(To read more on the industrial market, click here.)

SCRANTON, PA-Rosemont, IL-based Verus Partners has three spec warehouse/distribution buildings aggregating 582,000 sf either under way or on the drawing boards here and in Wilkes-Barre. The firm is looking for additional sites in this area and the Lehigh Valley.

It has preleased approximately 100,000 sf of a 166,000-sf building on 21 acres in Jessup Small Business Center here. It is the first of the three to reach completion and delivery is expected this spring.

Dunmore-based Specialty Defense Systems is the first tenant. Bill Wolf, SVP in the Allentown office of CB Richard Ellis, negotiated the transaction. It’s for a 10-year term, Wolf tells GlobeSt.com. Without disclosing the aggregate value of the lease, he says the asking rate for this building and the other two Verus spec buildings is $4.25 per sf.

Verus has broken ground for a 250,000-sf warehouse/distribution building at the Hanover Distribution Center in Wilkes-Barre, which is expected to reach completion this summer. Meanwhile, the developer also plans to move forward with a 166,000-sf twin building at the Jessup Center site. All three of these buildings are in Keystone Opportunity Zones, which provides tenants with tax breaks.

Wolf says Verus is “actively pursuing the acquisition of other sites for additional commercial development in both this East-Central and the Lehigh Valley markets.” CBRE is representing it in identifying and negotiating sale agreements for those sites. While looking to buy, Verus also sold an 81-acre, industrial-zoned parcel at Route 100 and Schantz Road in Upper Macungie Township to Nestle Water Co. North America. The buyer plans expansion of its adjacent bottling plant, which is located on Nestle Way in the Lehigh Valley West Business Park. Wolf represented Verus in the sale, but declined to disclose the sale price. A call to Verus was not returned by deadline.

A source, quoting public records, tells GlobeSt.com the land sold for nearly $17.8 million, a “high water mark” for industrial land in the Lehigh Valley, according to the source. Furthermore, the deed provides for the return of approximately 4.5 acres to Verus within two years for one dollar, following approval of a subdivision plan.

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