Press Release Article


Date: Aug 15, 2001
Press Release Number: 111-2001

The Port Authority continues to sharpen its focus on transportation and economic development, signing an agreement to enter into a long-term lease for the Newark Legal Center, Port Authority Executive Director Neil D. Levin announced today.

The agreement was signed with Matrix Development Group of Cranbury, N.J. to net lease the Legal Center for an initial term of 50 years, with options to extend the lease for up to 49 years. The value of the initial term of the lease is approximately $200 million. Insignia/ESG served as advisors to the Port Authority in connection with this transaction. The Port Authority is expected to close the deal in the fourth quarter of this year.

The move follows a final agreement on the net lease of the World Trade Center, reached last month.

The net lease for the Legal Center involves the 20-story office tower, containing 411,617 square feet of rentable space, and a two-story lobby with retail establishments and a restaurant. It opened in 1989 at One Riverfront Plaza in Newark, adjacent to
Newark’s Penn Station.

New Jersey Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco said, “This will help facilitate economic development in Newark and allow the Port Authority to concentrate on improving New Jersey’s transportation and trade infrastructure. This agreement will improve the quality of life for all New Jerseyans through the purchase of new PATH cars and an upgrade of the transit system’s signal system, the redevelopment of the New Jersey marine terminals, and the extension of the Newark Airport monorail to the Northeast Corridor rail line.”

New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “This transaction is further evidence that we are moving the Port Authority back to its core mission of enhancing the region’s transportation network. Allowing the private sector to operate this office building, as well as the World Trade Center, frees Port Authority staff to do what it does best, which is managing airports, seaports, tunnels and bridges.”

Port Authority Chairman Lewis M. Eisenberg said, “When this Board approved construction of the Legal Center in 1985, it did so to help revitalize Newark’s economy by establishing a commercial complex on a key parcel of previously underutilized land. Now that the Center has achieved its mission, we believe it is time to turn it over to the private sector.”

Port Authority Executive Director Neil D. Levin said, “The Legal Center has been a major success story for the City of Newark. The occupancy rate of this trophy property now stands at 100 percent and it has sparked an increase in development along the
Newark waterfront. Our mission of contributing to Newark’s renaissance has been accomplished and it is time for the Port Authority to focus its attention on investing in its transportation properties.”

Donald M. Epstein, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Matrix, said, “The Legal Center is one of the major contributing factors in launching the revitalization of Newark, and the Port Authority should be commended for its development efforts. My partners and I are very pleased that the Port Authority recognized Matrix’s expertise and commitment to owning and managing high quality assets. In recent years, Matrix has focused its investment efforts on New Jersey’s urban areas. Newark is the perfect opportunity to further showcase Matrix’ commitment to the cities of our home state.”

Matrix Development Group is a full service real estate investment company with headquarters in Cranbury, N.J. Founded in 1979, today Matrix stands as one of the Northeast’s leading developers of Class A office, industrial, residential and golf and hospitality properties. Over its more than 20-year history, the company has developed assets valued in excess of $1 billion. Most recently, Matrix was honored as National Developer of the Year by the renowned real estate organization, NAIOP.

Since it opened, the Legal Center has become a highly successful office complex catering primarily to legal and professional firms. It features around-the-clock security, a 24-hour underground parking garage, and a landscaped plaza.

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