Another iconic 42Freeway area property is being targeted by developers for new warehouses, and this time it’s the former Sony Property in Pitman, located on Woodbury-Glassboro Road.
While it is very early in the process, Saxum Real Estate does have an agreement to purchase the former Sony property for development of three warehouses.
This would require the complete demolition of the existing 500,000 sq ft facility.
A series of recent Pitman meetings give some details to the recent attention for the property.
In last nights Pitman Council Meeting, Mayor Michael Razze gave a nice overview of the process/status which I have transcribed below.
This is VERY early in the process. There are no Planning meetings scheduled at this time. Keep reading and scrolling for what we know.
42Freeway recently published articles for developer plans to build warehouses on Gloucester Township’s Freeway Golf Course (meeting is Sept 14th) and over in Washington Township the “Wegmans” property is also being considered for a large warehouse project.
June – Designated Redevelopment Area
After years of inactivity at the unused property, earlier this year Pitman decided to help things move along towards a more productive use at the property by classifying it as one eligible for special redevelopment polices, as is allowed by New Jersey law.
The Courier Post has the story on the June 2022 Planning and Zoning meeting where the town agreed to the redevelopment designation.
This designation allows the borough to establish special zoning requirements to attract development as well as enter into contracts with the property owner or developers.
August – Special Meeting Appointing a Redeveloper
On August 31, 2022 Pitman held a special meeting of Mayor and Council where one of the topics was to approve a resolution naming Saxum Real Estate as Conditional Redeveloper of the former Sony property.
The meeting was properly advertised.
September – Council Meeting and Explanation
Last night was Pitman’s September Council Meeting, and I was able to watch a recording of the meeting today. (Meeting video was captured/uploaded by PARC: Pitman Anti-Racist Collective Facebook. They live-stream every Pitman meeting to Facebook which is an awesome benefit to the community)
In one of the Council Board Member updates it was stated that there is a buyer for the Sony property who is interested in developing three warehouses there. This would require demolition of the Sony facility.
Later in the meeting Pitman resident Michael Grillo politely asked for more information on the warehouse project. (Facebook Link. 33 minute mark)
Mayor Michael Razze did a good job explaining the status and the need for assigning Saxum Real Estate as a conditional redeveloper.
No need for me to put my own variation on it! Right from the Mayor…
To give you a little bit of the background:
So as you know we passed a redevelopment plan for that property which included condemnation.
Our redevelopment plan makes it very clear that we were not looking to condemn the property. It’s a very lengthy and expensive process.
But we were hopeful that we would get some movement on the property because we’ve had many developers approach for many years about wanting to develop the property, with no movement there.
It appears that as a result of that, there is a buyer of the property. So there is an agreement in place right now to purchase the property by Saxum Real Estate, to develop the property. That is a private contract between the owner currently and the new buyers.
The only way that this borough can really act in good faith and negotiate with them is by going through the process of appointing them as a conditional redeveloper.
That is their plan, right now, of how the wish to develop the property.
We will go through the process as a governing body, as a community, to decide if that is the best use of that property. If that’s what we want to see there.
But this starts the process.
I do think the interesting thing though is, if this plan moves forward it is also anticipated to create about 300 jobs. That’s not necessarily meaning its the best use or worst use. Just thought an interesting thing. That’s approximately the number of jobs lost when we lost Sony.Pitman Mayor Michael Razze at Pitman Council Meeting September 12th, 2022
A board member added during the Mayor’s explanation that the process is still early yet and it is not a guarantee to move forward towards development.
So what I will add if not 100% clear is because the property was designated a redevelopment area and now that there is a buyer in line, the town has no choice but to assign them as Conditional Redeveloper.
This doesn’t mean the town supports or disagrees with the plan, just they have to do this so they can work with the developer to understand the project further, feasibility, etc.
Sony Plant – Tech Advances Defining Its History.
The large facility on Woodbury-Glassboro Road was originally opened in 1960 by Columbia (CBS) records as a vinyl record plant.
Some of music history’s top recording artist records were manufactured right in Pitman, including the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, The Grateful Dead, Michael Jackson and more!
At it’s peak the facility employed 2,000 workers!
In 1988 with technology changing the plant was converted to produce CDs.
Later that year Sony purchased the company and the Pitman facility.
Sony fully supported the location, building additions and increasing production.
It became Sony’s preferred CD production location, manufacturing 18 million CDs per month!
As technology evolved in all forms of media, Sony also began manufacturing DVDs and PlayStation game discs at the Pitman plant.
Things really changed fast in the music and media tech industry with the start of the new millennium in 2000.
In an 1999 Inquirer article about Pitman it describes how the 800 workers were kept very busy manufacturing CDs and more! Just a few years prior the cafeteria was remodeled for hot foods and included PlayStation systems for the workers to play
Then a little more than 10 years later it was all gone.
Sony closed the Pitman plant in 2011.
Technology simply grew further advanced and the internet grow in capacity and speed making the need for physical media obsolete.
In a way… a new use for the property as a warehouse seems to be part of the flow of technology.
The internet and technology has advanced so far that people don’t need to go tot he store any longer. They order it from warehouses. Maybe a warehouse in Pitman.
Links and Location
400 Woodbury Glassboro Rd
Pitman, NJ 08071