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NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ-Two industrial tenants have signed short-term leases totaling 200,737 sf at the former Johnson & Johnson campus here. But the emphasis is on short-term, because the property’s new owner is planning to redevelop the 212-acre site for the longer term. As reported by GlobeSt.com, North Brunswick TOD Associates, an affiliate of Short Hills, NJ-based Garden Homes and Garden Commercial Properties, bought the property for an undisclosed price in a deal that was announced this past spring and closed in August.

After the sale closed, the new owner announced it would market the site’s 1.2 million sf of building space on a short-term basis while exploring eventual redevelopment. J&J stayed on-site to the tune of 213,000 sf after the sale closed, and the two new leases boost the property’s occupancy to approximately one-third.

In the larger of the two new leases, consumer products manufacturer Church & Dwight has taken 133,098 sf for warehouse use. Scott Belfer of CB Richard Ellis represented Church & Dwight, while Chuck Fern of Lee & Klatskin Associates spoke for the landlord. “The North Brunswick campus allowed Church & Dwight to expand existing operations within North Brunswick,” says John Taikina, director of planning and development for North Brunswick TOD Associates, who notes that the company already occupies 1.5 million sf of warehouse and manufacturing space in the area.

In the second signing, Furniture X-Change, a reseller of corporate office furniture, took 67,639 sf of warehouse space. Newmark Knight Frank represented the tenant, while Lee & Klatskin’s Fern once again represented the ownership.

“Furniture X-Change had lost its lease at its current location and we were able to complete the lease transaction within a matter of days,” Taikina says. “The level of interest in the property has been outstanding and we see continued interest in the balance of the space every week. This is a unique product not only because of its quality but also because it is available on a short-term basis and is priced very competitively.”

As far as long-range plans for the site, North Brunswick TOD Associates is currently conducting open public workshops with residents and local officials to explore future options. A transit village development is likely in the cards and planning is focusing on a combination of office, retail, residential, hotel uses, along with a civic component and a new commuter rail station, according to Jonathan Frieder, managing partner for the ownership group.

The eventual build-out is also expected to be contained within the footprint of the existing buildings. “That will retain approximately 50% of the site as open space, a sort of ‘green belt’ around the transit village,” Frieder says.

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