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CRANBURY, NJ-Volkswagen of America has signed a long-term lease for 928,000 sf of warehouse/distribution space at Cabot Distribution Center. A project of Boston-based Cabot Industrial Properties, the entire freestanding building will be occupied by VW. Terms of the lease were not disclosed.

Situated on 71 acres, the build-to-suit is under construction and scheduled to open in 3Q 2002. The facility will serve as a distribution center and depot for parts arriving from Europe, destined for Volkswagen and Audi dealers on the East Coast. It will replace a smaller facility in nearby South Brunswick. About 150 jobs will be moved to the new location.

“We wanted to stay [in the New Jersey Turnpike Exit 8A] market because of its location and our familiarity with operating an existing parts-distribution facility in the area,” explains Dale Hawke, VW’s parts head. “The Cabot project offered us the opportunity to influence the project’s design to create a building tailored to our needs.”

“Volkswagen and Cabot wanted a building that has architectural qualities not normally associated with warehouse facilities,” according to KSS Architects’ Michael Shatken. “We worked with Volkswagen in designing its existing facility, and adapting the Cabot project to its needs was a natural.”

Of the total square footage, about 50,000 sf will be built out as office space. Features will include four architectural entrances, 32-foot clear ceilings and trailer parking for 100 trucks. KSS Architects of Princeton, NJ designed the facility; Schoor De Palma is the civil engineer; Drinker Biddle and Shanley is the land-use attorney; and March Associates is the general contractor. VW also received a business employment development grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

“This is one of the largest transactions in recent times in the 8A market,” adds Cabot SVP Gene Reilly. “This transaction affirms the strength of 8A as a regional distribution hub.”

Trammell Crow Co.’s automotive realty services group, in affiliation with TCC’s office in Conshohocken, PA, represented Volkswagen in both the lease transaction and negotiations with public officials. Paul Torosian and Larry Maister were TCC’s local reps.

Auber Resources Inc. in affiliation with the Garibaldi Group of Chatham, NJ, negotiated for Cabot. Auber also represents Cabot locally as Cabot’s development partner.

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