Mack-Cali Buys Three Apartment Buildings in Downtown New Brunswick For $41.1M

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Real estate giant Mack-Cali announced on Thursday the $41.1 million acquisition of three apartment buildings containing a total of 200 residences in downtown New Brunswick.

The compounds in question are the Riverwatch Commons and Richmond Court, located on Hiram Square and Dennis Dennis Street respectively.  The properties are next to each other.

The properties have two-bedroom, one-bedroom, and studio apartments between 623 and 950 square feet in size. Mack-Cali is leasing 95% 0f the properties from a company affiliated with Ironstate Holdings.

Both properties are adjacent to Hiram Square, a rowhouse development that Roseland built.   Roseland is a Mack-Cali subsidiary.

Mack-Cali CEO Mitchell E. Hersh was upbeat about the newly-acquired properties.

"The Mack-Cali and Roseland team is thrilled to acquire these properties, which offer residents spacious, well-apppointed apartments in an ideal transit-oriented location," said Hersh.

"We look forward to upgrading the properties and offering residents an enhanced amenity package. Riverwatch Commons and Richmond Court further fulfill Roseland's mission of visionary lifestyle." 

Residents  have access to bicycle racks, in-house laundry rooms, exercise gyms, and parking on the properties, and they are within close proximity to the city train station, Rutgers University, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and just steps away from Johnson & Johnson's worldwide headquarters.

Roseland will lease and operate the newly acquired properties, and intends to renovate the apartments, adding new surface finishes, overhauling kitchens and bathrooms.  They also plan to expand other amenities on site, including a new club room, and the addition of washing machines and dryers to the apartments themselves.

Mack-Cali Realty Corporation is a real estate  investment trust that manages, builds, leases, and alters its real estate properties, which it considers to be "class A". That is the highest grade of real estate: class A buildings have the soundest construction, good infrastructure, and are convenient to get to. 

Mack-Cali owns or invests in 279 properties in seven Northeastern states and the District of Columbia, but 169 of those properties are in New Jersey.

267 of Mack-Cali's properties are office buildings, with some 31.1 million square feet of floor space.  The remaining twelve are rental apartment buildings or complexes, containing more than 3,600 units in total.

Average rents in the Riverwatch and Richmond Court buildings are in the $1,300 to $,1900 a month range, well above the average for New Brunswick.

Riverwatch Commons has a 57% approval rating on apartmentratings.com, but most of the complaints were about poor management.

Richmond Court did not have an entry on that website. The two compounds are sometimes paired together on websites advertising apartments.

Ratings for some of Roseland's other apartment buildings are even worse.  Highlands at Morristown Station were rated 38%, while Marbella Apartments in Jersey City has an even lower rating: 14%. Management and a la carte pricing were among the primary issues cited by users.