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SECAUCUS, NJ-Hartz Mountain Industries, based here, chalked up a total of more than 1.9 million sf of leasing activity at its New Jersey properties during the first quarter of this year, according to Emanuel Stern, the company’s president and COO. The largest of the transactions was a 389,453-sf industrial lease signed at 201 Bay Ave. in Elizabeth, NJ by Scotto Brothers Inc.

In the Scotto transaction, the logistics company initially took just under 176,000 sf, and then agreed in March to take an additional 213,474 sf, according to Stern.

Altogether, 1.5 million sf of the total involved new leasing activity, and 400,000 sf in renewals. Among the deals: Proven Solutions Inc. took 143,500 sf of industrial space in North Bergen, NJ; Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New Jersey renewed for 88,851 sf in Harrison, NJ; and Trim Spa leased 116,588 sf of warehouse space in Whippany, NJ.

Also, a 119,521-sf industrial lease was signed by Urban Express in Elizabeth, NJ; E-Fashion Consulting leased 70,925 sf, also industrial space, in Secaucus, NJ; Master Cutlery Inc. signed on for just under 40,000 sf of industrial space, also in Secaucus; and Kenneth Cole leased 51,000 sf of office space at Hartz’s Harmon Meadow in Secaucus.

“When we began to see an uptick in the industrial sector in January, I noted that it was a positive sign for the region’s economy and real estate market,” Stern says. “Now that the momentum has continued through the end of the first quarter and we’ve begun to see increased activity in other sectors, I am even more confident that an overall market recovery is under way.

“While noteworthy, neither the uptick nor the relative lull that preceded it is out of the ordinary for Northern New Jersey,” Stern continues. “The activity we’ve witnessed is a product of normal market cycles. Given its inherent qualities, Northern New Jersey has and will continue to steadily attract industrial tenants in a pattern consistent with market cycles.

“Further, the industrial market has typically been a leading indicator for other sectors, which we’ve begun to witness in the form of a few key office deals,” he says. Hartz’s portfolio currently stands at some 200 properties totaling more than 35 million sf in the New York/New Jersey metro area.

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