New warehouse and distribution center will replace eight abandoned buildings south of Route 1

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A new warehouse and distribution center south of Route 1 will replace eight abandoned buildings.

The Lawrence Township Planning Board unanimously granted preliminary and final site plan approval for a 276,656 square-foot warehouse and distribution center at 40 Enterprise Ave. at its June 6 meeting.

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The 16.4-acre property is located south of Route 1 in the southern end of the township. The property borders the City of Trenton and Hamilton Township.

The eight abandoned buildings will be demolished. There will be 44 loading docks and 34 trailer parking storage spaces, according to the application.

The application also includes parking for 141 cars. Four parking spaces will be converted to four electric vehicle charging stations, according to the application.

Jonathan Fox, who represents owner 40 Enterprise LLC, told the Planning Board that his client has owned the property since 1974. At that time, the buildings were fully occupied but were already showing signs of wear, he said.

The existing buildings have been vacant for several years and are “functionally obsolete,” Fox said. The ceilings are too low for warehouse uses, and the cost to make repairs is not economically feasible, he said.

The economic conditions in New Jersey make it feasible to redevelop the site, Fox said. A tenant has not been identified for the warehouse, but the building is being designed with flexibility in mind, he said. It is not expected to be an around-the-clock operation.

Traffic engineer David Fahme said two driveway entrances off Enterprise Avenue are proposed. One driveway will be designated for cars and the other driveway will be for tractor-trailer trucks.

Based on the Institute of Transportation’s trip generation, the new warehouse and distribution center is expected to generate an additional two trips into the site during the morning peak hour and one additional trip into and out of the site during the evening peak hour, according to the applicant’s traffic study.

Overall, there would be “less than 500 trips into and out of the warehouse distribution center on a daily basis,” Fahme said. He said he expected it to be about 200 trips.

Architect Scot Murdoch said two entrances are planned to accommodate the possibility of having two tenants occupy the building, he said.

“The reality is, this is a workplace. It will be a better place for warehouse workers. It will be a step or two above what exists there now,” he said.

Municipal Manager Kevin Nerwinski, who sits on the Planning Board, asked the applicant about the sustainability aspects of the new building.

“There is nothing more sustainable than re-purposing an existing site,” Murdoch said. “The building will be a high-performance thermal building, using insulated concrete panels for the exterior. The roof will be designed for a solar array.”

Planner John McDonough said the township’s location midway between New York City and Philadelphia makes it an ideal location for a warehouse and distribution center.

He noted there has been a 19% increase in activity in the seaports in the last couple of years.

“Warehouses are an important link in the supply chain, and warehouse employees are considered to be essential workers,” he said, adding an attractive new building will draw “high class” tenants.

“This will transform some unproductive land. This is a really good application for your town,” McDonough said.

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