OVG and Normandy to redevelop Unilever North America headquarters

OVG and Normandy to redevelop Unilever North America headquarters

Leading real estate development and investment firms OVG Real Estate and Normandy Real Estate Partners enter into a joint venture to acquire and retrofit Unilever NA headquarters. 

OVG Real Estate and Normandy Real Estate Partners are pleased to announce that Unilever selected their joint venture to spearhead the sale, redevelopment and expansion of its 325,000 sqf. North American headquarters at 700 Sylvan Avenue in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. The agreement provides that upon closing, the land and the building will be leased back to Unilever pursuant to an 18-year triple-net lease. The closing is expected to close prior to December 31st, 2016. 

The 23-acre campus located along the Hudson River, just outside of New York City, has been a Unilever corporate office for over five decades. The construction of the sustainable retrofit marks the onset of a significant makeover resulting in one of the most intelligent, energy-efficient and highly advanced corporate facilities on the East Coast. The new campus will have its substantial completion in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Commenting on the redevelopment, Kees Kruythoff, President of Unilever North America, says: “We’re very excited about transforming and extending our headquarters, to truly reinforce the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. This redevelopment is very much about improving the well-being of our people by providing them a healthy and productive work environment, while also reducing our environmental impact and helping increase the growth of our business. Partnering with OVG and Normandy on this project was the right choice for us. OVG’s credentials in creating sustainable, high-tech and smart spaces are unmatched and their vision to enhance overall quality of life for people is very much in line with our own. Combined with Normandy’s strong development, construction and operating expertise and deep relationships in the region made for the perfect partner for Unilever for this project.” 

Coen van Oostrom, founder and CEO of OVG Real Estate, shares this excitement: “It is truly an honor to begin our journey in the United States by partnering with one of the world’s most respected companies. Unilever and OVG have more than a shared vision in common. We share our Dutch roots and a passion to always keep innovating to create positive impact in the world. This project gives us the golden opportunity to apply all that we’ve learned and mastered over the last several years in Europe, to the American context. I’m particularly looking forward to setting a new benchmark in sustainable building, along with Unilever and Normandy.”

Reflecting the enthusiasm, Giorgios Vlamis, COO and partner of Normandy, said: “This is a dream team, coming together to transform a hallmark structure in the New Jersey area into a truly modern, iconic one. We’re thrilled to be part of this endeavor along with OVG and look forward to learning and sharing from each other as we go along. Our ambition is to raise the bar and have other companies aspire to the same standards in sustainability going forward.”

The renovated headquarters will be both LEED and WELL certified and generate substantial benefits including the reduction of CO2 emissions, reducing energy consumption by 50%, reducing water demand via low flow plumbing and diverting 75% of construction waste from landfill. OVG plans to increase the size of the property by 28% and accommodating 1,600 employees in Englewood Cliffs. New technical solutions that will be integrated include an App for the users of the building to tailor their work space, an IP backbone, localization, integrated IoT systems - from individual lighting control at workplaces to audio visual installations, sensors, and Data Analytics & Radio Frequency Identifier (RFID). All of these technologies are centered around the goal to support an unprecedented and optimal agile workplace environment. 

As Unilever’s exclusive agent, Cushman and Wakefield played a prominent role in advising on and facilitating the partnership.
Other partners involved in this setup and facilitation of the project include:
- Architects: Perkins + Will
- Unilever’s legal advisor: Robinson Cole
- Legal advisors to the OVG
- Normandy joint venture: Drinker Biddle & Reith and AKD Advocaten
- General Contractor: StructureTone
- Insurance Advisor: Parallel