HFF Closes Sale of NJ Apartment Tower

The 20-story, 316-unit property traded for $54 million.

By Jeffrey Steele

The Harrison, Franklin Township, N.J.
The Harrison, Franklin Township, N.J.

Florham Park, N.J.HFF has closed the sale of The Harrison, a 20-story apartment tower on 11.4 acres in Franklin Township, N.J. The sale price of the 42-year-old, 316-unit property at 575 Easton Ave. was $54 million.

HFF marketed the community exclusively on behalf of the seller, LeFrak Organization Inc. An undisclosed buyer purchased the asset free and clear of existing debt.

Situated less than one mile from Rutgers University and downtown New Brunswick, The Harrison offers views of the Raritan River and Rutgers Stadium. The tower was built by the seller in 1974 and underwent its most recent renovation in 2015.

The Harrison features 38 studio, 178 one-bedroom and 100 two-bedroom apartment homes. Residences offer hardwood floors, individually controlled heating and cooling, expansive layouts and balconies. A number of renovations to individual apartments have been undertaken over the past eight years at the 95-percent leased property.

Common-area amenities include a newly renovated clubhouse, outdoor pool, parking garage, playground, dog park, fitness center and two-in-one combination basketball and tennis court. The community also offers 24-7 concierge service.

Senior Managing Director Jose Cruz led the HFF investment sales team representing the seller. Also part of the leadership team were Managing Director Kevin O’Hearn, Directors Stephen Simonelli and Michael Oliver and Associate Director Marc Duval.

The Harrison, Franklin Township, N.J.
The Harrison, Franklin Township, N.J.

“It’s a great property, so in terms of challenges there were not many,” Cruz told Multi-Housing News. “It’s a tower, so we had to make sure the investors understood how to properly underwrite a suburban tower. That was important, because it’s not the norm to find a tower in the suburban New Jersey market. A lot of the suburban towns in this area are much better known for garden apartments. We wanted to make sure the investment community fully underwrote the uniqueness of this property.”

The Harrison is a larger apartment community with many units, making it an exciting opportunity for the buyer, Cruz said. It also presents opportunities for the buyer to add value, whether by upgrading amenities or renovating units.

“It was built in the early 1970s, and (the previous owner) spent money improving it over time,” he added. “But anyone who comes in tends to believe they can build a better mousetrap. And this provides real opportunity to add value. There are a lot of opportunities at the property for someone coming in to put their stamp on it.”

“This transaction reflects the strong demand for quality buildings with upside through unit renovations. The seller built a great asset, which is now going to be further upgraded to compete with some of the new supply in downtown New Brunswick,” O’Hearn added.

Images courtesy of theharrisonapts.com

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