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Boston company unveils plans for 29 acres in Upper Merion

September 20, 2019

Source, Philadelphia Business Journal, Natalie Kostelni

An affiliate of Novaya Real Estate Ventures has acquired the former Johnson Matthey Inc. chemical plant on River Road in Upper Merion and plans to develop a 350,000-square-foot distribution center on the 29-acre property.

Novaya Foxfield Industrial, which is the mid-Atlantic division of Novaya Real Estate of Boston, plans to raze the existing plant to and build what it is calling the King of Prussia Logistics Hub. How much the real estate company paid couldn’t be determined. It wasn’t readily available on public property records.

Johnson Matthey bought the chemical plant at 900 River Road from Lonza Inc. 2011. Prior to Lonza, it had been part of Allen Wood Steel Inc. In April 2018, Johnson Matthey informed state officials that it was closing the plant and laying off 119 employees, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, that had been filed at the time with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor.

Johnson Matthey used the River Road facility to manufacture pharmaceutical ingredients. When it bought the plant, the company saw it as a way to increase its manufacturing capacity and contract research business, and also allow it to grow its controlled substance pharmaceutical ingredient business in the United States.

The location is ideal for warehouse-distribution center. In 2016, a developer constructed a $52 million, 315,897-square-foot building on 65 acres at the former Keystone Coke Co. property less than a half mile away at 600 River Road for FedEx. River Road in Upper Merion is near major highways including the Blue Route, Schuylkill Expressway, Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Northeast Extension and other regional arteries such as Route 202.

Paul Touhey, Tom Sullivan, Scott Miller and Andrew Green of CBRE Inc. represented the seller in the sale of 900 River Road.