While Manhattan-based developer Rockefeller Group is just beginning construction on a new distribution center in Woodbury, the company is hoping to expand its Long Island presence even further.
The $60 million Woodbury project is a redevelopment of two properties at 1 Media Crossways and 200 Crossways Park Drive, a combined 9-acre site formerly occupied by Cablevision and E&M Logistics. Rockefeller Group is building a 145,200-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility called Crossways Logistics Center that’s expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The new speculative project, which was assisted by tax breaks from the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency, will include 36-foot ceilings, 54-foot-by-50-foot column spacing, more than 270 car spaces, 18 trailer spaces, 35 dock doors and 60-foot speed bays. Cushman & Wakefield is handling the leasing of the Woodbury facility.
“Long Island’s existing industrial inventory is functionally obsolete with an average of 50 years old. Crossway Logistics Center offers a product to meet the tenant demand for flight-to-quality and is ideally situated with easy access to the Long Island Expressway,” said Nicholas Gallipoli of Cushman & Wakefield. “Supply chain resilience and cost savings are driving factors for companies expanding into Long Island.”
The Woodbury project is Rockefeller Group’s second on Long Island, following a 172,622-square-foot distribution center on 10 acres at 55 Paradise Lane in Bay Shore. That facility, nearing completion and ready for occupancy this month, is being leased by JLL. The civil engineer for both Bay Shore and Woodbury projects is Huntington-based R&M Engineering and the general contractor for the projects is Ronkonkoma-based Aurora Contractors.
“Being engaged early on to assist and work with Rockefeller’s design and entitlement entities was key to maintaining the groundbreaking date,” says Michael Adler, director of Business Development for Aurora Contractors. “We are very excited to assist Rockefeller with building their next addition to their Long Island portfolio.”
Rockefeller Group’s first industrial projects on Long Island come as millions of square feet of similar developments have been proposed, which could greatly increase the supply of space here that needs to be filled. And at the same time, some prospective e-commerce tenants that had been gobbling up space here have been cutting back. Amazon just announced it will lay off another 9,000 employees, which comes on the heels of 18,000 jobs the company cut at the end of last year.
But execs at Rockefeller Group are not worried that its speculative projects will find tenants.
“When you look at Long Island or any other area across the country and you see these large pipelines, it doesn’t mean it’s always going to get built,” says Heath Abramsohn, vice president and regional director for Rockefeller Group. The market has definitely changed, and values have been impacted as a result. Financing, both from an equity and debt perspective, is challenging and that’s going to impact deliverability of these projects.”
In addition, Abramsohn said his firm is tailoring its new Long Island facilities to fit the current demand from a variety of users instead of aiming for one large tenant. He added that it’s likely both the Bay Shore and Woodbury facilities will be leased to multiple tenants.
“Long Island historically has been a smaller occupier space market. I don’t think that’s changed,” Abramsohn said. “You might get the anomaly that user out there that might need larger space, but for the most part from our perspective and strategy, we’re not going to be focusing on large, big bomber buildings. We want to make sure we’re catering to the market appropriately and make sure we can design appropriately it so we can divide the premises.”
Rockefeller Group has been engaged in large-scale industrial property development for nearly 40 years and has since developed more than 23 million square feet of Class-A industrial real estate for many major businesses and logistics firms. Over the past five years the company has completed more than 10 million square feet of industrial property in six states and today has an industrial development pipeline of more than 5 million square feet.
After undertaking its first two Long Island projects, Rockefeller Group is “very bullish” on the Island and Abramsohn says the company is looking to expand further here.
“We’re not done. We’re continually in the market looking at every site that comes available, whether it be raw land like Bay Shore or redevelopment similar to Woodbury,” Abramsohn said. “We’re not going to go and do millions of square feet all at once, but we will be delivering buildings consistently and we’ll be looking at sites consistently. We’re not parachuting in and leaving right away. We’re here and we’re continually pursuing opportunities.”