AP NEWS

Former GlaxoSmithKline plant back on market

August 17, 2016

A former GlaxoSmithKline factory in Clifton has been repurposed as a warehouse and distribution center by a partnership of two North Jersey developers who are seeking a tenant for the renovated 204,000-square-foot building as investor appetite for the warehouse sector in North Jersey shows no signs of abating.

Bank of New Jersey Chief Executive Officer Nancy Graves said Wednesday that her bank provided the $10 million loan for the renovation of the property at 65 Industrial St. South, and the lender is supporting the project in part because of “how unique the property is,” with its proximity to Route 3 and its power lifts to get loaded pallets on and off the high shelves. In addition, with more shopping being done online, e-commerce companies are in need of distribution centers in densely populated areas like Clifton, Graves said.

“They are talking with quite a few tenants,″ she said. “One is a food company, one is an e-commerce business.”

Warehouse and distribution centers in North Jersey has been the hottest sector in commercial real estate in North Jersey, pushing industrial vacancy rates to historic lows, according to real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield. The vacancy rate for northern and central New Jersey fell to 5 percent in the second quarter, and asking rents reached their highest levels since 2000, according to Cushman & Wakefield. The average asking rate for warehouse space in the region was $6.55 a square foot, up more than 26 percent over the past three years.

Graves said the project’s developers include Salvatore Frassetto, co-chairman of Rochelle Park-based Tulfra Real Estate and Jon Hanson, chairman of Morristown-based The Hampshire Cos.

They also were among the co-founders of the defunct Pascack Community Bank, and therefore are Graves’ former employers, she said. Graves was Waldwick-based Pascack’s CEO until the bank was bought for more than $40 million in January by Lakeland Bancorp in Oak Ridge. When Graves took the top job at Bank of New Jersey in Fort Lee, she brought Pascack’s chief lending officer, Mike Trepicchio,with her.

The exclusive broker for the Clifton property is Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., which is touting it as an “ideal e-commerce distribution point,” as New Jersey warehouse marketers are wont to do, with online retailers continuing to push for next-day and even same-day delivery.

E-commerce companies filling warehouses in New Jersey include online grocer Peapod, a subsidiary of Dutch retailer Ahold, which is leasing a 345,000-square-foot distribution center in Jersey City.

Amazon.com has several New Jersey facilities and said earlier this year it plans to open two more - in Florence in Burlington County and Carteret in Middlesex County.

The renovations at 65 Industrial St. South included raising the ceiling height to 27 feet from 15 feet, adding an epoxy floor in the warehouse, beefing up the electrical capacity and resurfacing the exterior.

The developers also added six loading docks to the 16 already there. The building, less than a mile from Route 3 and 10 miles from the Lincoln Tunnel, includes 28,000 square feet of office space.

British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline laid off 165 workers when it closed the manufacturing plant in 2014.

Email: newman@northjersey.com