Trophy industrial buildings? Why Crow’s efforts in Elmwood Park may start new trend

Machemer feels 207K sq. ft. building on former Marcal site has eye-catching appeal

The specs of the property — which are all anyone ever seems to want when it comes to industrial real estate — are impressive:

  • 207,000 square feet of space with 40-foot ceilings;
  • 12 acres of land with 200 parking spots;
  • 56 trailer stalls, 32 exterior loading docks and two drive-in doors.

Then there’s the easy access to Interstate 80, Garden State Parkway, Route 46, New Jersey Turnpike — all of northern New Jersey and New York, in fact.

Clark Machemer, the senior managing director in the Industrial Group of Crow Holdings Development, prefers another number: 150,000.

That’s the number of bricks that were used to give the modern building an old-time feel. A building Machemer feels is unlike any other in its asset class.

“Trophy doesn’t get used with industrial buildings,” he said. “I would dare say that this is a trophy industrial building. I’d even pause to call it industrial — it’s just a trophy building in New Jersey.”

The building sits on the spot that for decades was the iconic home of Marcal Paper in Elmwood Park — before it was destroyed by a fire more than five years ago.

On Tuesday, Machemer and the Crow team will show it off for a brokers’ open house.

Yes, despite being in the heart of North Jersey, it remains unoccupied. Machemer is confident it won’t stay that way for long.

“Our goal is a single tenant — and I think there’s a strong demand for that size range in this area,” he said.

Machemer said he doesn’t have a sector in mind.

“That’s the beauty of northern New Jersey, there’s such a diversity of tenants,” he said.

Machemer said he hopes it will be one that recognizes the uniqueness of the location and of the building.

“It’s right off of I-80,” he said. “I think the visibility is unmatched.”


Machemer admits Crow spent more than it needed to on the building. But he feels the extra touches not only will pay for themselves, but potentially start a new trend for industrial: It’s time to give industrial buildings the same touches that other classes have, he said.

“The plans that were approved were not for a brick building, it was your traditional industrial precast building,” he said. “People ask, ‘Did the town make us do this?’

Another view of the property.

“They didn’t. This was a decision that we, at Crow Holdings, solely made.”

It was a decision that looks back — and forward — Machemer said.

“Some of the oldest buildings in the state are in and around this area because of the Great Falls and the economic engine that came out of that,” he said. “We’re proud that the building that we built is reflective of the history of not only the site, but also the surrounding area.

“We felt that it was only responsible to create a building that some way could perhaps replicate what was there, given it was such a visible building, an iconic building for those traveling on I-80.”

Machemer feels it only makes sense for the buildings to reflect the rising square-foot cost of industrial.

“If you go back 15 years or so, industrial buildings were $75 a foot,” he said. “The buildings today are approaching $500, if not more.

“The industry just didn’t move along with the values. We were building better incrementally, but we felt it was time to take a big leap forward. And we thought this location justified it.”

Machemer hopes the trophy quality of the building will help Crow with future buildings, as it will show the Class A quality it can bring to industrial.

“Industrial buildings are usually hidden or heavily landscaped,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be that way.”


The building already is getting noticed.

A media push a few weeks back — when the building was first completed —brought calls and comments from people outside of the area, if not the state.

“They wanted to know why we did and how we did it,” he said. “Some said it was a look that may be right for their communities.”

Then, there’s the notice it’s getting from I-80.

Among the upgraded features are light boxes that reflect a glow from the building.

“It’s translucent glass,” he said. “It brings a lot of light into the building during the day, but, at night, it gives a slight little glow.”

Machemer is confident the look will make the property have the same landmark status that the Marcal plant had with its neon sign.

“That Marcal sign was so visible to people traveling on 80,” he said. “While we don’t have a name or a logo on the building yet, these light boxes hopefully will become a little beacon — a signal that you’re a certain number of minutes away from home or wherever you are going.”

Machemer said it’s part of the lure of the building.

“There’s a handful of buildings and logos and signage that define the I-80 corridor,” he said. “I think the occupant of this building is going to be among them.”