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ELIZABETH, NJ-Partners AMB Property Corp. and the locally based Portview Properties LLC have completed first-phase construction at their AMB Portview Commerce Center here. The 144,000-sf building is the first of three that will build out to a total of 358,000 sf of industrial.

AMB Portview Commerce Center is rising on 19 acres along Dowd Avenue with access to this city’s port facilities. The subsequent phase includes W/D buildings of 152,000 sf and 62,000 sf. The site once housed a number of vacant industrial buildings, and is located within an urban enterprise zone.

“My father had the foresight to buy property in this area,” says Anne Evans Estabrook, president of Portview Properties, whose family has held the property for more than 50 years. “He bought the property when Newark Airport was a small local facility and there were no seaport containers docking here.”

“Port Elizabeth is an essential part of New Jersey’s overall economy,” says Bo Farkas, San Francisco-based AMB’s VP-development for the East Region, based in East Rutherford. “We’re thankful for the tremendous support we’ve received from the entire community. We look forward to making continued contributions to the local economy.

“This facility will serve as a model of environmentally sustainable development, which is important to its future tenants and the entire state,” Farkas says. Among those sustainable features are precast panels for insulation, clerestory windows that incorporate natural light above the dock staging bay, and white thermoplastic polyolefin membrane roofing to reduce heat gain. The building and subsequent phases have been designed by KSS Architects of Princeton.

And while the project is being developed on spec, Building I already has a partial tenant: Chicago-based industrial supply company WW Grainger Inc. has signed on for a 25,000-sf block in the initial building. Tom Monahan, SVP of Colliers Houston & Co., Teaneck, is the exclusive leasing agent, and the space is currently listed with an asking price as “negotiable.”

AMB and Portview say they will begin construction for the two-building second phase in Q1 2009, with an anticipated completion in Q4 of the same year.

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