Crow Holdings Development is building a new 206,826-square-foot logistics facility on a portion of the Marcal Paper site on Market Street in Elmwood Park. — Courtesy: Crow Holdings/Marcal
By Joshua Burd
More than 200,000 square feet of new industrial space is coming to the Marcal Paper complex in Elmwood Park, helping revive part of a site that was mostly leveled by an infamous 2019 fire.
Crow Holdings Development, which will build the facility, joined the iconic paper manufacturer on Tuesday to announce the project on Market Street and just north of Interstate 80. The developer is planning a summer groundbreaking for the 206,826-square-foot building after acquiring the 11.87-acre site from Marcal, having secured site plan approval from the borough.
The companies also noted that an affiliate of Atlas Holdings, Marcal’s majority shareholder, will invest in the project alongside Crow Holdings.
“Marcal is thrilled that Crow Holdings Development will be transforming this parcel of land into a new gem for our borough, our county and our state,” said Rob Baron, CEO and president of Marcal Paper. “The property to be revitalized sits vacant today, and thus is not benefitting Elmwood Park or Bergen County in any way. Via this partnership with the borough and Crow Holdings Development, we have taken the necessary step to change that.”
The project will bring new economic activity to the Marcal property, which famously overlooked I-80 for decades before a massive, devastating fire in January 2019. The blaze damaged or destroyed 30 of the property’s 36 structures and its distinctive red sign, while resulting in the loss of about 500 jobs at the time before Marcal resumed operations a year later.
For Crow Holdings, it’s the latest piece of a growing development pipeline in the region. The company is also set to break ground on some 1.2 million square feet of logistics space in Carteret and has started construction on another sprawling complex in Millstone Township, having also built a 925,000-square-foot property in Franklin Township, which it leased to LG Electronics USA and then sold in 2020 for $164 million.
The firm has tapped JLL’s Rob Kossar, David Knee, Chris Hile, Ignatius Armenia and Ryan Milanaik to lease the Elmwood Park building, which it says has incorporated significant design input from the borough.
“Crow Holdings Development is rooted in the spirit of partnership, and we have been proud to work closely with Marcal, the community and so many stakeholders to help redevelop this iconic site,” said Clark Machemer, Crow Holdings’ senior managing director for the Northeast region. “We recognize and appreciate the history of this site, and we look forward to bringing new economic activity to such a highly visible, prime location.”
In a news release, the developer said the construction phase of the project is slated to generate a $34 million economic impact for Bergen County and a $38 million impact for the state, along with 140 direct temporary jobs. Ongoing operations of the facility after construction is expected to produce an estimated $28 million annually in economic impact in New Jersey and support 240 full-time equivalent jobs, in addition to $630,000 in new property taxes to the borough of Elmwood Park, its school district and Bergen County.
“The planned development for the unused Marcal parcel should be a win across the board,” U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. said. “The greater Elmwood Park community could see economic growth, the protection of existing jobs and the creation of new jobs. We were all shaken by the tragic fire at Marcal and the fact that the company has been able to reopen at all is so welcomed. I am pleased to have engaged closely with the borough, Marcal and our neighbors and workers to make sure that we delivered another positive result for our entire community.”
The Crow Holdings development will bring new space to one of the country’s tightest industrial markets, with a location just off Exit 61 of I-80. Developers in recent years have increasingly scoured the east-west highway for buildable sites, seeking alternatives to the traditional but land-constrained submarkets around the New Jersey Turnpike.
“The Marcal property has been a fixture in our community for nearly a century, home to an iconic business that has created careers for thousands and economic impact that is widely felt,” Elmwood Park Mayor Robert Colletti said. “They’ve come through a lot, and we’ve been pleased to partner with them. This new project is the next chapter in that partnership, allowing a part of their site destroyed by the fire in 2019 to be reimagined and redeveloped in a way that will benefit Elmwood Park in significant ways. We thank the company for seeking our input and making sure it was part of the plan for this exciting project.”