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This article was prepared for the

September 12, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights


Warehouse at 8A: The Bug Goes Big

Volkswagen of America will nearly triple its space when

it moves next year to a new 928,000 square-foot warehouse at Station

Road and Route 130 near Exit 8A. Two superlatives describe it: it

will be the biggest single building to be constructed in this area,

and its walls will contain more glass than any similar warehouse.

Ed Klimek, of KSS Architects on Witherspoon Street, expects to see

his project completed by next summer, and September is the target

move-in date. Klimek also designed and project managed the


of Volkswagen’s current warehouse on Commerce Drive at Exit 8A.

The new place will be two facilities in one, a master depot that takes

shipments from Germany to be distributed to centers throughout


and a regional parts distribution center. It will replace the current

323,282 square foot regional facility, which was built for $50 million

by the Matrix Development Group in 1995. Set on 71 acres at Station

Road and Route 130, it will have four major entrances and 50,000


feet of office space, plus state-of-the-art "racking and


features and parking for 100 trailer trucks.

"Obviously logistics plays a major part in selecting the


says Volkswagen spokesperson Tony Fouladpour, noting the site’s


to the turnpike and airport, "and the northeast is our largest

market, where we have the most dealers. We are within 500 miles of

about 40 percent of our retail part markets and dealers." Most

shipments arrive by truck in ocean freight containers and are


by truck. Parts are supplied only to authorized dealers; parts are

sold only to authorized dealers.

Volkswagen is Europe’s largest manufacturer of passenger cars and

has its American headquarters in Michigan. In 1987 the company moved

its Pennsylvania assembly plant to near Mexico City, where it turns

out 425,000 cars a year — Jettas, New Beetles, and Cabrios. Its

Golf model comes from Brazil, and the Passat and EuroVan from Hanover,

Germany. Volkswagen USA also distributes Audi, Bentley, and


but not Lamborghini.

Smaller parts distribution centers are in California, Illinois, and

Texas, and one will soon open in Canada. "We want to be as


as possible," he says, "and the growth has been dramatic.

It is a customer satisfaction issue for us; we are always looking

for more ways to expeditiously deliver parts."

The site developer is Boston-based Cabot Industrial Properties LP,

a publicly traded real estate investment trust (NYSE: CTR). Architect

Klimek is working on the building with Allen Dresselhause of Trammell

Crow, Volkswagen’s in-house realty department. Paul Torosian and

Larry Maister of Trammell Crow represented the tenant in both the

lease transaction and dealing with the municipality. Drinker Biddle

& Shanley is the land use attorney, Schoor DePalma the civil


firm, and March Associates the general contractor.

For its purchase of the land from the Applegate family, Cabot was

represented by John Horan of Coldwell Banker Commerciial and Feist

& Feist Realty Corp., and Eric Bram & Co. represented the seller.

Cabot has a development partner, Auber Resources, and was represented

by Auber in affiliation with the Garibaldi Group.

Klimek grew up in New Jersey, where his father is a

chemical engineer near Old Bridge and his mother is a systems analyst

for an insurance firm. A graduate of the University of Detroit’s


architecture program, Class of 1986, he is also project manager for

Princeton Township’s new municipal complex. Maggie Greco works with

him on the warehouse design.

It is hard to imagine a building as big as 900,000 square feet.


Squibb’s holdings in Hopewell, the former Mobil center, total 800,000

for the group of structures. The closest comparable space is actually

two warehouses, referred to as "the A and B buildings" on

Docks Corner Road; they were renovated by Matrix Development and


1.2 million square feet.

To work with such mammoth dimensions, Klimek says, requires broad

architectural strokes. He has designed four impressive entrances that

are supposed to counteract the effects of large walls and attract

attention from those who drive by. Because it is two facilities in

one, the corners indicate the various parts of the building. "To

relate to the scale, the corners needed to be prominent," says

Klimek. "You can’t just put a door in the wall."

His large rectangular "offsets," or protrusions, extend from

the corner doors for up to 40 feet. These offsets — precast


like the rest of the building — have panels of colored concrete

and of glass.

Glass — lots and lots of it — is a significant component of

this building as for the smaller Volkswagen warehouse built by

Matrix. Most of the warehouses on 8A have few windows and depend on

artificial light. Yet drive by Volkswagen’s current facility, and

you can see right inside, as if it were a huge living room picture

window. "But people have to work there," says Klimek. "We

try to let them see what is going on outside, and create articulation

(special spaces) in the building, so you just don’t have a big massive


It wasn’t an easy sell, he admits. "Some within VW saw the


of bringing in natural light, and some were skeptical about the glass.

But it has a wonderful benefit. One day the power went out and they

could still see inside — and they loved it."

Volkswagen of America Inc., 1 Commerce Drive,


08512. 609-860-8800; fax, 609-860-8804.

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