Crow Holdings Pockets $164M for Central New Jersey Warehouse

The sale of a new 925,000-square-foot facility in Franklin Township marks one of the nation’s largest single-asset industrial trades during the pandemic.

50 Veronica Ave. Image courtesy of Crow Holdings Industrial

Crow Holdings, through its logistics platform Crow Holdings Industrial, has sold the newly completed warehouse at 50 Veronica Ave., in Franklin Township, N.J., in what industry observers are calling one of the largest single-asset industrial trades since the March 2020 onslaught of the COVID-19-induced economic turmoil in the U.S. BentallGreenOak purchased the fully leased, 925,000-square-foot facility for $164 million, on behalf of an institutional investor.

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The sale of 50 Veronica comes roughly 18 months after CHI and partner The Carlyle Group acquired the 99-acre development site for the speculative project from 2020 Acquisitions for $2.1 million, according to New Jersey property records. In December 2019, with construction underway, CHI and Carlyle announced that LG Electronics USA had signed a seven-year lease to occupy the property in its entirety. Cushman & Wakefield’s Gary Gabriel, Andrew Merin and Kyle Schmidt began marketing the state-of-the-art facility for sale on the partners’ behalf in advance of the virus outbreak in the U.S., but it appeared timing was not initially on the team’s side.

“By mid-March, when the markets and country were thrown into turmoil, we had not yet closed and virtually every commercial real estate transaction was put on pause, including this one,” Clark Machemer, senior managing director with Crow Holdings Industrial, told Commercial Property Executive. “That said, demand for industrial space remained strong and given the core nature of the asset, we knew that this building would be in demand from investors.” The overall industrial vacancy rate in New Jersey was a low 3 percent in the first quarter of 2020, according to a Cushman & Wakefield report, and leasing activity totaled 5.1 million square feet. “As the market bounced back, we re-entered negotiations and ultimately closed the deal with BGO,” he added. “I think the strong valuation really underscores that—at least in industrial—there is still an incredible amount of investor demand.”

New territory

The 50 Veronica project marked CHI’s development debut in the Northeast market, and the company is keen on expanding its footprint in the area in short order. “We currently have a number of other properties at various stages of acquisition and development, and we continue to seek out well-located sites in strong industrial markets to add to that pipeline,” Machemer said. Over the next nine months, CHI plans to initiate construction on projects that will yield an aggregate 1.5 million square feet of industrial offerings in the region.

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