corporation affirms its more than century-long commitment and connection to Newark."

Earlier that day, the Prudential project was a regular mention by speakers at the Newark Regional Business Partnership annual development forecast.

Grapevine reported in January that legal filings tied to the project were piling up, including documents tied to a lawsuit challenging the company's redevelopment agreement with Newark. Since then, a source said, judges have denied the landlords' request for an injunction to stop Prudential from proceeding with demolition and construction.

For angels, devil in the details

Advocates for early-stage technology businesses are praising the Legislature and Chris Christie for creating a new 10 percent "angel" investment tax credit, but some fear the program may benefit larger companies, rather than startup ventures.

Companies with up to 225 employees will qualify, "and that is not early stage," said one well-connected source in the high-tech community. "Unfortunately, I anticipate that very little will go to early-stage companies in the first five years of their lives, which are the companies that grow two-third of all net new jobs."

Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at sharonw@njbiz.com.

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