MARLTON, NJ-Opus East LLC, a unit of the Minnetonka, MN-based Opus Corp., has started construction for 4 Lake Center Executive Park, an 87,500-sf class A office building. The project is said to be the first speculative class A office building to rise in this Burlington County community in South Jersey since the late 1980s.

The building will rise on a nearly 20-acre site at the intersection of Routes 70 and 73 here, a tract that the company acquired just this past February. Opus East paid Terramics Property Co. of Berwyn, PA a reported $2.6 million for the site, and the company’s build-out plans include an 87,500-sf twin for the newly under-construction building.

The project is part of an all-out push by Opus East in the tri-state market encompassing South Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, according to company officials, who say they are targeting a half dozen land sites adjacent to heavily traveled highway intersections. Officials of the Plymouth Meeting, PA-based Opus East have also put a number on their development plans-more than four million sf.

“Right now, South Jersey is considered to be the best growth area in the metro Philadelphia marketplace,” says C. Craig Guers, VP and general manager for Opus East. According to Guers, Opus east expects to have 4 Lake Center Executive Park ready by the end of the year.

The developer has also tapped CB Richard Ellis, which had brokered the earlier land sale, to lease the new building. According to CBRE senior VP Joseph M. Sklencar, Sr., “right now we’re looking at a very tight South Jersey market that has a total vacancy of only 6.5%. And the class A office vacancy rate is just 3.5%, so we believe the timing is ideal for this project.”

The new building will rise a total of four stories, giving it floorplates ranging between 20,475 and 22,750 sf. A projected ratio of 4.5 parking spaces per 1,000 sf of office space would put total parking capacity in the 400-car range. Opus East currently has the space listed at $19 per sf, net of all operating expenses.

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