C&W to Market Liberty Property Trust's 1.2MSF Industrial Project
8 Feb, 2012, Bethlehem, Penn.
Liberty Property Trust has named commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, Inc. as exclusive leasing agent for a 1.2 million-square-foot, $62 million speculative industrial property now under construction in Bethlehem. The project, part of Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII, is transforming one of the nation's largest brownfield sites into sustainable, Class A distribution product; it is one of the most significant industrial projects in Pennsylvania and one of the largest currently underway in the United States.
Stephen Cooper and Jeffrey Williams of Cushman & Wakefield's industrial brokerage practice based in Conshohocken, Pa., are heading the assignment.
Catered to big-box users, the building will feature 32-foot clear ceilings; a 200-foot-deep truck court; 9-foot by 10-foot, dock-high overhead doors; and direct rail access. It has been designed to meet LEED Core & Shell and Energy Star certifications. The project sits on a 110-acre, former Bethlehem Steel land site at 2785 Commerce Center Blvd.- at the junction of Route 412 and just minutes from I-78. Tenants will benefit from operating within a LERTA (Local Economic Tax Assistance) Zone and a Foreign Trade Zone.
According to Cooper, Lehigh Valley market fundamentals have primed the region for speculative development. Within this context, 2785 Commerce Center Blvd. holds strong competitive advantage.
"Corporations continue to focus on lowering expenses and increasing profits by consolidating distribution networks into super-regional centers," he said. "Over the past three years, this has led to the absorption of Eastern Pennsylvania?s large industrial facilities. Today, the Lehigh Valley industrial vacancy rate is just 7.6% percent, with literally no big-box buildings available in the immediate market. The timing for this project is perfect. Additionally, it is being led by one of the state's most successful and reputable landlords, which ensures that it will provide only the highest-quality accommodations."
Liberty Property Trust, based in Malvern, Pa., has been involved in the Lehigh Valley market for 32 years. Today, the $5.9 billion real estate investment trust owns approximately 16 million square feet of industrial space in the region, with an occupancy rate of 99.4 percent.
"We have been doing this for a long time, and I can say with confidence that 2785 Commerce Center Boulevard is one of the best industrial development sites in the country - in terms of transportation infrastructure, size and flexibility, labor supply, and tax advantages," said Liberty Property Trust's Bob Kiel, senior vice president. "It really has everything you could want in an industrial property, including the support of a pro-development local government in the City of Bethlehem. Despite continued limited speculative development nationwide, we have no doubt that the investment here is timely and prudent."
Kiel noted that the selection of Cushman & Wakefield as leasing agent for the property was a logical choice for this flagship development. "Steve Cooper and his team have an outstanding reputation for taking care of clients and the people they do business with," he said. "On a larger scale, I have a great deal of respect for the leadership within Cushman & Wakefield's national industrial brokerage practice."
Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.'s industrial brokerage platform provides global resources and local expertise for tenant and landlord representation, disposition and acquisition services, transaction management, and industrial consulting including labor and demographic analysis. In 2010, this group completed more than 4,800 industrial real estate transactions - totaling 141.6 million square feet in leases and 52.9 million square feet in sales - with an aggregate value of nearly $5 billion. This represented a year-over-year revenue increase of 26.7 percent.