Nov 10, 2021

A cold storage provider has opened a new 140,000-square-foot facility at the border of Elizabeth and Newark, in a project that brought together two well-known New Jersey developers.

The new FreezPak Logistics building, which was developed by Elberon Development Group and Fidelco Realty Group, has helped revitalize a previously blighted industrial site at 1029 Newark Ave. Those efforts were on display Tuesday as the commercial real estate firms joined the operator and officials from both cities to unveil the modern facility and its 10.5 million cubic feet of cold storage space.

“The quality and sophistication of this cold storage facility will help re-establish the industrial prominence of a site that has been abandoned for many years,” said David Gibbons, president of Elberon Development Group. “The ownership team was proud to work alongside both Elizabeth and Newark to advance the revitalization of the surrounding area that touches both great cities.”

Of FreezPak, he added that “you need to be impressed enough with someone and their company to sign a 20-year lease with them for this kind of investment. But as I’ve gotten to know them through this process, I’ve become more and more impressed with how they run their business and how polished they are — and we wish them many years of prosperity at this location and I’ve got a feeling that they’re going to realize it.”

Located at the corner of Virginia Street, the site is the former home of Magruder Color but has been vacant since the pigment and dye manufacturer moved out in 2006. Fidelco and Elberon have sought to develop the property since around 2017, giving way to a lease with FreezPak and a groundbreaking last fall.

The result is a space with 18 docks and 75-foot clear ceiling heights, allowing for 30,000 pallet positions.

“This exciting new facility will serve as an anchor development project for the area,” said Marc E. Berson, Fidelco Group’s chairman. “Wherever FreezPak establishes itself, it creates jobs and attracts other industries and development, goals that Fidelco also holds dear. This project will breathe new life into a corner shared by two great cities.”

FreezPak, which is based in Carteret, will perform storage and retrieval, repacking and overseas container plug-in, according to a news release. The facility will also allow for on-site USDA, FDA and Food Safety and Inspection Service inspections.

It marks FreezPak’s fifth New Jersey location and recently won NAIOP New Jersey’s prestigious Deal of the Year award for industrial projects.

“We are excited to see our vision come to realization in our newest location,” said David Saoud, co-CEO FreezPak logistics. “This is a crucial time for modernization and our commitment to it is more resolute than ever. FreezPak Elizabeth will be our flagship facility.”

Officials in both Newark and Elizabeth touted cold storage as a growth opportunity for northern New Jersey’s port district.

“FreezPak has already established a great presence in New Jersey and I am proud to welcome them to Elizabeth,” Mayor J. Christian Bollwage said. “Set in a key location in the city — next to the seaport, major highways and the airport — this wonderful new facility is a great addition to our community. It helps with our commitment in creating new jobs and opportunities for our residents, all while increasing services and meeting the distribution needs and demands.”

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka added: “Despite the challenges Newark has faced due to COVID-19, we continue to build a strong economy, with jobs and career opportunities for our residents in diverse fields, and revitalize neighborhoods. FreezPak will energize development and growth in this area and our entire city. I congratulate Marc Berson and the Elberon Development Group for bringing this transformative project to Newark and Elizabeth.”

The project team included attorneys with Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC, Ware Malcomb, JLL, Langan, Orloff, Lowenbach, Stifelman & Siegel P.A. and Preferred Industrial Properties.

“FreezPak Elizabeth has propelled us to the next level of sustainable warehousing,” said Mike Saoud co-CEO of FreezPak Logistics. “Between the height of the building, automation and fuel cell fueling capabilities, we have positioned FreezPak to accommodate the ever-increasing need for cold storage space. We thank our co-developers, Elberon and Fidelco, for believing in us and giving us full range with development.”

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By  Joshua Burd