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Multifamily pipeline promises to maintain Mack-Cali's strength

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Mack-Cali CEO Mitchell E. Hersh.
Mack-Cali CEO Mitchell E. Hersh. - (Aaron Houston / NJBIZ)

The growth of Mack-Cali Realty Corp.'s multifamily pipeline shows no signs of slowing down, with a host of construction, redevelopment and renovation projects slated for 2014.

That was one key message from executives today in a third-quarter earnings call, which took stock of the company's rapid move into the red-hot sector. Notably, it's been one year since Mack-Cali acquired Roseland Property Co., a move that has given way to a flurry of residential activity and new plans for the longtime office landlord.

The Edison-based company expects 2014 to include work on eight multifamily projects in 2014, totaling $561 million in investment and some 1,600 units, executives said today. That would follow a year in which it started construction on 1,300 units, totaling more than $400 million in development costs, all since the Roseland acquisition.

The upcoming projects include URL Harborside, a $290 million project that will bring a new 69-story, 765-unit residential tower to Jersey City. The joint venture with Ironstate Development received a boost this month when it was awarded a $33 million tax credit under the state's Urban Transit Hub program, which will soon be retired in favor of new incentive programs.

"This means that we will now commence construction on this apartment building," Mack-Cali President and CEO Mitchell Hersh said today. "And we believe it will be an iconic project making a signature mark on the Gold Coast skyline."

The company, meanwhile, has just opened a new 850-space parking structure at the Roseland's Port Imperial development, in Weehawken. And Friday, the company plans to cut the ribbon on RiverTrace, a 316-unit multifamily project in West New York.

Executives from the Roseland subsidiary joined Hersh on the call for the first time to discuss other details of Mack-Cali's multifamily plans. Roseland co-President Brad Klatt said the company has deals or pending agreements to acquire four existing properties, totaling 649 units, for a combined $171 million.

Carl Goldberg, another Roseland co-president, said the company hopes to expand the multifamily platform by acquiring existing buildings and renovating them or upgrading management. The strategy also includes working with local governments to rezone existing sites in its portfolio, an effort that is near its final stages in Freehold and Morristown, he said.

And the company is pursuing adaptive reuse or repurposing projects at six existing Mack-Cali properties in three states, Goldberg said. It's a goal "that involves a lot of strategy, in terms of negotiations with the host municipalities, to have them appreciate how this can be a win-win situation for us" while helping the town's quality of life and ratable base.

Hersh also discussed Mack-Cali's vast commercial portfolio, which stayed virtually flat, with 86 percent occupancy and recorded nearly 1 million square of leasing activity in the third quarter. The most notable lease was AT&T Corp.'s renewal of 275,000 square feet at 30 Knightsbridge Road, in Piscataway.

But Hersh also noted the upcoming departure next year of Morgan Stanley, in Jersey City, which is not renewing a 300,000-square-foot space at Harborside Plaza. He called "probably the most significant" lease coming off the books, as the financial services firm consolidates in Manhattan, but Mack-Cali plans to modernize the space.

 

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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