A rendering of a building at the Kingsland Meadowlands project in Lyndhurst, Rutherford and North Arlington — Courtesy: Russo Development and Forsgate Industrial Partners
By Joshua Burd
Two of New Jersey’s best-known multigenerational development firms have broken ground on a long-awaited project in the heart of the Meadowlands, one that will bring more than 3 million square feet of high-end industrial space to a site that is five miles from the Lincoln Tunnel.
Russo Development and Forsgate Industrial Partners on Wednesday joined public officials and others to mark the start of the Kingsland Meadowlands project, which aims to revitalize a 718-acre former landfill site spanning Lyndhurst, Rutherford and North Arlington. Plans call for up to six buildings, including a single building with more than 1.2 million square feet, in a submarket that is nearly fully occupied and dominated by older, smaller industrial properties.
Forsgate and Russo, which have tapped JLL’s Robert Kossar, David Knee, Leslie Lanne and Chris Hile as their leasing team, expect to deliver the first building in late 2021. The initial phase will offer 1.28 million square feet in two buildings with more than 1,400 trailer positions and 800 car parking spaces available.
The partners touted the ability for tenants to reach more than 10 million people that live within 15 miles of the site, given its location at the nexus of Route 3 and the New Jersey Turnpike.
“Kingsland Meadowlands will bring a truly unique product offering to the market at a time when demand has been aggressively outpacing supply,” said Ed Russo, CEO of Russo Development. “Many governmental agencies were involved in the approval process and we want to especially thank Lyndhurst, North Arlington, Rutherford and the NJSEA for their collaborative efforts in helping to unlock the potential for this property.”
Both Russo and Forsgate, which are based in Carlstadt and Teterboro, respectively, are multigenerational developers that have been active in the Meadowlands for decades. The firms positioned themselves to develop the Kingsland site in June 2015, winning a competitive bidding process that gave way to four years of entitlements, engineering and master planning in conjunction with the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.
The long-blighted site was once slated for the now-infamous EnCap project, a golf and residential development that collapsed in 2008 under a prior builder. The NJSEA’s predecessor, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, subsequently completed a portion of an environmental cleanup program and offered the site for sale.
With experienced, local developers at the helm, the project will offer modern distribution and logistics space at a scale that is increasingly rare in New Jersey and all but absent in the Meadowlands.
“Forsgate Industrial Partners has been developing facilities in the region for over 50 years, and we look forward to continuing our tradition of delivering the highest-quality product for local businesses,” said Alex Klatskin, general partner for Forsgate Industrial Partners. “We are proud to be part of the economic and environmental revitalization of such an important site in the Meadowlands.”
Wednesday’s event drew a host of public officials and business leaders, including Meadowlands Chamber CEO Jim Kirkos. As a longtime Lyndhurst resident, he said he knows all too well the importance of bringing a new purpose to the Kingsland site and to southern Bergen County, especially for a site that had seen other developers fail.
That history and the scale of the project make the Kingsland redevelopment more impactful than many others in the region.
“It’s bigger because we’re going to transform everything that you see behind me and we’re going to put the black eye of what the previous projects had behind us,” Kirkos said. “So in essence, to the Klatskins and the Russo family and the Forsgate and the Russo teams, this means a new day, a new chapter. It’s a look forward to what can be accomplished.”