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CRANBURY, NJ-The Turnpike corridor of Central New Jersey just keeps racking up the big box industrial deals. Coming on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Sappi Fine Paper will get a new 500,000-sf facility in the region (see earlier story), Keystone Property Trust has announced that it will build a 772,000-sf warehousing and distribution facility for Home Depot here.

The initial lease term for the home improvement retail giant will be 12 years, according to Keystone officials. The developer will also retain ownership of the asset once it’s completed. Additional terms of the lease agreement have not been disclosed.

The facility will rise on an 87-acre site that is currently under contract in the New Jersey Turnpike Exit 8A submarket on Station Road here. Project costs are estimated to be in the $40 million range, with construction slated to begin in October and occupancy expected for the fourth quarter of 2004. The facility will also have a future expansion capability of about 150,000 sf.

“We are able to meet the requirements of a sophisticated user with a state-of-the-art project that will have market-leading specifications,” explains John DiCola, senior vice president of investments for the West Conshohocken, PA-based Keystone.

“Further, while we have been an active developer of large distribution center facilities in New Jersey,” he continues, “this transaction indicates our ability to selectively capitalize on build-to-suit opportunities resulting from our own land bank. This project is an excellent opportunity for us, and I think that it complements our existing portfolio very well.”

When it is completed, the Home Deport Import Distribution Center will boost Keystone’s property ownership in the Garden State to more than 10 million sf of space. It will also hike the company’s holdings in the Exit 8A submarket in particular to almost 4.4 million sf. Keystone’s overall portfolio totals some 28 million sf in the in the eastern half of the US.

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