Russo’s complex is latest warehouse project facing blowback

New Jerseyans fighting 2.1M sf proposal in Mullica Hill

Russo Development's Edward Russo (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty, LinkedIn)
Russo Development's Edward Russo (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty, LinkedIn)

If only all of their online orders could be delivered by a white-bearded elf and flying reindeer.

Truck-averse New Jerseyans are trying to stop Russo Development from building a giant warehouse complex in the Mullica Hill section of Harrison Township, reported.

The 2.1-million-square-foot development would unfold on farmland along Route 322 in Gloucester County.

New-Jersey based Russo defended the project, saying in a statement that it “was designed to respond to the township’s vision for a logistics development that is appropriately located directly on a full interchange of the New Jersey Turnpike.” Russo added the buildings would be set far back on the 160-acre site and would resemble an office campus.

The four-building project is not viewed favorably by some in the quiet community, though. Residents expressed concern about truck traffic, noise, pollution and even crime. The nearest development to the site is a day care facility.

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(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
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The project is set to be voted upon on Dec. 1 in Harrison Township. Woolwich Township, which has a piece of the development site, previously approved it.

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The Casella Farms Homeowners Association, part of the opposition, is gearing up for a legal battle and has retained an attorney.

Opponents are hoping for an outcome similar to another warehouse proposed for the township. The developer ultimately didn’t move forward with the 350,000-square-foot project.

The same community rallied against a soccer and retail development last spring, citing transparency concerns when the $485 million Harrison Township project was moved to Mullica Hill farmland.

The proposal called for an athletic complex and soccer development facility with up to 60 artificial turf and grass fields, along with 200,000 square feet of bars, restaurants and shops.

New Jersey, with its numerous highways and proximity to a major port and the New York metropolitan area, has been one of the hottest industrial real estate markets for decades, and especially since the onset of the pandemic.

In the Northeast, the occupancy rate of warehouse, distribution and manufacturing facilities across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware has averaged 98 percent since the pandemic began, according to JLL.

— Holden Walter-Warner

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