Bank of America to Sell 12-Building Office Campus in New Jersey
The company, the second-largest U.S. lender by assets, would lease back all of the 12-building, 1.7 million-square-foot (158,000-square-meter) complex near the Pennsylvania border, T.J. Crawford, a spokesman, said in a telephone interview. A sale would have “no immediate impact” on employees who work there, he said.
The bank, led by Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan, said in February it may sell all its offices except its headquarters building in Charlotte, North Carolina, and its stake in the Bank of America Tower at 1 Bryant Park in Manhattan. The New Jersey property may fetch about $400 million, making it the biggest office sale ever in the state, the newsletter Real Estate Alert said today, attributing its information to “market players.”
“As Brian Moynihan has said, commercial real estate ownership is not a core business for Bank of America, which is why we made our decision to sell our interest in the Hopewell campus,” Crawford said.
He declined to discuss a price or terms of the proposed leaseback. Nick Derasmo, a spokesman for Cushman & Wakefield Inc., the broker for the sale, referred all questions to Bank of America.
A deal at $400 million would exceed the $377.5 million paid in October by a partnership including Seattle-based Bentall Kennedy LP for the 36-story, 1.1 million-square-foot Newport Tower in Jersey City. That was the highest price on record for a New Jersey office property, said Dan Fasulo, managing director for Real Capital Analytics Inc., a New York-based research firm that tracks commercial-property sales.
The campus serves employees of Bank of America and its Merrill unit, Crawford said. In September, the bank announced the hiring of 180 financial-service advisers, 155 of them Hopewell-based, for its Merrill Edge phone and online wealth- management service.
Merrill had 6,500 employees in Hopewell in 2008. Crawford declined to update that figure. In its most recent annual report, the bank described the property as “materially important,” along with another campus in Concord, California.
Bank of America agreed to sell the Hearst Tower, Charlotte’s fourth-tallest, earlier this month to Parkway Properties Inc. (PKY) for $250 million, and said it will lease back about a third of the 972,000-square-foot building. In March, the bank sold 100 Federal St. in downtown Boston to Boston Properties Inc. (BXP) for $615 million. It leased back about 787,000 square feet in that 1.3 million-square-foot skyscraper.
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