A joint venture between Onyx Equities, LLC and Machine Investment Group, LLC has acquired Merck’s former world headquarters, which features nearly two million square feet of biologics, research, and development buildings on its 108-acre campus in Kenilworth. This closing represents one of the largest New Jersey office and life sciences transactions in history.
The venture will market the site’s state-of-the-art laboratories and support facilities to biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and technology companies that value a highly educated life sciences labor pool and proximity to regional infrastructure and thoroughfares. Merck will lease back the entirety of the historic site, vacating in phases over the next several years. The company will also continue as a tenant while the new headquarters is expanded.
“New Jersey receives two forms of good news today as one of the pillars of our business community chooses to commit its long-term future to New Jersey and one of our leading developers prepares to build a high-tech life sciences hub, consistent with our vision for New Jersey’s economic future,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “I congratulate both Merck and Onyx and eagerly await the advancements they will make in our state, which will solidify our status as a national leader in the life sciences sector.”
“This collaboration is an incredible opportunity to help reimagine the hub of life sciences while also continuing Merck’s strong history and legacy of serving patients and communities,” said Shefali Shah, Global Real Estate Lead, Merck. “We believe Onyx Equities, LLC will foster long-term value, economic growth and sustainability within the community. We look forward to collaborating with Onyx Equities, LLC and their team members on a smooth transition.”
“The life sciences industry is surging, and its rapidly developing technology requires new specialty facilities,” said John Saraceno, Jr., Co-Founder and Managing Principal for Onyx Equities, LLC. “The Merck campus represents an opportunity to host blue chip companies that will benefit from proximity to New Jersey and New York’s highly educated workforce. We’re excited to apply Onyx’s unique asset repositioning platform to attract the next generation of life science and technology leaders.”
In addition to over 1.4 million square feet of laboratories, the campus features 500,000 square feet of Class-A professional office space, 30 acres of developable land, a 25-megawatt cogeneration plant, three full-service cafeterias, a fitness center, auditoriums and conference centers, outdoor amenity areas, and over 3,200 surface and structured parking spaces.
The property sits at a direct interchange off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 138 in a premier location. In addition to direct access to the Garden State Parkway, the property enjoys proximity to Route 78, the Route 22 retail corridor, the New Jersey Turnpike, Newark Liberty International Airport, and the Port Newark Elizabeth Marine Terminal.
Merck was represented in the transaction by Dan Loughlin, Jose Cruz, and Kevin O’Hearn of New Jersey’s JLL office. Onyx’s development team handled the transaction internally.
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