A developer recently purchased a 35-year-old, 209,000-square-foot office building at 200 Cottontail Lane in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, where it now plans to build a modern warehouse and distribution center. It’s one of many adaptive reuse projects in the works in the township, past of a fast-growing industrial submarket, which has a location off Interstate 287 and an abundance of obsolete office buildings that are ripe for redevelopment.
To say that this month’s cover story is near and dear to me is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it’s also true. After all, I did spend five years working on the vast stretch of sprawling, landscaped office parks that is Davidson Avenue in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, which plays a prominent role in our February issue. As many of you know, the area is part of a 500-acre corporate business district along Interstate 287 that, in recent years, has grappled with millions of square feet of outdated and mostly vacant office space. Township officials are now meeting that challenge head-on, thanks in large part to a zoning change in late 2020 that paved the way for developers to repurpose those sites as industrial space.
As you’ll read, those steps are now bearing fruit for Franklin Township, which has more than 4 million square feet of warehouse space in its development pipeline. Most of that is in the town’s well-known Somerset section off I-287, which has drawn a fast-growing list of developers from Brookfield and Link Logistics to EverWest Real Estate Investors and Woodmont Properties.
Our February issue also highlights another Somerset County community, Bound Brook, where a massive, devastating fire in early 2020 caused an estimated $52 million in losses. Among the casualties was a partially complete, 64-unit apartment building that has since been reconstructed, as borough officials return their focus to reviving the downtown. All told, Bound Brook has added more than 500 luxury apartments over the past seven years after the completion of a long-awaited flood mitigation project. Officials say at least another 500 units are in development, while efforts are underway to lure quality commercial tenants downtown and create more recreational green space along the Raritan River.
Elsewhere in this issue, we take you inside the newest addition to Avison Young’s team in the region. The real estate services firm announced in January that it has acquired Studio Eagle, the Springfield-based design and workplace planning practice, marking a major expansion of its New Jersey project management team and another key step toward creating an all-important, all-inclusive platform for its clients. The team of more than 30 will now serve as AY’s New Jersey Project Management Studio Services unit, which will continue to work closely with corporate users and their top-level executives, providing a service that will be critical as companies weigh the future of their workplace after two years of operating remotely.
You can find those stories and more in our February issue, which comes to you after a busy start to 2022. The state’s commercial real estate market seemingly picked up right where it left off in 2021, with robust activity on multiple fronts, in spite of the ongoing setbacks from COVID-19. We will have it all covered each month in these pages and in The Briefing, our must-read daily email blast. In the meantime, please reach out with your feedback, questions and story ideas.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the issue!