Sometimes, efforts in the commercial real estate world are so impressive and inspiring that they deserve a unique honor.
NAIOP New Jersey calls them Transformation Awards — surprise honors handed out during its annual Commercial Real Estate Awards event.
Last night, the Fiserv innovation center — a 411,954-square-foot, state-of-the-art office that is part of the Connell Corporate Center’s Park in Berkeley Heights — was so honored.
Peter Cocoziello Jr. explained to the crowd of more than 700 how and why the honor came to be.
“The deal of the year judges decided that one of the finalists is so unique in its vision and the impact generated in the innovation displayed, that an award for a transformation project is appropriate,” he said.
“This deal was selected based on its extensive efforts, thoughtful community involvement and collaboration with teams of professionals — and the magnitude of its commitment to environmental, social corporate governance.
“It’s a signature project that greatly enhances the quality of life of the area’s residents, and one that hopefully can be emulated throughout the state of New Jersey.”
Cushman & Wakefield Vice Chair Robert Donnelly Jr. told the crowd he was humbled by the honor — but felt the project was worthy of such recognition for its symbolic impact on the state.
“When Fiserv began this process in 2020, it was a very challenging time,” he said. “We were looking on the horizon for getting back to office. The leadership (at Fiserv) was very committed as far as working diligently to find new exciting locations for their offices all around the country.
“I remember, around that time, there was a cryptocurrency commercial that really resonated with me. Its tagline was: ‘Fortune Favors the Brave.’
“Fiserv, as a global fintech leader, were also being leaders in real estate. They knew that their continued success required that their talented workforce needed to be all together in the office.”
Those involved in the deal: Cushman & Wakefield, the Connell Co., Fiserv, VVA Project Management Co., GS Ferguson Group, Mancini Duffy, Tend Mounds & Associates, Structure Tone, Robert Derector Associates and Husch Blackwell.
Other deal of the year winners:
Industrial Deal of the Year
Monroe 8A Logistics Center — Home Depot, Brookfield Properties
One of the largest warehouses in New Jersey, Monroe 8A Logistics Center is a 1.28 million-square-foot industrial development by Brookfield Properties. It was able to secure — with the aid of JLL — a long-term lease with Home Depot, which was represented by CBRE.
Those involved in the deal: Brookfield Properties, JLL, Sansone Quadreal Property Group, Colliers, Apollo, CSG Law, Arco Design/Build, Langan, Bob Smith & Associates.
Office Deal of the Year
Avis Budget Group at Latitude, Vision Real Estate
Avis Budget Group relocated its world headquarters to Latitude, a state-of-the-art, 700,000-square-foot office complex owned by Vision Real Estate Partners and Rubenstein Partners. The creative office condominium transaction resulted in the retention of 600 New Jersey jobs and significant financial benefits to the occupier, owner and the state.
Those involved in the deal: Vision Real Estate Partners, Rubenstein Partners, Newmark, CBRE, Charles Applebaum, Fox Rothschild, Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis, Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla.