Quest Diagnostics Set on Regional Lab, Parking Deck at ON3

Former Roche Campus Adds to its Occupant Roster

The redevelopment of the former Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. campus has taken another step forward, with Quest Diagnostics Inc. winning local approval to build a 225,000-square-foot regional lab and office facility and a parking garage on the property.

Quest, a diagnostics-information provider based in Secaucus, NJ, has been granted site-plan approval from the city of Clifton, NJ, for its buildings slated for 1153 Bloomfield Ave.

The firm, awarded $55.1 million in state tax incentives for the project, would be performing some of the first build-to-suit construction at the 116-acre tract, renamed ON3, which includes portions of both Clifton and Nutley, NJ.

Some of Hoffmann-La Roche’s buildings were demolished, making way for new structures, while a handful are being repositioned, including the site’s glass-walled high-rise, which is Roche’s former headquarters and a local landmark.

Quest will be among the initial occupants of ON3, which Prism Capital Partners LLC of Bloomfield, NJ, envisions as a mixed-use development that will serve as a technology and science hub in North Jersey. A new medical school, the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, has leased space on the campus and is scheduled to offer its first classes in July.

Global drug manufacturer Hoffmann-La Roche announced in June 2012 that it was vacating its rolling campus, which runs along Route 3, a busy highway that leads to the Lincoln Tunnel and Manhattan.

Prism purchased the site for $88.5 million and, in one of the state’s bigger repurposings, is redeveloping it, so far lining up not only the medical school but facilities for Ralph Lauren and a headquarters and lab for Modern Meadow Inc., a bio-fabrication firm, which relocated from Brooklyn, NY.

Quest has received the go-ahead from Clifton to build a two-story combination lab and office building, as well as a five-story garage with just over 1,000 parking stalls. Its parcel is 12.4 acres, on a mostly-vacant site that includes remnants of a paved parking lot, Quest said in the site plan that it filed with the Clifton Planning Board. There may be a second phase of work on the garage, with the addition of two stories with 438 more parking stalls, Quest said in its papers.

The company will have 1,420 employees, full- and part-time, working in Clifton initially, rising to a maximum of 2,152 in five years, it said in its site-plan application.

At a redevelopment conference held earlier this week in the high-rise building at ON3’s campus, Eugene Diaz, founder and principal partner of Prism, said that he will soon have more news about the project.

"There’s about a half-million feet of transactions for this campus: one a lease for a building next door, one a built-to-suit for a new laboratory facility," he said. "The next 30 days they’ll be public announcements about these transactions, bringing over 2,500 new employees to this site."

Diaz declined to comment about whether the lab he was referring to was the Quest facility.

Dennis Moynihan, a Quest spokesman, said the company couldn’t elaborate on its ON3 plans beyond what it said in its application to Clifton.

"We’re just continuing diligence," he said.

In order to win tax incentives, Quest told the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) that it was considering consolidating some of its operations, either by relocating workers from its Teterboro, NJ, lab to ON3 or expanding some facilities it has out of state. It will be getting $5.5 million annually in tax incentives over a 10-year period to remain in the Garden State, moving 754 employees from Teterboro, relocating 269 jobs from Pennsylvania and Connecticut, and creating 115 new jobs at ON3, according to EDA documents. Prism is spending $20 million to make infrastructure improvements at the ON3 campus, including new roads, according to Diaz. And parking is big part of the picture.

"We just let a contract out for 7,000 parking spaces in six garages to be built on this site over the next four years, wrapping them with different types of development," he said at the conference.


Linda Moss, Northern New Jersey Market Reporter  CoStar Group