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KEARNY, NJ-The HD Smith Co. has signed a lease for 211,000 sf of office and warehouse space in Phase I of Saw Mill Park here. The park is currently being developed on spec by Russo Development of Hackensack.

Ed Russo, president and COO of Russo Development, terms the signing “one of the largest industrial leases signed in Northern New Jersey during the past several years,” in a market where most of the big-box leases happen further south along the New Jersey Turnpike. The terms of the lease were not disclosed. He also credits the Town of Kearny and the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission as being “instrumental in getting this project done.”

HD Smith, a Springfield, IL-based privately held national wholesale drug distributor, is already a Russo tenant, occupying 138,000 sf at the developer’s 410 Commerce Blvd. building in nearby Carlstadt. According to Harvey Tanenbaum, vice president of business development for HD Smith, the company will use the expanded location to house its Northeast regional warehousing and distribution operations, as well as its regional office operations. “It became clear that we were rapidly outgrowing the capacity of our current distribution center, which required us to relocate to a larger facility.”

Besides the Garden State, the company has distribution centers in California, Illinois, Texas and Florida. HD Smith distributes a line of branded and generic pharmaceuticals, OTC/HBC, home healthcare products, surgical supplies, seasonal merchandise and marketing programs to retail, managed care and government pharmacies.

The building, for which the developer started construction in the spring of 2004 on a spec basis as the first phase of Saw Mill Park, is ready to be fitted out for HD Smith, according to Russo. The tenant is expected to take occupancy in March 2006. Phase II of the 25-acre complex will consist of up to 250,000 sf of industrial/flex space. The yet-to-be-developed portion of the site can accommodate building layouts to support space requirements from 25,000 sf to the full 250,000 feet.

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