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

CRANBURY, NJ-First Industrial Realty Trust has acquired 258 Prospect Plains Rd., an 886,826-sf industrial building here, from StratREAL. The sale price was not disclosed, but industry sources with knowledge of the transaction put the number in the $90-million range, which factors out to approximately $101.50 per sf.

“This is among the highest quality industrial properties that our group has sold,” says Andrew Merin of Cushman & Wakefield’s Metropolitan Area Capital Markets Group of East Rutherford, who orchestrated the deal along with C&W colleagues David Bernhaut, Gary Gabriel and Jose Cruz. “Having a long-term, full-building tenant made this an outstanding opportunity in a market that has few strong industrial investment opportunities right now.”

That long-term tenant Merin references is Pearson Education, the higher education book division of the London-based Pearson PLC, which signed a 20-year lease in 2001 while the asset was still under construction on a spec basis. The New York-based Rockefeller Group Development started work on the asset within its Rockefeller Group Foreign-Trade Zone at Exit 8A of the New Jersey Turnpike in 2001 and delivered it for Pearson’s occupancy in the fall of 2002.

“The Exit 8A market is among the most sought-after markets on the East Coast,” C&W’s Gabriel says. “It’s within a day’s drive of almost a quarter of the nation’s population.”

Shortly after the building was completed, Rock-Cranbury LLC, an affiliate of Rockefeller Group Development Corp., sold it to StratREAL, a London-based real estate investment and finance advisory firm, for just under $67.8 million. That earlier sale price equated to about $76.50 per sf, and according to information released by StratREAL, the deal had a cap rate of 8.25%. Officials of both StratREAL and First Industrial did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.<P.Pearson Education, which has its US headquarters in Upper Saddle River, uses the building for warehouse/distribution purposes, and the asset also contains a two-level office component. Rockefeller is continuing to develop the larger Foreign-Trade Zone 8A business park around it, a 150-acre campus that has some two million sf of build-to-suit capabilities.

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