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CRANBURY, NJ-Coming rapidly on the heels of Volkswagen of North America’s deal to lease nearly a million sf of warehousing/distribution space from Cabot Industrial in this Middlesex County community, Pearson Education Inc. has signed a lease for 890,000 sf at Rockefeller Group Development’s new 150-acre business park. These and other recent transactions have clearly stamped the New Jersey Turnpike Exit 8A submarket as among the country’s hottest in the industrial category.

Pearson is the first tenant in the developer’s Rockefeller Group Foreign Trade Zone/8A, as the business park is called. Altogether, the project will offer some two million sf, all of it build-to-suit space, as is the warehouse/distribution building Pearson is taking. Federally designated foreign-trade zone status enables companies to bring imported goods into the site for assembly, processing and storage on a duty-free basis until those products actually enter the marketplace.

“After a prolonged search, we selected this site based on a number of factors, including its location and the build-to-suit opportunity,” according to Bill Brooks, vice president of facilities for Pearson. The project will add some 400 jobs in New Jersey, where Pearson already has more than 1,800 employees.

The job-creation potential of the project is enabling Pearson to take advantage of the New Jersey EDA’s Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP) as part of a larger incentives package. The value of the BEIP part of the package is in the $580,000 range for 10 years. The “contents” of the rest of the package were not disclosed.

“In the end it comes down to selecting a location that can meet that company’s strategic business plan,” says Eugene Preston, vice president of development and project executive for Rockefeller. “In this instance, Pearson will capitalize on the strategic value of the location, and we will be able to deliver on their behalf.”

Pearson was represented in the lease transaction by Richard Berzine and Robert DeAngelis of Berzine and Co., and by Stan Danzig and Jules Nissim of Cushman & Wakefield of New Jersey, Inc. Preston, along with Robert C. Jackson, represented Rockefeller.

Pearson Education, with offices in some 30 countries, is said to be the largest education-related company in the world. Its businesses include Addison Wesley, Allyn & Bacon, Benjamin Cummings, Longman, Prentice Hall, Pearson Learning, Scott Foresman, Electronic Education and NCS Pearson. The company also has a number of online learning portals, including www.coursecompass.com and www.learningnetwork.com.

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