Wednesday, March 18, 2015

First Industrial Realty Trust Developing Lehigh Valley Industrial

by Steve Lubetkin
Chicago-based First Industrial Realty Trust is spending $44 millionto build First 33 Commerce Center, a two-building 584,760 square-foot development on Easton Nazareth Highway in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania.

“We’ve owned the land for several years now and we’ve been able to get the site fully entitled to be able to build the two buildings,” Jeff Thomas, First Industrial’s senior regional director and market leader for Pennsylvania, tells exclusively.

The company will look to sell some additional land fronting Easton Nazareth Highway (Route 248) for commercial development, Thomas says.

“Coming out of the recession has certainly been good for industrial development,” Thomas tells “We just recently completed a 708,000 square foot speculative building in 2013 that was leased last year to Federal Mogul in the Central Pennsylvania market.”

As to the Nazareth property, “We’ve always liked the location, certainly its proximity to serve the New York metro area is a primary driver of demand along the Route 33 corridor,” Thomas says. “The buildings can be multi-tenanted if necessary.” Route 33 runs roughly north-south through Northampton County, PA, connecting Interstate 78 in the south with Interstate 80 in the north.

The state-of-the-art development will have two buildings, a 341,400 square-foot facility and a 243,360 square-foot building. Both will feature 32-ft clear height, ESFR sprinklers and interior and exterior energy-efficient lighting systems. The buildings are expected to be completed by year-end 2015.

“The Lehigh Valley continues to grow in importance as a distribution hub for the Northeastern US due to its efficient highway networks and talented labor force,” said Peter Schultz, executive vice president for First Industrial. “With limited availability of high quality distribution product in the market, we are excited to develop these facilities which can meet the needs of a range of distribution and other customers.”

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