Russo Development and Onyx Equities have acquired 62 acres at the Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. headquarters campus in East Hanover and are now planning to redevelop the site as a two-building, 826,800-square-foot industrial campus. — Courtesy: Russo/Onyx
By Joshua Burd
Russo Development and Onyx Equities have acquired 62 acres at the well-known Novartis campus in East Hanover, with plans to build more than 800,000 square feet of new industrial space in place of what’s now a cluster of vacant office buildings.
Located at Route 10 and Ridgedale Avenue, the parcel represents nearly a third of the pharmaceutical giant’s U.S. headquarters property. Its new owners are now moving ahead with a redevelopment that will produce two modern distribution center buildings comprising between 300,000 and 500,000 square feet, with site work set to begin early next year.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
“We are excited to redevelop a portion of one of northern New Jersey’s premier sites into a first-class industrial project,” said Edward Russo, CEO of Russo Development. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with East Hanover Township and Novartis as the company transforms its East Hanover campus to a more flexible and collaborative workplace design.”
Russo and Onyx announced the deal Monday, touting it as one of the largest new industrial projects in Morris County. And it comes amid the seemingly insatiable demand for high-end warehouse and logistics space in New Jersey, which has fueled the growth of lesser-known submarkets around Interstate 80 and Route 46.
As part of the project, the developers plan to eliminate 900,000 square feet of vacant office space. They expect to break ground by year-end on what will ultimately be 826,800 square feet of industrial space.
“This project reflects Onyx’s strong track record of repositioning large corporate campuses and growing industrial pipeline, and will bring new jobs, businesses and commerce to East Hanover,” said John Saraceno Jr., an Onyx co-founder and managing principal. “Morris County is a jewel for commercial uses of all types because of its extensive highway system and pool of highly qualified, skilled labor.”
Russo and Onyx, who are among the state’s most active developers, are also partnering on a mixed-use project in Woodbridge that will bring 500 apartments and 23,000 square feet of retail space to Woodbridge. The joint venture purchased the 26-acre site from Hess Corp. last year, moving ahead with a long-awaited plan to redevelop 26 acres around the oil company’s landmark former office tower in the township.