Forsgate Industrial Partners recently agreed to a full-building lease at 400 Huyler St., a new 125,500-square-foot industrial development in South Hackensack, with Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and Northern NJ Inc. – Courtesy: Cushman & Wakefield
By Steve Lubetkin
Even in the extraordinarily tight industrial market in northern New Jersey, a century-old nonprofit with a good brand and a long-term lease plan can still acquire new warehouse space.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt when the nonprofit sees e-commerce as a vital part of its future.
The well-known organization, Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and Northern NJ Inc., is slated to open a new state-of-the-art operations center in South Hackensack after recently signing a full-building, 125,500-square-foot lease at 400 Huyler St. The facility will occupy a new single-story warehouse developed by Forsgate Industrial Partners, housing a large Goodwill Outlet store and accommodating the nonprofit’s growing e-commerce division.
To that end, it should come as no surprise that Goodwill was drawn to the building’s modern features, including 40-foot clear ceiling heights and mezzanine office space, along with a highly visible location along Interstate 80. For Forsgate, a multigenerational developer and owner, the organization checked plenty of boxes of its own.
“They’re a viable business, they’re providing a service, they needed a home,” said Andrew L. Moss, director of leasing for Forsgate. “They came along with a reasonable offer, and we wound up making a deal.”
Equally important to the transaction were Goodwill’s longevity and reputation.
“Their credit and long history spoke well for them,” Moss said. “They’ve been in business for over 100 years. We like tenants that have been in business for a long time.”
Brokers with Cushman & Wakefield announced in early December that Goodwill NYNJ had committed to the speculatively built property, which sits on six acres just south of I-80. The real estate services firm represented the nonprofit in its site search and negotiation, noting that its client “needed a special building” with features such as proximity to New York, highway visibility and the right mix of warehouse and office space.
Goodwill NYNJ will now look to consolidate multiple locations in older, inefficient multistory facilities that were costing too much to operate, according to C&W’s Chuck Fern. Slated to open in spring 2020, the South Hackensack location will now serve as the organization’s main northern New Jersey operations facility, where it will sort goods for recycling and accept donations of clothing and household goods.
The building also will serve as a hub for Goodwill’s e-commerce division, which represents a growing business for an institution long known for its thrift stores. For one thing, the organization has an active auction website at shopgoodwill.com, where used items are sold by Goodwill affiliates nationwide, along with other digital platforms.
The nonprofit has taken other steps in recent years to boost its online sales, including a partnership with the mobile marketplace app OfferUp, which allows Goodwill stores to list their inventory for millions of online shoppers. As of June, when the two businesses announced the partnership, New York and New Jersey stores were among more than 100 Goodwill locations that were slated to participate by uploading gently used items such as furniture, clothing and collectibles.
“We compete with The RealReal every day and have been looking at different avenues to make consumers aware,” Joseph Jarroush, Goodwill’s vice president of retail operations in New York and New Jersey, told the trade publication The Business of Fashion. “The partnership with OfferUP will give our listings a national audience.”
The story on businessoffashion.com also noted that Goodwill posts products on eBay, among other outlets. But Jarroush expected that the partnership with Seattle-based OfferUp would help grow its pool of customers, especially among millennials.
“The RealReal and Poshmark have come out of the gates hot, but we’ve been around for 100 years,” Jarroush said, referring to two of the largest players in online resale. “Plus, as other companies grab a piece of the pie, the pie only gets bigger for us.”
The new South Hackensack location will serve another purpose — housing a Goodwill Outlet Store that sells goods by the pound. That makes the site’s visibility and location all the more important, Fern said, noting that the deal with Forsgate also includes naming rights for the building that will provide additional exposure from the highway.
As could be expected in a market that has 3.2 percent vacancy, the building had interest from several prospective tenants.
“They (Forsgate) built this building on spec and the industrial market is very, very strong. Generally, when you build it, people will come,” said Fern, a vice chairman with Cushman, who represented Goodwill alongside Thomas D. Tucci, Jason Barton, Stephen Shoemaker, Thomas E. Tucci and Elizabeth Rouse. “There’s a million companies that are looking for these kinds of facilities in that location near New York City, near the port.”
Ultimately, though, Fern said Forsgate was impressed by the lease term Goodwill was seeking. The nonprofit expects to occupy the facility for 15 to 20 years, he said.
“Once they get set up, they’re not looking to move again,” he said.
For the record
Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and Northern NJ Inc., a 501(c)(3), operates 34 retail stores and 46 programs throughout the New York City metropolitan region, supported by donations of clothing and household items. The organization translates those donations into employment services for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment.
Nearly a million individual donations received by Goodwill NYNJ in 2018 funded coaching, placement and retention services for 30,000 people. As a result of that work, Goodwill NYNJ helped 2,351 people, including 843 individuals with disabilities, get work outside its stores at hospitals, tech firms and public agencies.