ELIZABETH, NJ — Wakefern Food Corp. Chairman and CEO Joseph Colalillo, New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, Union County Freeholder Daniel Sullivan and Elberon Development Co. LLC’s Executives broke ground on Elberon’s new warehouse and distribution center for Wakefern Food Corp on Wednesday at 600 York Street, Elizabeth.
“Wakefern and Elberon have been solid partners with the City of Elizabeth for more than fifty years,” remarked Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “This exciting expansion opens a new chapter in our relationship and demonstrates our commitment to job retention and creation for our residents, innovation, and Elizabeth’s business community.”
The County of Union assisted in passing through $44 million in Federal Stimulus bond financing to spark the project, which not only maintained Wakefern in Elizabeth but also helped the company to expand.
The 524,000 square-foot, temperature-controlled facility replaces the former Wakefern grocery warehouse built in the 1950s, and increases storage capabilities by more than fifty-eight percent.
“Once completed, this new warehouse is going to remind the entire region about the great advantages Union County has for doing business,” Freeholder Sullivan said. “It’s all right here: our transportation infrastructure, with interstate highways, railways, airports, the seaport, and the easy access to markets in the New York metropolitan area. We have a great workforce, well trained and highly educated, with a great tradition of hard work and community spirit.”
In addition to the expanded square footage, this new site will feature thirty-six foot high ceilings increasing the storage space significantly compared to the industry-standard of twenty feet. Projected to bring more than one-hundred fifty permanent jobs to the city, the facility will distribute non-perishable food products to ShopRite stores across NJ, NY, PA, CT, DE and MD beginning in November 2013.
“Wakefern has a longstanding partnership with Elberon, operating warehouse and distribution capabilities from this location in Elizabeth for fifty years. Continuing this partnership with the construction of this new facility will allow us to better serve our stores and our millions of ShopRite customers,” said Wakefern Chairman and CEO Joseph Colalillo. “We are thankful to Mayor Chris Bollwage and local residents for continuing to welcome us as a member of their community and we look forward to returning home to our Elizabeth roots.”
Frank Greek, CEO of F. Greek Development, will be the General Contractor on this project. Mr. Greek has built over 20 Million square feet in New Jersey in the last thirty years.
“Wakefern’s investment in a new warehouse and distribution center is yet further evidence that the New Jersey Comeback is underway,” said New Jersey’s Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. “Working cooperatively with Wakefern to meet their business needs, we successfully secured the retention of it 345 warehouse jobs in New Jersey and look forward to the potential creation of an additional 350 new jobs associated with this project. This is the type of government New Jerseyans want, government that works constructively with business to grow our economy and create jobs for New Jerseyans.”
Since it was founded in 1946, Wakefern has become the largest retailer-owned cooperative group of supermarkets in the United States. Employing an innovative approach to wholesale business services, Wakefern focuses on helping independent retailers compete in a big business world. Providing the tools entrepreneurs need to stay a step ahead of the competition, Wakerfern’s wholesale client base benefits from the company’s extensive portfolio of services, including innovative technology, private label development, and best in class procurement practices. Headquartered in Keasby, New Jersey, Wakefern operates more than 2.5 million square feet of grocery and non-food warehousing.
“Our family has built and managed industrial real estate in Elizabeth for over fifty years,” said Anne Evans Estabrook, CEO of Elberon. “Wakefern was one of our first tenants. We continue the tradition started by our founder, David O. Evans, of providing quality warehouse facilities to companies who bring jobs and ratables to the City.”