The Lakewood Industrial Park in Lakewood
By Joshua Burd
Construction is underway on three new warehouse and distribution buildings in Lakewood, the latest additions to a sprawling, master-planned industrial park that goes back decades.
The buildings, which are being developed by The Sudler Cos., include a 74,000-square-foot property at 1719 Oak St., in what will be the largest among the new projects. The other two include a 40,000-square-foot building at 825 Towbin Ave. and a 31,200-square-foot project at 1220 Paco Way off Route 70 and the Garden State Parkway.
Sudler is the largest property owner within the complex. When complete, the projects will join the Lakewood Industrial Park, which is the state’s second-largest industrial park and spans more than 2,000 acres.
Public officials on Monday hailed the new construction as an example of how a professionally planned and managed, large-scale commercial hub can serve as an economic engine and drive investment into a township without taxing the school system. The Lakewood Industrial Park, which is overseen by the Lakewood Industrial Commission, dates back to the 1960s and is now home to a diverse roster of companies.
Those include e-commerce tenants, service providers and technology companies, including many that are coming to Lakewood and Ocean County from outside the area.
“Companies are attracted to Lakewood because rental rates are half the cost found at facilities closer to New York City,” Ocean County Freeholder Joseph Vicari said. “As an example, we have brought research companies into the park that create high-paying jobs for our highly motivated and educated workforce.”
County officials also touted the fiscal impact of the Lakewood Industrial Park and its impact on the Ocean County labor market. The park generates substantial property tax revenue for the township, but is also tied to more than 10,000 local jobs and $2 billion in business each year.
They also noted that the complex provides key funding for public projects and services to keep pace with what is New Jersey’s fastest-growing municipality, while helping offset the many tax-exempt properties in Lakewood.
“There’s no question the Lakewood Industrial Park has played a pivotal role in growth of the township since it first debuted nearly six decades ago and its value to local government and residents can’t be overstated,” said Peter Sudler, CEO and president of Sudler, which is based in Chatham. “First and foremost, as the township’s largest commercial tax contributor, it’s been an economic powerhouse that’s enabled Lakewood to fund and invest in municipal programs and improvements to support an expanding population — all with minimal burden on local homeowners.
“Maintaining the integrity of the park as a commercial center is vital to continuing to drive growth in this community moving forward.”
Vicari added that 60 percent of Ocean County residents currently travel outside Ocean County for work, but that public officials now hope to attract more business entities to the region so that more people can work closer to home. The Lakewood Industrial Park will likely help that effort as its tenant base continues to evolve.
“As the region’s economic engine moved from manufacturing to e-commerce, the Lakewood Industrial Park has become a magnet for the ‘last mile’ e-commerce centers for online retailers,” said Glen Jaffe, a real estate agent with Sheldon Gross Realty. “In addition, we have had an influx of technology companies and other commercial entities.”