Jeff Milanaik vowed that Bridge Development Partners would double down in New Jersey.
It wasn’t just a figure of speech. Heading into the second half of 2018, Bridge has taken several key steps toward refilling its pipeline of industrial projects in the Garden State. That includes some 6 million square feet of big-box, infill developments in high-barrier locations, all meant to capture the unrelenting demand for distribution space from ecommerce players and other users.
The developer is now planning a three-building, 1.7 million-square-foot project in the Somerset section of Franklin after acquiring two parcels at Weston Canal Road and Randolph Road. Bridge closed on the sites earlier this month in separate deals with Paul V. Profeta & Associates and Russo Development, Milanaik said, adding that he now hopes to break ground later this summer and deliver the properties by mid-2019.
Sitting on a combined 129 acres, the complex will be anchored by a roughly 1.1 million-square-foot building that Milanaik called a “game-changer,” given that spaces of that size are increasingly scarce in the region.
“When you step back and look at that product, it doesn’t exist, because where is a million-footer going to go right now?” Milanaik said. “With the demand in the marketplace, within the next 18 to 24 months, where are the big buildings? They’re not there.”
The Franklin site will be part of a fast-growing submarket along Interstate 287, as landlords struggle to find new sites along the New Jersey Turnpike. The area was never considered a premier destination for industrial users, Milanaik said, but the I-287 submarket has been validated recently by interest from leading developers and deals with high-profile tenants.