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OLDMANS TWP., NJ-Matrix Development has completed the sale of 21 acres within its Gateway Business Park here, paving the way for construction of a 275,000-sf distribution facility by Garden State Freezers Inc. The project will kick off with construction of a 110,000-sf office and cold distribution storage facility, which will be followed at an unspecified date by a second phase of 165,000 sf of cold storage space.

Garden State Freezers, currently based in Mullica Hill and part of the Mullica Group, is one of the largest importers in the US of Australian beef. Details of the land sale by the Cranbury-based Matrix were not released.

The deal with Garden State Freezers is the second concluded by Matrix within Gateway Business Park, a 284-acre Salem County property cleared for 3.5 million sf of build-to-suit space. As reported by GlobeSt.com, Matrix last year signed family-owned glassmaker JE Berkowitz Inc. to a deal for a 200,000-sf building, a project involving relocation by the tenant.

“Gateway continues to attract interest,” says Alexander B. Taylor of Matrix. “It has accommodated the companies’ requirements for a location in proximity to the Philadelphia and Delaware ports and highway access to the East Coast distribution network. It is also an example of a successful public/private partnership at work.”

The site was assembled with the help of the 2006 merger of the Salem County Improvement Authority and the Salem County Economic Development Department. In that merger, the county board of freeholders transferred 143 acres of land that would become part of Gateway Business Park to the Improvement Authority because state statutes bar the county from selling property directly to a third party without an auction. The county, however, is permitted to convey property to an Improvement Authority for no consideration.

“Gateway was a concept for so many years, and it’s becoming a reality,” says Salem County freeholder Beth Timberman. “We are aggressively going after businesses that will provide ratables and jobs,” she says, noting that the JE Berkowitz move has already brought some 250 jobs to the site.

The park is located at Exit 7 of I-295, not far from the New Jersey Turnpike. All site improvements and utilities are in place for the next round of build-to-suits, according to Taylor.

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