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Cushman & Wakefield Tapped to Market Nation's Largest Timber Office Building

Planned Newark Skyscraper to Anchor Key Downtown Development
March 1, 2018
Cushman & Wakefield has been named exclusive leasing agent for the country’s largest planned mass-timber office building, a 500,000-square-foot, 11-story tower that will anchor the first phase of the Riverfront Square development in Newark, NJ, the commercial real estate brokerage firm said Thursday.

A Cushman & Wakefield team based in New Jersey and New York that includes John Picco, Peter Van Duyne, Sean Brady, Christian Politan, Alex Lachmund and Bruce Mosler is marketing the commercial component - which could total up to 2 million square feet - of the live / work / play development.

Lotus Equity Group is the developer of the mixed-use project at 450 Broad St., which will be built on an 11.8-acre site that includes the former Newark Bears and Eagles Stadium and the former site of the Lincoln Motel. The $1.7 billion project is slated to provide up to 2,000 residential units, retail, cultural and public open spaces, a hotel and parking in the center of Newark’s downtown, adjacent to the Broad Street Station.

In a statement, Picco said that the project will introduce the first mass-timber building on the East Coast.

"Beyond its innovative nature, this skyscraper will set the stage for a transformative development that will change the very character of the Broad Street corridor," he said. "And the timing is right - the city of Newark has been enjoying a wave of development over the past five years with several new major projects completed. Newark is a hot spot with a bright future, as evidenced by the proposed Riverfront Square project and Amazon’s recent announcement listing Newark as one of its top 20 choices in the country for its second HQ."

Michael Green Architecture designed the Class A building to enhance environmental sustainability and tenant wellness, according to Cushman.

"People react differently to wood environments, including higher productivity and workplace satisfaction," Picco said. "The entire master plan is pedestrian centric, with five acres of open space that will blend seamlessly into the wider neighborhood - which includes Washington, Military and Riverfront parks, along with cultural attractions like NJPAC and the Newark Museum, and retail and dining. Where much of Newark’s historical development has created insular environments, Riverfront Square is designed to invite the community in."

Riverfront Square’s Phase I construction will also include 100,000 square feet of retail and a parking garage.

Cushman & Wakefield said that it expects Riverfront Square to draw interest from tenants currently based in New York City and the New Jersey suburbs alike.

"Here’s a place that is less than 20 minutes from New York Penn Station at a time when tenants seeking large blocks of space in new buildings are facing historically high rental rates in Manhattan and the outer boroughs," Picco said. "Newark offers a convenient alternative with an urban vibe at a fraction of the cost. Under the Grow NJ program, tenants will be able to take advantage of net effective rents as low as $10 to $15 per square foot. The onsite live component at Riverfront Square is another bonus for employees as residential rents are less than half the cost of Manhattan."

The city’s growing reputation as a magnet for TAMI (technology, advertising, media and information) and financial-sector firms is warranted, according to Brady, a data center expert.

"Newark is one of the most connected cities in our region with the major East Coast Telco Hotel at 165 Halsey St.," he said in a statement. "This is further evident by the abundance of cable, Telco networks, AWS Cloud Direct Connect and subsea cable connections to Ireland and Denmark, which can avoid going through Manhattan. Newark also houses a massive dark-fiber infrastructure that positions it to offer one of America’s most powerful and inclusive networks. This is a huge advantage for technology-heavy space users."

Linda Moss, Northern New Jersey Market Reporter  CoStar Group   
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