Newark breaks ground on $50M on-spec warehouse

By David Jones | July 25, 2012 03:00PM

Morris Cos. broke ground Tuesday on a $50 million 350,000-square-foot warehouse in the Ironbound section of Newark, N.J. The Rutherford, N.J.-based developer is building on the dormant brownfield site, the home of a former Sherwin Williams Co. paint facility at 60 Lister Avenue.

CBRE Group Inc., the exclusive broker, has begun marketing the on-spec facility to potential tenants, and officials say there is strong demand for warehouse space in such close proximity to the Port of Newark and New York City. “It could be a combination of port-related companies,” Thomas Monahan, senior vice president at CBRE, told The Real Deal.

He said the facility is being marketed for up to two tenants, but would ideally land a single tenant for the entire operation.

Morris has specialized in transforming former brownfield sites with dormant industrial facilities. The company has redeveloped a former Chevron facility in Perth Amboy, N.J., into a 1.1-million-square-foot corporate park that includes Best Buy, U.S. Foods and West Logistics Inc.

Mayor Cory Booker was on hand for Monday’s groundbreaking.

Officials noted that the Ironbound site is an attractive alternative to competing warehouse facilities in towns like Cranbury, N.J., both on cost savings and location. The site will also qualify for the state of New Jersey’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program, which offers incentives to companies to develop near major transportation centers.

Booker said that despite concerns about the national economy, Newark is moving forward with plans for new development. Ground has already broken on the new Panasonic headquarters, which is being relocated to Newark.

Mayor Cory Booker said that two new Newark towers are expected to be announced within the next few months. In March, The Real Deal reported that CBRE was marketing a proposed one-million-square-foot office tower at 101 Market Street in Newark. That project would have market-rate rental apartments on the building’s upper floors and retail space on the ground floor.

In February, officials also broke ground on a $149 million project called Teachers Village, which includes 70,000 square feet of retail space, 200 apartments for teachers and space for local charter schools.