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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Auction for shuttered Lenox China plant in Galloway Township set for April 14

Source: Atlantic County News
By Brian Ianieri, Staff Writer

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - A sealed-bid auction in April may find new owners and uses for the defunct Lenox China plant on Tilton Road, part of a sprawling 56-acre property that was once a vibrant ceramics manufacturing hub.

The auction is scheduled for April 14.

The minimum bid for the property, which includes the land and the facility, is $2.75 million, said Evan Gladstone, executive managing director for Chicago-based NRC Realty & Capital Advisors LLC, which is conducting the auction along with NAI Global.

BTR Tilton LLC, based in Lutherville, Md., owns the property, according to Galloway Township property records.

BTR, a real estate investment firm, bought the facility in December 2006 for $7 million.

At the time, the price tag was about $5 million lower than the original listing price.

Currently, the land is assessed at $1.6 million. The improvements are valued at about $11 million, property records show.

A representative of BTR could not be reached for comment at the company's listed telephone number.

The plant has a 416,000-square-foot brick warehouse that includes 44,000 square feet of office space. From the outside, there are signs of deterioration, including dislodged bricks from the front steps.

Lenox China produced ceramics and its renowned china at the plant starting in 1953. The factory was shuttered about five years ago, shortly after Department 56, a Minnesota-based ceramics and collectibles company, bought Lenox.

"We're in a tough market for industrial properties like this," Gladstone said. "The seller has aggressively priced the property to sell and we expect to have good bidding on this."

Gladstone said the property has so far generated some interest and has been shown several times to potential bidders.

"It's got interest in a couple of different areas because it has got the existing building and such a nice-sized lot size," he said.

The area is zoned industrial in a Pinelands Regional Growth Area, said Tiffany Cuviello, a planner for Galloway Township.

It is also part of a redevelopment zone approved by Galloway Township last year that can qualify for tax incentives.

Permitted uses would include light industrial, commercial development, shopping centers,