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

EASTON, PA-First Industrial Development has acquired 59 acres on Routes 248 and 33 at 3857 Easton Nazareth Highway. The parcel is across from an approximately two-million-sf industrial/distribution park that is being developed by Denver-based ProLogis and is further indication of continuing strong demand for warehouse/distribution facilities throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Richard Astheimer, SVP of development for Chicago-based First Industrial Realty Trust in the company’s Exton office, tells GlobeSt.com, “We plan to develop up to 700,000 sf of distribution space.” There are also two pads, aggregating approximately 10 acres, which Astheimer says, “We plan to sell to a retail user or retail developer.”

A spokesman in First Industrial’s headquarters tells GlobeSt.com the building is speculative construction. The company expects to break ground during the second half of this year and be ready for occupancy in spring 2008.

First Industrial paid JG Petrucci Co. $13 million, or $220,339 an acre, for the land. Costas Hrousis of Sperry Van Ness/Imperial Realty in Allentown represented First Industrial in the sales transaction. Petrucci, which has offices in Bethlehem and Asbury, NJ, represented itself.

Hrousis tells GlobeSt.com the price is the highest to date for industrial land in the Route 33 corridor. “However, it is in line with industrial land in the Lehigh Valley market, which keeps going up,” he adds. Rent rates are not final, but a broker familiar with distribution space here tells GlobeSt.com that current rates are in the $5-per-sf range.

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