I’ve been lucky enough to cover this industry during a time of economic expansion, meaning our pages and our website seem to feature more good news than the type of doom-and-gloom stories you’ll see when the market has hit the skids.
That said, I’ve always had to temper my enthusiasm when it comes to New Jersey’s office market. Even good news such as a blockbuster lease or the rare new development project comes with a caveat: Those companies are typically trading up and leaving behind older, less desirable space in a part of the state that has fallen out of favor with major office users. High-profile deals typically don’t result in positive absorption on their own, given that the tenants are often consolidating from multiple locations and fitting more employees into less space.
It’s why we set out to look at the role of technology companies in New Jersey’s office market. The tech sector certainly isn’t the dominant industry in the state’s economy, but it has provided a rare source of job growth in the last few years that has resulted in new office requirements. We’ve seen companies such as Audible, iCIMS and Jet.com lease space in New Jersey thanks to both state incentives and the type of organic growth that landlords would love to see continue.
In this month’s cover story, we take a closer look at tech companies and what drives their real estate decisions. We spoke to experts who talked about what it takes to grow a technology community, but also why it may not matter if landlords and developers can’t offer them the type of vibrant, cutting-edge workspace that we see in major tech clusters around the country.
Providing that workspace is one of the drivers behind Ironside Newark, a project we feature as part of our cover story. We sat down with executives at Edison Properties, which is converting a well-known warehouse in Newark into more than 400,000 square feet of sleek, loft-style office space. The fact that the firm has undertaken this $80 million project on spec is perhaps a testament to the fact that these types of users are out there looking for space — and the fact that Edison feels it can offer something different from the other options on the market.
Our August issue also brings us to Morris County, where Rockefeller Group has come up with a new twist on corporate amenities. The developer has partnered with Korman Communities to build AVE Florham Park, a 256-unit flexible stay residential complex that sits in the heart of one of the state’s top corporate destinations. It seems to be another way for a landlord to distinguish itself in a time when companies have plenty of options for suburban office space.
You’ll find more on those stories and all of the other features we have in this month’s issue of Real Estate NJ. I’m sorry to say that summer is flying by and will be over before we know it, but I’m looking forward to seeing everyone on the event circuit this fall.
Thank you for reading. As always, find us online at www.RE-NJ.com and don’t hesitate to reach out with any feedback, questions or story ideas. Enjoy the issue!