An aerial drawing of the proposed 150,000-square-foot industrial building at 2 Corporate Place South in Piscataway — Courtesy: Sudler Cos./Menlo Engineering Associates
By Joshua Burd
After tearing down a large, aging office building to make way for two new distribution centers in Cranbury, the Sudler Cos. is looking to replicate that formula elsewhere in its portfolio.
Next up is a property in Piscataway, where demand for industrial space is on the rise.
Sudler began demolition late last year at 2 Corporate Place South, a 132,000-squre-foot office building off Interstate 287. In its place will be a new 150,000-square-foot industrial facility that is already preleased to Colart, an international supplier of art materials.
“The building really has lost its utility,” said Peter Sudler, CEO and president of Chatham-based Sudler Cos. “There’s no market there for that kind of thing, so what we decided to do was make it a warehouse and distribution center.”
Sudler, who represents the firm’s third’s generation of leadership, said his team originally considered a retrofit that would involve raising the roof. But they determined that would cost around 20 to 30 percent more than “simply doing a scrape and building something new.”
He also pointed to other construction and engineering challenges that would have to be addressed as part of a retrofit. Instead, starting from the ground up will result in a facility with 38-foot clear ceiling heights, proper column spacing and modern doors and building systems.
“It’s going to be done right. It’s going to be a state-of-the-art, Class A distribution center and I’m not going to have to finagle my way through all kinds of nonsense to make this thing usable,” Sudler said. “It’s a much better way of doing it.”
The project comes as interest continues to rise in Piscataway and other stretches along Interstate 287, as developers and tenants seek new opportunities off the New Jersey Turnpike. Late last year, Best Buy committed to 725,000 square feet within a 2.2 million-square-foot industrial park being developed by Rockefeller Group.
Sudler’s new facility for Colart will include warehouse, distribution and office space, he said. He expects his firm to deliver the project around year-end.
In the meantime, it’s hoping to reap the benefits of a similar approach in Cranbury. The developer has razed a 500,000-square-foot, 25-year-old office complex near the New Jersey Turnpike and is preparing to deliver two new warehouses in its place.
There is now “very, very good activity” at the two buildings, which measure around 416,000 square feet and 341,000 square feet, Sudler said. It’s further proof to the developer that his father was right when he advised him, “Don’t fight the market, because you will lose.”
“As much as it killed me to have to take down a 500,000-square-foot office building in Cranbury, I’m really glad I did it,” Sudler said. “I would do it again.”