More than one million current and retired public employees in California are financially helping companies like Home Depot to bulldoze hundreds of communities and financially weaken even more small businesses. Here’s how it works: A joint real estate venture between the Keystone Property Trust of Pennsylvania, and the CalEast Industrial Investors, a real estate operating company that includes the California Public Employee’s Retirement System (CalPERS), has just purchased a distrbition warehouse near Exit 8A of the New Jersey Turnpike. The distribution center is leased to Home Depot. So the retirement savings of more than a million public employees in California is being used to do business with a company that is being opposed by citizen’s groups up and down California and the rest of the nation. The Keystone Property Trust revealed this week that it has purchased the Home Depot distribution center on the NJ Turnpike, plus another 62 acres of land nearby that they hope to turn into 800,000 s.f of additional distribution centers. Keystone’s portfolio contains over 19 million square feet of big box distribution centers, making the Trust one of the largest investors in huge distribution warehouses in the nation — assisted by the workers and retirees of CalPERS. CalPERS is the country’s largest public pension fund, with assets of $169.1 billion, of which $11.7 billion is in real estate. Wittingly, or unwittingly, public workers are helping to support companies like Home Depot, and are creating more sprawl in places like the New Jesey Turnpike. Keystone distribution centers are found in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.
No doubt most public employees in California have no clue what CalPERS invests in, and many would not approve the purchase of huge warehouse distribution centers that help companies like Home Depot wipe out the smaller merchants of America. Anyone unhappy with this portfolio choice of CalPERS can email them by going to www.calpers.com/talkback/. Let the Board of Administration of the pension fund know that you want them to severe their connection to the Keystone Property Trust, and find somewhere else to put their assets besides Home Depot distribution centers.