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Portfields Initiative: Full Steam Ahead

The Portfields Initiative has distributors and developers excited about the Metro NY/NJ Port District.

Jun/Jul 06
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Goals of the Initiative
The major goal of the Portfields Initiative is to identify and help advance to "shovel-ready" status at least six sites that are large enough for 350,000 square feet of building or more. The properties will be developed by private-sector companies, either individually or through private/public partnerships. Many of the target sites are brownfields that qualify for financial assistance for assessment and remediation. (See accompanying chart.)

Currently 17 sites in Kearny, Newark, Elizabeth, Bayonne, Linden, Carteret, Woodbridge, and Perth Amboy are being developed - or considered for development. All have good access to the New Jersey Turnpike and other major highways, as well as to Newark Liberty International Airport and Port Elizabeth/ Newark.

"Many of the properties are already in various stages of development," says Flinn. "Examples are ProLogis at the Port Elizabeth Business Park (1.15 million square feet) and Port Reading Business Park (3.6 million square feet) sites and the Morris Companies in Linden (406,000 square feet) and Perth Amboy (1.3 million square feet). We have also met with a number of other developers who have expressed interest in additional sites."

Specifically, the Morris Companies' development of the Amboy Corporate Center in Perth Amboy is part of the redevelopment of the Chevron Asphalt Refinery surplus properties. According to William J. Cariste, principal of Newmark Knight Frank, which has been retained as leasing agent by the developer, "This is a very exciting project. It is one of the first in a generation of major industrial projects on large redevelopment sites north of Exit 11 on the New Jersey Turnpike."

Making Headway
The Portfields Initiative is under way with a $2 million marketing campaign to attract retailers and third-party distributors to the Port District. The ultimate goal is to redevelop 1,000 acres of property in the Port District over the next 10 years. That represents roughly $500 million in land costs and about $1.5 billion in construction value - a sizeable investment.

"The New York/New Jersey region is already the second-largest in terms of China-based imports," says Nissim. "The new distribution infrastructure will complement the port improvements, including dredging, and transform the district into a state-of-the-art distribution hub that can handle larger ships with up to 10,000 containers - more than double the current capacity."

Finally, because of the importance of the Portfields Initiative to the state, PSE&G has committed considerable resources to its success. The PSE&G Area Development Department is spearheading an integrated program of support. It is filling a critical role that goes well beyond the normal infrastructure planning and improvement one would expect of a utility, and includes marketing to potential logistics-chain users through the Internet, advertising, editorial placement, and targeted direct mail. For more than 75 years PSE&G has supported economic development in New Jersey, so taking a leadership role in the new Portfields Initiative is just another example of its strong and continuing commitment to economic development in the state.

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