An aerial view of the future Kingsland Meadowlands site, a more than 3 million-square-foot industrial complex in Bergen County — Courtesy: Russo Development/Forsgate Industrial Partners
By Joshua Burd
Russo Development and Forsgate Industrial Partners have completed their purchase of a 718-acre tract in Bergen County, paving the way for more than 3 million square feet of new high-end industrial space in the heart of the Meadowlands.
The joint venture announced Friday that it has closed on the long-awaited, $42.5 million acquisition of the former Kingsland landfill site, which spans the municipalities of Lyndhurst, Rutherford and North Arlington. The developers are now poised to construct up to six buildings as part of a modern warehouse and distribution complex near Route 3 and the New Jersey Turnpike, with the first building slated for delivery in late 2021.
Tom Sullivan and Nicholas Nitti of CBRE represented the seller, the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, in marketing the property and the final transaction.
“The Meadowlands submarket is one of the strongest industrial/warehouse markets in the United States,” said Edward Russo, CEO of Russo Development, “and the opportunity to build this project in such an outstanding location is a great accomplishment for not only our companies, but for the region that we have helped develop over the course of more than 100 years of combined history.”
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.
Their so-called Kingsland Meadowlands project would add significant supply to one of the state’s tightest submarkets, tapping into a road network that serves 20.3 million people within 60 miles and a skilled labor force of more than 1.3 million. Demand from e-commerce and logistics remains robust, especially in a submarket that is eight miles from New York City.
“Kingsland Meadowlands is not only an opportunity to create a new standard for logistics e-commerce users in the world’s premier economic region, it is the long-awaited result of decades of effort to reclaim the usefulness of a great piece of property,” said Alex Klatskin, general partner of Forsgate Industrial Partners.
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.
“The sale of the Kingsland Tract is the culmination of many years of complex work by the NJSEA staff, the municipalities and the developers,” said Vincent Prieto, CEO and president. “We look forward to a new generation of contributions to the Meadowlands Community from this esteemed property.”
Local business leaders hailed the milestone and the prospect of a new life for the site.
“We are very grateful that two of the most formative developers in our region, Russo Development and Forsgate Industrial Partners, were given the opportunity to reinvent this critically important piece of property,” said Jim Kirkos, president of the Meadowlands Chamber. “The Kingsland Meadowlands plan is consistent with the business culture of the region and will be a welcome addition to a market hungry for logistics capacity.
“The golf course resort previously envisioned for this site could never have created the economic activity and career opportunities appropriate for the Meadowlands’ highly skilled employment pool.”
Lyndhurst Mayor Giangeruso added: “Today, the Kingsland Tract has transformed from being a disappointment and a burden into being a point of pride and a critical financial resource for our community. Russo and Forsgate have been great collaborators in envisioning a new source of economic activity.”