BofA lease in Jersey City: NAIOP Deal of the Year (or the future)

550K-square-foot, 15-year lease, one of three deals honored at gala, could be office model for post-pandemic world

Newport Tower in Jersey City. - BGO

David DeMatteis has spent more than two decades at Cushman & Wakefield, working in the state’s vibrant commercial real estate industry.

But, like so many of his colleagues, his career can be divided into two parts: Before the pandemic and after it.

David DeMatteis. (ROI-NJ)

As he accepted the Office Deal of the Year Award on Thursday night at the 37th annual NAIOP New Jersey gala at the Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset, the executive managing director at Cushman & Wakefield reflected on how that duality of service time impacted the 550,000-square-foot, 15-year lease that Bank of America signed at 525 Washington Ave. in Jersey City, part of BGO’s Newport Tower complex.

“When we were retained as leasing agent for Newport Tower in 2019. I had never heard of Microsoft Teams,” he said. “The words remote and hybrid were not part of an office broker’s vernacular.

“I don’t think any of us could have imagined what the office market would look like today.

“When you take that perspective, I cannot underscore the significance of an institution like Bank of America, making a 550,000-square-foot, 15-year commitment to New Jersey and the Hudson Waterfront. This transaction should serve as the playbook for owners and occupiers.”

He’s right. And it’s not just because the deal represents the only renewal/expansion lease of more than 500,000 square feet in the past decade.

With an office sector facing an unprecedented transition — and a still-to-be-defined vacancy rate — the deal could provide a path to the future.

DeMatteis gave credit to those who had a vision.

“An owner willing to speculatively renovate their asset and add amenities deemed necessary by modern workplace standards — a tenant looking to select a vibrant location to entice employees back to the office.”

Indeed, the office added amenities that would create a lively environment, a diverse place for people to work — everything from a fitness center to retail to an incubator space. And it did so while creating an environmentally friendly facility that is a must for the next generation of employees.

DeMatteis, who spent most of his short address thanking other members of the C&W team and others involved in the project, said the biggest recognition should go to the deal itself.

“Let us collectively celebrate this transaction as a symbol of the resiliency of the New Jersey commercial real estate community,” he said.

In addition to Cushman & Wakefield, BGO, CBRE and Bank of America were credited as key players.

Other deal of the year winners:

  • Mixed-Use Deal of the Year: Harborside Portfolio

As the centerpiece of Exchange Place in Jersey City, Harborside 1-2-3-4-6 garnered a collective $524 million in three separate transactions that set the district’s reactivation into motion.

Poised to realize its full potential as Jersey City’s most dynamic live/work/play neighborhood, Harborside’s premier assemblage was one of the most exceptional repositioning opportunities nationwide.

Those involved in the deal: Cushman & Wakefield, CBRE, Veris Residential, American Equity Partners, Panepinto Properties, Related Cos., 601 W Cos.

  • Industrial Deal of the Year: Central 9 Logistics Park

The state-of-the-art industrial park in Old Bridge spans more than 800 acres and created more than 2,000 jobs during its development.

The park fosters innovation, commerce and sustainable growth, epitomizing forward-thinking development. In 2023, Paragon Packaging signed the inaugural lease.

Those involved in the deal: 2020 Acquisitions, Cushman & Wakefield, Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, Bohler Engineering, Alston Construction, M+H Architects.