Bridge Development Partners joined its project team and local officials on Wednesday, Oct. 10, to host a groundbreaking for Bridge Point 78, a planned 4 million-square-foot logistics park spanning Phillipsburg and Lopatcong. — Courtesy: Bridge Development Partners
By Joshua Burd
Bridge Development Partners has broken ground on its largest project in New Jersey to date — a 4 million-square-foot logistics park spanning Phillipsburg and Lopatcong along Route 22.
The speculative project, which is minutes from Interstate 78, is years in the making at a sprawling former Ingersoll Rand manufacturing complex that local officials have long sought to redevelop. At full build-out, the 381-acre complex is expected to have seven buildings, including two that will each be around 1 million square feet.
“Today’s groundbreaking marks a true turning point for this site,” said Jeff Milanaik, partner for Bridge’s Northeast region. “The departure of Ingersoll Rand’s manufacturing operations from this site decades ago left a void in jobs and revenue in the region that has been felt by all. Fortunately, the leadership of Phillipsburg and Lopatcong recognize the importance of redeveloping this property to realize its full potential and have been instrumental in supporting its revitalization.”
“As a result of that leadership and vision, the site is now on its way to once again becoming a beehive of industry for the region.”
With the new logistics park, Bridge will look to tap into the demand for high-end industrial space along major corridors, providing an option for tenants that have increasingly explored the Lehigh Valley as a way to serve the greater New York City area. At the site known known as Bridge Point 78, the developer can offer the added benefit of not having to pay a toll to cross the Delaware River.
The CBRE leasing team led by William Waxman, Mindy Lissner and Steven Beyda in New Jersey, along with Vincent Ranalli, Joe McDermott and Jake Terkanian in Pennsylvania, is marketing the property. They were among those on hand Wednesday as the project team joined a crowd of local officials and supporters for a groundbreaking ceremony.
“We stand here today at a turning point for both the Town of Phillipsburg and Lopatcong Township,” Phillipsburg Mayor Stephen Ellis said. “We are at the start of a rebirth of the economic vitality of our towns. Coming are construction jobs for our residents. Coming are permanent jobs in warehousing and transportation of goods. Coming is remediation of environmental problems on the site.
“Coming are ratables that make our town more affordable for residents.”
Bridge, which is based in Chicago, has developed more than 3.5 million square feet of industrial space since entering the market in 2014. The firm has focused on redeveloping sites with environmental or engineering challenges that come with high barriers but will result in so-called last-mile, infill locations that are minutes from large population centers.
The Ingersoll Rand site certainly fits that mold, but came with other challenges from two municipalities that have seen the plans of other developers fall through. When he first met with the mayors and councils of the two communities, Milanaik said, “one might say I was met with a healthy bit of skepticism.”
“Many promises for the site have been given and many false hopes were created,” he said. “I explained that Bridge was different, that we had a successful track record of redeveloping sites, that we would commit to build the project on speculation.
“But most important of all, we got it,” Milanaik said, noting that he and partner John Porcek are born and raised in New Jersey.
He also said he expects the complex to create thousands of jobs in the region through construction and logistics operations at its buildings, filling a void that was left after the departure of Ingersoll Rand nearly 20 years ago. Before its closure, the plant produced steam condensers, rock compressors and nuclear submarine pumps during both World Wars, serving as an economic hub for Warren County and the surrounding region.
PREMIER Design + Build Group LLC is serving as the general contractor for Bridge Point 78, the first phase of which will encompass four buildings. Upon completion, the site will also feature two large retention ponds, a dam for storm water, and multiple bio-retention basins.
“I am very excited to have this project get started and am hoping that it will be the start of a revitalization — not only for Lopatcong, but for the entire surrounding region,” Lopatcong Mayor James Mengucci said. “The team at Bridge has been great to work with, and I am looking forward to continuing a great working relationship with them.”