Why Duke Realty is committed to N.J. — and sustainability

With recent investments in its people, property and pipeline, Duke Realty officials say it’s pretty clear they are committed to doing business in New Jersey.

That was the word from Art Makris, the president of the Northeast Region who works out of the Jersey City office of the Indianapolis-based company.

Art Makris. (File photo)

Makris said the recently announced acquisition of a 469,600-square-foot industrial warehouse in Piscataway, leased to Kiss Nail Products, brings Duke’s New Jersey portfolio to 9.6 million square feet.

Duke Realty is the nation’s largest domestic-only, industrial property real estate investment trust, offering e-commerce and warehouse/distribution companies a crucial edge. Its projects include state-of-the-art bulk warehouses and modern, efficient distribution centers.

“Our strategy is to grow and continue to invest in tier 1 markets, (especially) the coastal high-barrier-to-entry markets such as northern New Jersey and the infill of Philadelphia and southern New Jersey market,” Makris said.

“Acquisition activity for the quarter was highlighted by our purchase of an off-market transaction of the Kiss Nail property in northern New Jersey, which was constructed in 2019, as well as our purchase of a 53-acre infill land site in northern New Jersey, which we plan to redevelop into a future 1.1 million-square-foot building once the site is remediated and entitled.”

Other highlights of its fourth quarter 2021 include the completion of two buildings that were put into service:

  • A new 622,230-square-foot warehouse at 150 Old New Brunswick Road in Piscataway that Duke developed and leased to Bob’s Discount Furniture;
  • A 415,000-square-foot facility in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, market that is leased to an undisclosed company.

Along with the acquisition of the Kiss facility in the last quarter, the company also acquired two other buildings during 2021 — a 102,224-square-foot industrial building at 66 E. Union Ave. in East Rutherford in the Meadowlands and a container yard in the Newark Port submarket.

“We are continuously working to identify strategic opportunities to expand our best-in-class New Jersey portfolio with facilities that can help meet client regional and national distribution needs,” Makris said

Makris said the company will soon make announcements regarding its entry into the southern New Jersey submarket with a land acquisition and a speculative development there, as well as the infill Philadelphia market, but declined to disclose specifics at this time.

Makris also said the firm is focused on sustainability. Every building that Duke develops is LEED-certified, he said.

“We’ve made a commitment that all our facilities and new developments in New Jersey, Philadelphia, wherever they are around the country, are all going to be at a minimum LEED-certified as part of our (environmental, social and governance) focus,” he said.

“We have to be there as long as we are a supplier of real estate. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s a market-driven demand, for both our tenants as well as our shareholders and investors.”

Duke has two buildings in New Jersey that were awarded LEED Silver this year, the Home Depot building in Perth Amboy and Bob’s Discount Furniture building in Piscataway.

It also has a partnership with Solar Landscape.

In 2021, Solar Landscape and Duke worked together to install nearly 11 megawatts of solar energy that is currently powering 1,800 New Jersey households from arrays on four Duke facilities, as part of New Jersey’s Community Solar Energy Pilot Program Year One.

“We are continuously looking for ways to make gains toward our ESG goal as a developer and owner of industrial facilities to be a more environmentally responsible corporate citizen, and our work with Solar Landscape truly aligns with that goal,” Makris said.