Mesirow Financial Acquires Unilever’s N. American HQ Property Through OVG and Normandy

CHICAGO, January 11, 2017Mesirow Financial announced that it successfully acquired the Unilever North American Headquarters located in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, through current developers OVG Real Estate and Normandy Real Estate Partners. The 22.85 acre, 321,000 square foot property, which is located across the Hudson River from New York City, is in the midst of a substantial redevelopment coordinated through a joint venture between OVG Real Estate and Normandy Real Estate Partners, and is expected to be completed by Q4 2017. Unilever has a long operating history at this location, dating back to the mid-1960s, and has reaffirmed its commitment to the location by committing to an 18-year lease with multiple options to extend.

At completion, Unilever’s North American Headquarters aims to be one of the most energy-efficient and technologically advanced corporate facilities on the East Coast.

“We are very pleased that our partners OVG and Normandy have concluded this deal with Mesirow to acquire 700 Sylvan Avenue and become the landlord of our North American Headquarters Campus. This supports our strategy to maintain a strong presence in New Jersey and continue to attract and retain great talent across the tri-state area,” said Ian Dunning, service delivery director, Unilever.

Mesirow Financial’s Garry Cohen stated, “We are ecstatic to have closed on what will become such a distinctive and iconic facility as well as having forged a new partnership with prominent organizations such as Unilever, OVG and Normandy. This transaction is the capstone to an incredibly successful year for Mesirow’s Sale-Leaseback Capital group, where we have purchased in excess of $500 million of single tenant properties despite a challenging capital markets environment. We believe that this transaction is the beginning of a terrific long-term relationship with Unilever.”

“With strong collaboration between our capital markets businesses, we continue to enhance our full-service platform in acquiring single-tenant properties on a national basis, complemented by our capabilities in mezzanine and senior debt placement,” said Richard Price, chairman and chief executive officer of Mesirow Financial.

Jan-Hein Lakeman, Executive Managing Director at OVG Real Estate USA and Giorgios L. Vlamis, COO and partner at Normandy commented, “We are proud of our first joint project in the US and the collaboration with Mesirow, an organization with an impressive reputation as financier of single tenant properties. We look forward to bringing our expertise on using smart technologies to create sustainable and healthy working spaces through this project and the many others to follow."

Led by Senior Managing Directors Garry Cohen and Douglas Barker, Mesirow Financial’s Sale-Leaseback Capital group arranged for the purchase of the facility. The acquisition financing was structured in collaboration with Mesirow Financial’s Credit Tenant Lease (CTL) and Institutional Sales and Trading groups, led by Senior Managing Director Stephen Jacobson and Managing Director Nathanial Sager.

The OVG/Normandy joint venture was led by Jan Hein Lakeman, Executive Managing Director USA of OVG and Giorgios Vlamis, COO and partner of Normandy. Cushman & Wakefield acted as real estate advisor for Unilever and OVG/Normandy on the transaction led by Vice Chairman David Bernhaut and Senior Managing Director Robert Elms.

About Mesirow Financial
Mesirow Financial is an independent, employee-owned firm founded in 1937. As specialists in investment, risk management and advisory services, we are committed to helping our institutional, corporate and individual clients achieve their objectives. Our professionals are inspired by an entrepreneurial desire to develop tailored solutions designed to deliver measurable results. To learn more, please visit mesirowfinancial.com.

About OVG Real Estate
Founded in 1997 OVG Real Estate is the largest developer in the Netherlands and one of the most successful in Europe, leading in the development of office properties. Under the leadership of its founder Coen van Oostrom, the company has been setting new benchmarks for sustainable and technology-oriented building for 19 years. Specialized on intelligent and future-oriented solutions, OVG grew from a classic developer into a technology firm. Please visit ovgrealestate.com.

About Normandy Real Estate Partners
Normandy Real Estate Partners is a leading real estate operator and investment manager headquartered in Morristown, NJ with offices in Boston, New York City and Washington, D.C. Normandy currently manages a series of discretionary real estate funds totaling approximately $1.5 billion of equity commitments. Normandy’s existing portfolio includes 13.2 million square feet of commercial assets, four hotels and numerous land development sites. Normandy targets value added real estate investments in the gateway markets of Boston, Metro New York City, and Washington, D.C. where opportunities exist to enhance value through creative repositioning, financial restructuring, intensive management, and capital improvements. For more information visit normandyrealty.com.