Friday, December 08, 2017

CNJ warehouse new HQ for candy giant

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While its creator long ago disappeared into rail merger history, a 110-year-old former railroad warehouse in Newark, N.J. is looking like a sweet destination for the city and one of the world’s iconic candy companies.

Mars Wrigley Confectionery, maker of M&M’s, this week announced plans to locate its U.S. headquarters to the former Newark Warehouse Company, opened in 1907 as a rail-served facility by the Central Railroad of New Jersey in the heart of the city’s business district.

The company, with offices in Chicago and Hackettstown, N.J., will locate about 500 jobs in the structure, to be renovated as part of Ironside Newark, a 456,000-square foot commerce and retail center.

Mars announced the move weeks after the state approved $31 million in tax credits over 10 years. The headquarters is expected to open in 2020.

According to an article in the August, 20, 1907 issue of the Railroad Gazette, the predecessor of Railway Age, the warehouse was constructed as a separate subsidiary of the Central Railroad of New Jersey to provide storage, distribution and forwarding for rail shippers at less expense than separate cartage and storage providers. The 370,000-square foot steel and reinforced concrete structure occupies an entire city block, and comprises six floors. The second floor had extensive inside track capacity for 43 railcars, with nine elevators to move shipments to the first floor’s street level truck loading dock.

The warehouse, a small yard and CNJ’s Broad Street station a few blocks westward were reached by CNJ’s Newark and New York Railroad, which originated in Jersey City and crossed over Pennsylvania Railroad (now Amtrak Northeast Corridor) tracks near Newark Penn Station. While the CNJ girder bridges remain, the yard and track in the immediate area has been redeveloped or paved over for parking. Further east is Brill’s Yard, part of the Conrail Shared Assets operation near Oak Island Yard. Parts of the branch operated until 1967 and, after the CNJ was merged into Conrail in 1976, the warehouse hosted various businesses including a graphic arts center.

The façade and a portion of Broad Street Station, which once saw more than 100 trains per day, can still be seen, although what was left of the tracks and platforms were removed to make way for the Prudential Center arena.

 

A rendering of the renovated Mars Wrigley headquarters.

The Central Railroad of New Jersey accessed the Newark warehouse from its small yard on the building's south side. An interior view shows the tracks and platforms. (Digital image of August 20, 1907 Railway Gazette by Google Books.)

This interior plan shows the layout of crossings, switches and tracks inside the warehouse. (CRRNJ drawing)

Another interior view of the track layout. Capacity was 43 boxcars. (CRRNJ photo)

Exterior view showing the CRRNJ yard adjacent to the warehouse. The rail entrance is visible at the far end. (CRRNJ photo)

 

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