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ALLENTOWN, PA-Chicago-based Verus Partners has moved into this area for the first time. It has developed more than one million sf of spec-built industrial space at locations here and in Jessup, near Scranton.

Verus handed the exclusive leasing assignment for both properties to Bill Wolf, first VP in the local office of CB Richard Ellis. Wolf says the Lehigh Valley Gateway site at Route 100 and Interstate 78 here in Upper Macungie Township will accommodate up to 950,000 sf. Verus is set to break ground for an initial 500,000-sf building scheduled for completion in spring 2006, says Wolf. “Rates are not yet determined,” he tells GlobeSt.com, but confirms they will be market rate, which now stands in the $4-per-sf range.

“It can efficiently accommodate tenants from 100,000 to 950,000 sf,” he says, and the buildings will feature 32-foot clear ceiling heights, front-loaded or cross-dock truck access, on-site trailer parking and rail service to the site. The location, he says, provides “unparalleled highway access.”

Verus’ other spec-built facility is a 166,500-sf building at Seven Alberigi Dr. in Jessup Small Business Center near Scranton and within minutes of Interstate 81 from Route 6. It will reach completion this fall, Wolf says and is designed for multiple tenant occupancy, divisible into portions as little as 30,000 sf.

Jessup Center has foreign trade zone status and is also a keystone opportunity enterprise zone. “While we’re marketing it for any distribution and warehouse uses,” Wolf says, “its trade-free status offers additional benefits to import/export firms because it forgives certain import tariffs and excise taxes.” Asking rental rates, he says, “are in the range between $4 per sf and $4.25 per sf.”

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