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Avaya sells headquarters, leases back at half capacity

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Avaya headquarters current fašade. The company sold the building but will remain, leasing back about half the space it currently occupies.
Avaya headquarters current fašade. The company sold the building but will remain, leasing back about half the space it currently occupies. - (Wikipedia user Geek2003: http://bit.ly/GPo5nQ)

Telecom company Avaya Inc. has sold its Somerset County headquarters to a joint venture of Onyx Equities and Rubenstein Partners, the real estate firms said.

As part of the deal, Avaya will lease back about half of the 282,000-square-foot office building, which sits at 211 Mount Airy Road in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards. The sale price was not disclosed in an announcement late Thursday afternoon.

Onyx and Rubenstein, based in Woodbridge and Philadelphia, respectively, said they plan to invest "significant capital" to make improvements, including a partial replacement of the building's façade and upgrades to common areas and amenity spaces. The investment firms said they have the flexibility to market the space to full and partial tenants.

NJBIZ reported in March that Avaya was looking to sell the three-story building. The news came after the company, which makes telecommunications equipment for businesses, said it would downsize to cut costs between $135 million and $235 million.

Avaya planned to do so through indirect spending cuts, supply chain-related actions, real estate consolidations and "ongoing employee headcount management," according to a September 2012 SEC filing. More than a year earlier, it announced plans to go public.

The company had owned the Basking Ridge building since 2001, according to a news release from Onyx and Rubenstein. It has now consolidated into 135,000 square feet.

The 52-acre site, located just off Interstate 287, is in a county where office vacancy has risen to 26.4 percent, according to third-quarter data from the brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield (embedded below). Like other parts of the state, Somerset County is home to several buildings that have been vacated or put up for sale in recent years by major corporations.

Cushman and Wakefield 3Q 2013 NJ Office Statistics

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Joshua Burd

Joshua Burd

Josh Burd covers real estate, economic development and sports and entertainment. Before joining NJBIZ in 2011, he spent four years as a metro reporter in Central Jersey. His email is joshb@njbiz.com and he is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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