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Buyer pays $136M for Montville apartment complex in Wilf dispute

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An investor has paid $136 million for a Montville apartment complex that was at the center of a 21-year-old, high-profile lawsuit involving New Jersey developer Zygmunt Wilf.

The 764-unit property, known as Rachel Gardens, was sold to an affiliate of New York-based Cammeby’s International, according to a news release Thursday from brokerage firm The Kislak Co. Inc. The sale was made under an order last year by a Superior Court judge in Morris County, who awarded some $110 million in damages to two business partners who said they were cheated out of two decades of revenue from the complex.

The sale to the Cammeby’s affiliate, which also owns Manhattan’s Woolworth Building, comes after a flurry of interest in the North Jersey property over four weeks, Kislak said. The Woodbridge-based brokerage said three other parties made offers at $135 million, the listing price at an auction and $1 million below what the winning buyer would pay.

Kislak said the sale of Rachel Gardens is the single largest multifamily transaction in New Jersey by price since 2011, citing data available from CoStar. Reportedly, the auction attracted two dozen bidders.

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Kislak was appointed as the exclusive broker after Judge Deanne Wilson ruled against Wilf, a prominent developer who owns the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, and his family. The high-profile case in Morris County spanned two decades, culminating in an order in which Wilson wrote that the Wilf family “robbed” partners Ada Reichmann of Toronto and her brother Josef Halpern out of revenue from the complex.

The ruling and the sale doesn’t mean the case has come to an end. The Wilf family is appealing, in a process that Wilson said could take three years.

Still, Kislak on Thursday touted the eye-catching price tag for the 98-acre complex in Montville.

“There are only a handful of apartment complexes of the size and quality of Rachel Gardens in northern New Jersey and they rarely, if ever, sell,” Jeffrey Squires, Kislak’s vice president, said in a prepared statement. “Our exclusive listing represented an extraordinary and unique opportunity for investors to acquire a large well-performing property in an affluent community only thirty minutes from Manhattan.”

Squires represented both parties in the transaction. Kislak President Robert Holland and Chief Operating Officer Jason Pucci provided transaction management and support.

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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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