CRANFORD, NJ — The relocation of an international intellectual property law firm to the township from Westfield is being hailed as a positive sign for the municipality’s corporate properties.
Lerner David, which spent nearly its entire 50-year history at 600 South Ave., in Westfield, announced in a Jan. 31 release that it will be moving to 20 Commerce Drive, where its new lease encompasses 34,373 square feet of office space.
Lerner David also has offices in Japan and China.
“It certainly speaks to the viability of our corporate park and commercial space,” Mayor Patrick Giblin said during a phone interview on Feb. 12.
Giblin said the space recently opened when PSE&G relocated several workers to Newark.
According to the release, Lerner David’s new home is “a fully amenitized Class A building with direct access to the Garden State Parkway.” Signature Acquisitions purchased the property in a portfolio from Mack-Cali in 2017 and is in the process of modernizing the building with a new cafeteria space, conference centers and an on-site management office.
Cranford’s commercial real estate status came into focus during Hartz Mountain Industries’ application to the Cranford Planning Board to have a 30.5-acre triangular tract of land at 750 Walnut Ave. rezoned from commercial to residential use.
At the July 18 Planning Board meeting, commercial real estate broker Matt McDonough testified on Hartz Mountain’s behalf that the current office building is unlikely to attract new tenants in the future.
He said the building is antiquated by today’s standards and was constructed with limited window space. McDonough said many business are choosing to set up offices in urban settings such as Hoboken and Jersey City, which are more appealing to prospective employees.
According to a statement published on Facebook, Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle said she was “disappointed” by Lerner David’s departure from her town.
“When I met with their managing partner last summer, I learned they wanted to stay in Westfield but needed more modern office space with parking to accommodate 150 employees and that a search process had been underway for quite some time,” the mayor said. “Unfortunately, we have no existing space to accommodate one of our largest taxpayers.”
She said she is “committed” to solving the town’s “commercial and parking shortage” in order to attract commercial tenants such as Lerner David as well as tech firms, consulting firms and other businesses.
According to Lerner David’s website, the firm “assists a diverse client base at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution … and safeguards some of the world’s leading brands and fights for its clients’ rights before the courts and administrative tribunals of the world.”