CRANBURY, NJ—More than four years after the new Penske Truck Leasing (PTL) facility was formally proposed to the township, the completed project is finally opening.
The new facility is located at 2682 Route 130, just minutes from the New Jersey Turnpike and Route 1. It’s in Penske’s “South Plainfield District,” according to the company.
Built from the ground-up, at more than nine and a half acres, the depot’s size offers greater capacity than the 30-year-old site it’s replacing a few miles north in the Dayton section of South Brunswick. It’s not clear when the facility being replaced will shut down.
“We’ve outgrown the South Brunswick facility by 10-fold in the past 30 years,” said Mike Duquette, the PTL New York Metro area vice president.
Duquette added that the expansion occurred due to significant market growth in the region.
“When we first opened, the location serviced nearly 200 vehicles out of two truck bays – now, three decades later, we service over 2,000 vehicles out of three truck bays.”
While minutes from the January 2018 meeting of Township’s Development Review Committee indicated Penske’s new facility would only be open to “contracted customers” and not the general public, it appears the new facility is renting to the public as well.
Penske Public Relations Manager Kimberly Harmsen said in late 2020 that the new location would indeed “offer consumer and commercial truck rental, full-service truck leasing and contract truck fleet maintenance.”
The walk-in office is open Monday through Friday from 7am to 5pm, and Saturdays from 8am to 2pm, according to signage.
Penske expected to launch the new 23,000 square feet location eight months ago, but the company had previously noted that the COVID-19 pandemic “has had some small impacts” on the build out.
Penske said in a press release that the new facility is outfitted with its proprietary fully digital and voice-directed preventive maintenance process and Penske digital experience solutions. It cited Penske technology and options related to onboard technology systems, including electronic logging devices (ELD’s), telematics and onboard cameras.
A ribbon-cutting event on May 18 took place at the new facility. Deputy Mayor Mike Ferrante spoke at the event, saying that he believes Penske will be “good neighbors.”
Although Ferrante was absent from the May 23 Township Committee meeting his colleagues read a prepared update from him: “I was honored to be invited to speak at the grand opening of the [Penske facility] on May 18. They are relocating a few miles down Route 130 into Cranbury. It’s a state of the art custom built facility.”
Committee member Evelyn Spann was present and noted that she had visited the site.
“It really is very buttoned up,” Spann said. “I do like that it has a fence because it does face our 55 and over community across the street.”
Penske said it will employ more than 40 associates at the new facility, but is looking to hire truck technicians, fueler and wash bay attendants, customer service representatives, and drivers.
A list of open positions at Penske is available at the website: penske.jobs.
The property features some 20 service areas. Five drive-thru bays account for ten service areas, while another ten covered service areas hug the facility, according to the release.
Other features include an automated wash bay, and full-service three lane fuel island.
One Township Committee member who is no longer in office, Glenn Johnson, wrote a post in support of the proposed development in 2019, directing residents to ask: “If not Penske, then who?”
Concluding that the property would ultimately be developed for some purpose and not “used as a pasture for unicorns,” Johnson mentioned previous potential plans considered for developing the land.
“The former property owner had an [earlier] offer from a group of people who wanted to build a house of worship. To put a house of worship that is exempt from paying property taxes on a prime parcel in a highway commercial zone would be a loss to our town,” wrote Johnson, who lost his re-election bid in 2019.
“He also had an offer from a developer who wanted to build apartments. Fortunately our zoning doesn’t allow that use in that zone.”
Dave is an award-winning business reporter who has authored over 200 articles for New Brunswick Today.