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BETHLEHEM, PA-Milliken Valve Co. inked a long-term lease for half, or 104,000 sf, of the 208,000-sf warehouse and distribution facility under construction at 2625 Broadhead Rd. within the Bethlehem Crossings Industrial Park. The developer is Opus East LLC, the Plymouth Meeting-based Mid-Atlantic office of Opus Group, which is headquartered in Minnetonka, MN.

Terms of the Milliken lease are undisclosed. According to second-quarter data from the Philadelphia office of CB Richard Ellis, the average minimum-asking rental rate for industrial and warehouse facilities here is $3.93 per sf, and area brokers confirm that rates here are hovering at the $4-per-sf level.

Brian Donley, manager of real estate development, and C. Craig Guers, VP of Opus East, expect the first building to reach completion this November. Donley says additional contracts are outstanding for the balance of the building, and, “based upon that strong demand,” he says his company expects to begin construction of Phase II at Bethlehem Crossings soon. Completion of the second building, a 235,600-sf distribution center, is projected for April 2005. The park is two miles from access to the Lehigh Valley Thruway, which connects with I-78. “This lease is clear indication of the demand for new industrial space on the east side of the Lehigh Valley,” Donley says.

The first building is designed to warehouse consumer products, raw materials, business consumables and other large-cube commodities. It has a 28-foot clear ceiling, 40- by 50-foot column spacing and is fully sprinklered. Locally based Milliken is among the largest US manufacturers of industrial valves used in a variety of applications, including commercial HVAC systems.

Opus established the Mid-Atlantic office in 1998 to develop office, industrial, retail and multifamily facilities in the tri-state area. Last July Opus East acquired land for Bethlehem Crossings with plans to construct three warehouse/distribution facilities, each approximately 235,000 sf.

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