LINDEN, NJ-Duke Realty has made its first move into New Jersey a big one, buying the shuttered General Motors assembly plant here. The property consists of 102 acres, containing a sprawling 2.9-million-sf plant. The seller was General Motors; the sale price was not released.

GM had been looking to sell the plant since it was closed for good in early 2005 as part of a general restructuring by the auto giant aimed at cutting 25,000 jobs worldwide. The sale was brokered for the automaker by a CB Richard Ellis team that included senior managing director Tom Tucci, SVPs Mindy Lissner and Bill Waxman and VP Art Weiss, in addition to CBRE’s global corporate services. The Indianapolis-based Duke Realty, which declined to comment on the acquisition, was represented in-house.

“Duke bought this facility for its prime location and development potential,” Lissner says. “The firm is planning to redevelop this historical site as a mixed-use development and is currently planning the development with the City of Linden to maximize its potential as an economic asset to the city. Interest from developers came quickly, and Duke was aggressive on the purchase.”

Those plans remain to be seen. Asked what they might entail, a Duke Realty spokesman tells, “I am not in a position to speak about the development in New Jersey at this time. However, I may be able to give you insights [later] this week.”

As far as the site’s history, it dates back to 1935 when the initial phase of GM’s plant was built. Over the years, the plant produced some of the automaker’s top models, including Buicks, Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Chevys and GMCs. During World War II, the facility was re-tooled to produce Grumman Wildcat fighter planes for the US Navy and Britain’s Royal Air Force, before resuming auto production in 1946.

The site stretches along Routes 1 and 9, directly across from the Linden Airport. Much of the latter’s original site has been redeveloped and is occupied by a retail property called Aviation Plaza.