270 Lafayette Street is a 170,000 square foot, 12-story office building located on the corner of Prince and Lafayette Streets in SoHo, New York. The property was a historic printing building that was converted into a multi-tenant office building that housed mostly small-sized companies. Cogswell itself purchased the property in 1996 through a combination of privately raised equity and acquisition financing from Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. We forged on with the repositioning project started prior to purchase, by installing new elevator mechanicals and passenger cars, adding a Class E fire alarm system and refurbishing the lobby. Many of the existing leases with the viable remaining tenants were restructured and the remaining vacant leased up.
The National Newark Building is one of the most recognized buildings in the Newark skyline. This 34-story, 640,000 square foot neoclassical masterpiece was one of the country’s first skyscrapers and New Jersey’s tallest commercial tower. After falling into a state of disrepair in the 1960s, Cogswell acquired the building in 1997 and undertook a significant redevelopment beginning with a $60 million rehabilitation program and a rigorous leasing strategy. As a result of the redevelopment of this landmark, The National Newark Building has been preserved as an architectural icon in the Newark area and is listed on the National Historic Register. Additionally, Cogswell’s vision and execution restored The National Newark Building to its original moniker of the “Crown Jewel of Newark” and resulted in the successful leasing of over 400,000 square feet of space.
765 Broad Street is a 7-story, 215,000-square-foot commercial office building centrally located in Newark’s Central Business District directly across the street from the National Newark Building and three blocks from Newark Pennsylvania Station. The building underwent a substantial renovation in 2002, which included a completely renovated lobby, modernized elevators, installation of an ADA entranceway, new restrooms and upgrades to the building HVAC and life safety systems.
The Hahne Building is a 4-story, 400,000 square foot brick building that was built in 1899 for the Hahne and Company Department Store. The property has been vacant since Hahne and Company officially closed the store in 1986. Directly adjacent to the Hahne Building sits the Griffith Building, a 16-story, 77,000 square foot gothic brick building built in 1927. During its heyday, the building was the headquarters for the Griffith Piano Company, who used the building for its factory, office space, a recital hall and as a showroom. Cogswell purchased the properties in 2003 through a joint venture partnership. Plans were developed for the creation of over 550 residential units, comprising a mix of luxury condominiums and market rate rental units, as well as approximately 90,000 square feet of retail space and parking for 350 cars. Although Cogswell exited the investment, its development plan and vision for the site is being carried forward by the new owners.
The site, situated on 82 acres, is in Great River (Township of Islip) on the South Shore of Long Island, New York. The three interconnected buildings, constructed separately during the 1970’s and 1980’s, were known as the Long Island Business and Technology Center during Cogswell’s ownership period.
Cogswell purchased the property in August 1998 in partnership with Rudin Management Company and Lehman Brothers . An interior gut renovation of the former light manufacturing and office site for Grumman ensued, consisting of 100,000 square feet of pre-built offices, new lobbies and common hallways, a new cafeteria, a state of the art digital conference center complete with video conferencing and a $3 million fiber optic connection constructed jointly with Keyspan. The partnership’s business plan called for the conversion of all three buildings into a world class technology center/campus targeting the needs of Long Island’s growing technology industry. Being located just south of Computer Associates, the Hauppauge technology corridor, west of Symbol Technologies and south of Stony Brook University, the LIBTC was positioned geographically to augment Long Island’s technology corridor. After the technology bubble of 2000, the LIBTC was rebranded again to accommodate general business and educational tenancies. In total, the partnership repositioned over 280,000 square feet of modern office space.
The original site plan allowed the partnership to build additional buildings totaling one million square feet on the surplus acreage and the partnership recognized the inherent value of the real estate for residential development. In spite of the collapse in the technology sector at the time of ownership, the partnership’s ability to quickly adapt to the changing market environment resulted in a satisfactory exit.
Golden Bear Plaza is a 250,000-square-foot, three-building commercial office complex. It is located on a 10-acre site along US Highway 1, just one block north of PGA Boulevard within the City of Palm Beach Gardens. The complex was constructed in phases between 1985 and 1989 and derived its name from professional golfer, Jack Nicklaus (the Golden Bear), whose company, Golden Bear International, has been a tenant at the property since its original development. Cogswell purchased the property in 1997 in partnership with Barrow Street Capital and The Travelers Insurance Company and held for 5 years before being sold in 2002.
In 2002, Cogswell acquired a diverse portfolio of properties situated within a four-square block area of Newark’s Central Business District, consisting of small retail and office properties, parking lots and vacant parcels. A master plan for the site was developed to include over 3,200 apartments, 200,000 square feet of retail space and over 1,750 parking spaces. Although the portfolio was sold prior to redevelopment, the master plan for the site served as a catalyst for Newark’s The Living Downtown Redevelopment Plan, which was enacted in 2008, and remains the guiding principle for future development in Newark.
Cogswell, through a joint venture with Barrow Street Capital, purchased the two properties in April 1998 from a partnership of Lehman Brothers and Lennar Properties. At the time of purchase, the entire 450,000 square feet of properties had six years remaining on a triple net lease by Alloy Rods Corporation, a subsidiary of ESAB Welding, a global leader in the production of welding consumables and equipment, for use as manufacturing, office and research facilities. The property was also beset with several environmental conditions requiring immediate corrective action. Within six months of acquisition, the partnership had secured a “No Further Action” letter from the State of Pennsylvania and a five-year lease extension from ESAB. The properties were sold later that same year at a profit for the partnership.