When once-thriving manufacturers close or shift operations, it can be hard for the communities around them to shoulder the loss. That’s what happened in Linden, New Jersey, and Baltimore, Maryland, after General Motors shuttered its assembly plants in those locations. The closures put thousands out of work and saddled those cities with vacant properties.
Duke Realty now operates thriving commerce centers in both locations—remediating the properties, rejuvenating the surrounding communities, and creating more than 7,000 jobs between the two sites—nearly double the number of jobs originally lost. As REIT Magazine recently noted, Duke Realty has a history of successful redevelopment projects.
Both properties were in desirable locations—close to ports and the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Markets. Duke Realty shared its vision for the properties with leadership in both cities, explained Jeff Palmquist, Senior Vice President of the Northeast Region. “In Linden, we met with the mayor, staff, and different folks in the community to share our vision, and it was met very positively,” he said. Duke Realty worked with city governments and community leaders in both locations to navigate the environmental challenges of the sites.
Chesapeake Commerce Center in Baltimore opened in 2008, and Legacy Commerce Center in Linden opened in 2014. Chesapeake’s largest tenant is Amazon, which leases 1.4 million square feet, in two buildings. Legacy’s tenants include Wayfair and Blue Apron.
More than 2,000 people work at Legacy Commerce Center, up from the 1,700 employed at the former GM plant. The Chesapeake site employs 5,000, double the number once employed by GM there. Once the last developed building at Chesapeake is leased, both centers will be 100% occupied.
Both sites have been good-performing investments for Duke Realty, CEO Jim Connor told REIT Magazine. And both projects reflect the company’s long-term strategy. “We are an industrial bulk warehouse company with a long-term ownership perspective. These projects are right down main street for us,” Connor said. “When companies think about the difficulties of doing environmentally and socially responsible buildings, it can be done. These are two great success stories.”
To see more examples of how we’re environmentally and socially responsible, check out our Corporate Responsibility Report.
You can read the full article in REIT Magazine here.