PARSIPPANY — GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) property located at 1500 Littleton Road was sold on October 6, for $8,500,000.00. The deed was recorded at the Morris County Recording Office on October 18.
The buyer is listed as Parsippany Littleton, LLC. The office address is listed as 820 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills. (click here to view corporate formation)
The property consists of all the land together with the appurtenances thereto, being known as Block 181, Lot 19 on the Tax Map of the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills.
According to property tax information (as of January 10, 2016) listed with the State of New Jersey Transparency Center, the land is listed as 25.950 acres, with a property class of Commercial. The land value was listed at $10,435,000 and the building value was listed at $12,713,200 for a total of $23,148,200. The annual property tax $665,000.00 is listed on the Parsippany-Troy Hills website.
Also listed at the address of 820 Morris Avenue is Garden Homes. Garden Homes is owned in part or wholly by Zygi Wilf. Zygi Wilf is the Owner/Chairman of the Minnesota Vikings (click here for additional details).
Wilf joined the family business and became head of one of the company’s affiliates, Garden Commercial Properties. Wilf has grown the company from four shopping centers in Northern New Jersey to over a hundred properties, including several large malls. In addition to the commercial properties, the Garden companies also own and manages 90,000 apartment units around the country. In Parsippany, Garden Communities consists of Powdermill Heights, Knoll Gardens, Mill Run at Parsippany, Redstone Gardens, Ridgeview Gardens, Redstone Apartments, Vail Gardens and Westgate Apartments.
Garden Homes is also involved with Forge Pond, a new townhouse development with a price tag ranging from $435,000 to $535,000; Puddingstone Ridge, single family homes with a price tag of approximately $825,000; In Budd Lake, Lakeview Homes, single family homes with a price tag of approximately $600,000; In Fairfield, The Reserve at Fairfield, with homes ranging from $829,000 to $1,014,000. Mazdabrook Commons is listed as one of their past projects.
Other projects of Garden Homes is located in Bergen, Essex, Monmouth, Morris, Somerset, Warren Counties and Hartford Connecticut.
Garden Communities offers apartment rentals throughout New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. Whether you are looking for 1, 2 or 3 bedroom units, studios, townhouses/duplexes, luxury apartment rentals, affordable housing or 55+ active adult communities, your ideal location is waiting at Garden Communities. Our properties offer residents access to extensive shopping, entertainment, the best schools in the area and recreational activities for all ages.
Garden Commercial Properties also is listed at 820 Morris Avenue. Some of the properties in that portfolio include Parsippany’s Arlington Plaza, among over a dozen other shopping centers in New Jersey. Rutgers Village, Powder Mill East Shopping Center, and Powder Mill West Shopping Centers are part of Pineview Homes, which is a subsidiary of the Wilf empire.
This former GSK site, located at 1500 Littleton Road in Parsippany-Troy Hills, was originally the site of a country estate called Spring Side built in 1877 by Peter H. Ballantine. Ballantine descended from the owners of a successful brewery in Newark, which was known for its famous Ballantine beer.
During the latter half of the nineteenth century, this area housed country homes for many of the wealthiest families in New York and New Jersey.
At this time, it was common practice amongst the wealthy to have a summer residence in the country to escape the heat and dirt of the big cities. According to reports, Isabelle Ballantine, Peter’s widow, was the last member of her family to use the mansion as a residence.
When she died in 1946, the estate passed to her nephew, Congressman Peter Frelinghuysen, who then sold it to a developer and used a portion of the property to build the Sedgefield neighborhood. These are the residential properties that now border the GSK site.
The Texas-US Chemical Company purchased 26 acres of the property in the late 50s, and used the mansion as office space while they built a new research and development building. The mansion was demolished in 1962. The original office building, now called Building A, housed GSK’s main reception lobby.
In 2010, the Carriage House’s structure was in disrepair and in danger of collapsing. GSK conducted a study to determine the feasibility of repairing and restoring the structure. Following the study, approval to convert the building into a training center was granted, and Phase 1— the structural stabilization of the building— began in 2011. The interior renovation was completed in 2013, and the Carriage House Training Center officially opened on July 15, 2013.
The Carriage House, gazebo and stone wall running along Littleton Road are all that remain from the Ballantine estate. The original carriage house door location was converted into the new main entrance, which includes a steel and glass vestibule enclosed behind reproduction barn doors. A timber found in the first floor framing had the scribed date of “1803”. As a tribute to the original historical elements of the building, the “1803” barn beam was re-used above the entry to the main training space. The original wood from the Carriage House was removed, refinished and re-installed where possible throughout the building. The Carriage House’s old stables serve as accessible toilet facilities. The toilet stalls are in the location of the original horse stalls. The exposed trusses of the main training space are the original structure of the Carriage House. They remain exposed to capture the historical essence of the space.
The future of the property remains in the developer’s hands.
In 2016, Parsippany Focus reported Mack-Cali is repurposing office buildings in the Mack-Cali Office Complex, which is located diagonally across the street. Focus was told by a representative of Mack-Cali, “Apparently, 1633 Littleton is being repurposed. Nothing on the other property.” (Editors note: The other property in question is Two Campus Drive, which is vacant and directly behind 1633 Littleton Road.) Roseland Residential Trust, Mack-Cali’s multi-family subsidiary, acquired Two Campus Drive in Mack-Cali’s Business Campus for approximately $5.5 million. The strategic acquisition will pave the way for the execution of the mixed-use master plan for the Campus in Parsippany. Click here to read full story.