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Big investment sales the story for N.J. industrial market

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A flurry of large investment sales headlined northern and central New Jersey's industrial real estate market in the second quarter, according to a new report by Jones Lang Salle.

The brokerage tracked at least 10 "significant" transactions during the three-month period, highlighted by Duke Realty Corp.'s purchase of two warehouses in Cranbury for $75.3 million. The buildings total nearly 1 million square feet in space and are leased long-term to retailer Crate & Barrel.

Other notable deals included Exeter Property Group's 1.2 million-square-foot acquisition of the International Trade Center in Mount Olive, JLL said in a news release. Also, Sitex Group acquired the fully leased, 287,000-square-foot warehouse at 200 Riser Road, in Little Ferry, from Mack-Cali Realty Corp.

In a prepared statement, JLL managing director David Knee said "the market for high-quality space remains tight" along the New Jersey Turnpike corridor, but the lack of big-box space has dampened leasing activity. Overall industrial vacancy in the second quarter ticked up to 8.8 percent, from 8.7 percent.

"Touring activity has remained brisk for the class A and class B spaces available, which means that further tightening and additional construction activity may be forthcoming," Knee said.

The research, from JLL's Hasbrouck Heights office, said there is more than 6 million square feet of industrial space under construction in the region. About 60 percent of that consists of build-to-suits, including KTR Capital Partners' 1 million-square-foot project in Robbinsville for Amazon.com.

The report also said total occupied space in the market rose in the second quarter by only 279,500 square feet. That includes 87,515 square feet of negative absorption in North Jersey and 367,016 of positive absorption in Central Jersey.

Reporter Joshua Burd is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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