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Bergman Real Estate Group Partners with GE Real Estate to Acquire Jefferson Plaza Office Complex

Purchase of 170,000 sq.ft. office complex in Whippany, NJ marks first acquisition of this new strategic joint venture.

WOODBRIDGE, N.J. (March 12, 2004) – Continuing their program of office building acquisitions in New Jersey, Bergman Real Estate Group and its joint venture partner, GE Real Estate, recently purchased Jefferson Plaza, a two-building 170,000 square foot office complex located at 100 & 110 South Jefferson Road in Whippany. The property was acquired from Jefferson OPCO, LLC for $17.3 million.

Jefferson Plaza is conveniently located just off the intersection of Route 24 and I-287, with direct access provided from Whippany Road/Hanover Avenue and Cedar Knolls Road. The property has superb visibility from I-287 and offers immediate accessibility to the areas major highways, including Route 10, I-80, Route 46 and I-78. Jefferson Plaza is minutes from historic, downtown Morristown to the south and of equal distance to the Parsippany office submarket to the north.

We saw this as an excellent opportunity to acquire a well-located property with significant upside for value appreciation as the office leasing market steadily improves,” explains Michael DiFede, Director of Business Development and Acquisitions for Bergman Real Estate Group. “We seek properties that we feel our hands-on ownership and management approach can improve upon the asset’s value and achieve the returns expected of our financial partners.” At the time of closing, Jefferson Plaza was approximately 75% occupied to primary tenants such as National Exchange Carrier Association, AON Insurance, MCI/Worldcom, Jack Morton Worldwide and The Brushfire Group.

Garibaldi Patners of Newark, NJ led by its two principals Peter S. Nicoletti and Joseph J. Garibaldi IV represented the Seller in this transaction. “There was a strong amount of interest from a variety of credible buyers,” reported Joseph Garibaldi, “but we felt most confident with the Bergman/GE group based upon their desire and ability to close quickly, which was the mandate of our client. But more importantly, we’ve sold other properties to Bergman Real Estate Group and their track record for closing deals in a timely manner was solid”

As reiterated by Mr.DiFede, “one of the challenges of this transaction was the Seller’s insistence on a fast-track sale. We had just 60 days from the signing of a letter of intent (not from the actual Contract signing which is more typical), to conduct our due diligence and close title to the property. Everyone on all sides of the transaction did a tremendous job of getting this deal done in an unusually short timeframe. We are especially pleased that our lender, The Bank of New York, and our financial partner, GE Real Estate, both pulled out all the stops to make this happen on time.”

According to Mark DePucchio, Eastern Region Manager for GE Real Estate, “The goal for this joint venture is to build a strong, diversified, office property equity portfolio with properties such as the Jefferson Plaza. This venture combines GE Real Estate’s capital strength and industry expertise with Bergman’s track record of acquiring, owning, managing and leasing commercial office properties. Our partnership with such a well respected and knowledgeable group as Bergman offers us the ability to acquire office properties with high growth potential and commit the resources necessary to maximize performance and value.”

Once a property is acquired, of course, the key to its success is a pro-active leasing and management program, and it is here where Bergman Real Estate Group has built its reputation. “We’re in the hospitality and relationship business,” comments Michael Bergman, a Principal and Vice President at Bergman Real Estate Group, who oversees the firm’s in-house leasing and marketing activities. “Our number one priority is to provide top quality services to our tenants to assure a comfortable and pleasant work environment for their employees, which hopefully results in their long term occupancies in our buildings. If we do our job right, and we think we do, then the brokerage community who we rely upon will be more inclined to bring us their tenants.”

Jefferson Plaza can accommodate a wide variety of tenants due to the different sizes of the floor plates in each of the buildings. The larger of the two, 100 Jefferson, comprises three floors of 40,000 square feet per floor, while the 110 Jefferson building offers smaller floor plates of 17,000 square feet on three floors. “Jefferson Plaza is a perfect fit with our portfolio of office properties,” explains Mr. Bergman, “Our buildings tend to primarily cater to smaller and medium size tenants ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 square feet, with one or two larger tenants of 20,000 to 40,000 square feet balancing out the tenancy. Jefferson Plaza offers exactly this mix of tenant spaces, which we believe provides greater stability over the long term.”