By Eric Strauss, September 20, 2016 at 10:05 AM

A rendering of Jaguar Land Rover North America's planned customization and expansion of the 1 Sharp Plaza, Mahwah, complex. - (JLL)

Jaguar Land Rover North America LLC has signed a long-term lease to move to the Sharp Electronics Corp. building in Mahwah and received approval from the township planning board to begin customization and expansion of the property.

The North American unit of the British luxury automaker, which is currently based on MacArthur Boulevard in Mahwah, said in a news release Tuesday that construction at 1 Sharp Plaza, off Route 17 North, will begin this year, with the move across town slated for early 2018.

The real estate services firm JLL added in its own release that Jaguar had signed the lease, which includes the entire 147,000-square-foot office property, with its owner, The Becker Organization.

“To accommodate our growing business here in North America, we are pleased to move forward with developing a new, expanded headquarters in our current hometown of Mahwah in the state of New Jersey,” Joe Eberhardt, CEO and president of Jaguar Land Rover North America, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to moving into a modern complex that reflects the new generation of Jaguar Land Rover products and provides a venue for events as well as a location for the community to learn more about our brands.”

Sharp is moving to 100 Paragon Drive in Montvale in a related transaction. It had planned to sell and lease back the property in a deal with Becker, JLL said, but after it was approached by Jaguar, opted to move instead. That enabled the carmaker to take over the property.

“We knew Sharp’s complex in Mahwah would make an ideal location for our client, so we reached out to executives at the electronics firm to let them know we had a client interested in leasing the facility,” JLL’s Scott Stange said in a statement. “Although Sharp was involved in a complex sale-leaseback, company executives were receptive to the idea.”

Both companies received state tax incentives to remain in the state.

“This was an incredibly complex transaction with many moving pieces,” JLL’s Dan Breen said in a statement. “JLL helped Jaguar Land Rover secure $28 million in state incentives, which played a critical role in enabling the luxury automobile manufacturer to open its new complex here in New Jersey.”

The move to the former Sharp property will enable Jaguar to increase staff over time from about 250 people at the current site to up to 315 people, the company said.

As part of the project, Jaguar Land Rover plans to build a 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art product research, training and development center that can also be used for retailer and media events, it said.

Jaguar said the project will also include new finishes, windows and signage reflecting Jaguar Land Rover’s recently unveiled retailer design standard, as well as the company’s traditional colors, “Sunshine Gray” and silver metallic.

The Mahwah property is actually getting back to its automotive roots, according to JLL, which said the site had once housed a Ford Motor Co. auto manufacturing plant. The current complex was built for Sharp in 1985, JLL said.

“I am honored to welcome Jaguar Land Rover to their new location on a bigger stage, with a more prominent role within our community,” Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet said in a statement. “Jaguar Land Rover is one of the more significant accomplishments of my administration. Early on, we set goals to retain and grow our corporate clients in Mahwah, and I am pleased that Jaguar Land Rover has determined that Mahwah is the best town to continue to host its North American business.”

Jaguar Land Rover was represented in the deal by JLL’s David Stifelman, Scott Lesh, Joseph Garibaldi, Stange and Breen. The Becker Organization was represented in-house by Bryan Becker, its founder and CEO.

Gensler Architecture/Design Inc. is designing the project for Jaguar Land Rover.

“We congratulate, and thank for their involvement, the town of Mahwah and Mayor Bill Laforet, as well as the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the Office of the Governor of New Jersey,” Lee Maas, Jaguar Land Rover North America’s vice president, development, and project director, said in a statement. “Together, we have ensured a future home for Jaguar Land Rover in the area, with a world-class, modern facility.”