Heller Industrial Parks Donates Somerset Warehouse Space to American Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Headquarters
By Mel Fabrikant Thursday, November 15, 2012, 08:11 PM EST
Heller Industrial Parks, one of the nation’s largest privately held owners and developers of industrial real estate, today announced that the company donated 200,000 square feet of warehouse space at Heller Industrial park in Somerset to the American Red Cross for 90 days, rent free.
“As soon as we were approached by the American Red Cross, I knew the right thing to do was to give them much needed warehouse space in an effort to help millions of New Jersey residents who were suffering the wrath of Hurricane Sandy,” said Jeff Milanaik, president of Heller Industrial Parks.
The space has served as the organization’s base of operations in New Jersey for its disaster relief effort, since the day after the storm hit. More than 100 American Red Cross volunteers gather daily at Heller’s industrial park in Somerset, where they break up pallets of food, water, cleaning supplies, blankets and comfort kits into smaller loads. The volunteers then assemble the correct assortment of supplies for distribution by American Red Cross emergency responders from Somerset out to dozens of locations across New Jersey.
“The Heller Industrial Parks warehouse space donation was a tremendous gift to the Red Cross,” said Mathieu Nelessen, executive director for the Red Cross North Jersey Region. “Jeff and his entire team have been great to work with and have shown great community spirit in assisting us as we respond to this unprecedented disaster.”
On Tuesday, Oct. 30, just hours after Sandy hit, Frank Caccavo, executive vice president with Cushman & Wakefield brokerage firm, approached Milanaik, indicating that the Red Cross was in need of space for their base of operations. Within hours, Milanaik was on the phone with John Fouts, the disaster reserve logistics facilities manager handling the New Jersey Red Cross response to Hurricane Sandy.
Milanaik said the space at the Heller Industrial Park in Somerset was perfect except the building had no power. Fortunately, just 10 minutes before the building was due to open on Oct. 31, power was restored.
Milanaik and Deven Schmitt, Heller’s construction manager, worked closely with Fouts and American Red Cross officials to get the warehouse operational and to supply personnel to assist in opening and running the warehouse. The organization anticipates being on site throughout the entire recovery effort.
“Even in a disaster, good things miraculously happen,” Milanaik said.