The issue of so-called stranded assets is a recurring theme in New Jersey commercial real estate, regrettably so, one that often finds public officials on their heels when they’re left with a vacant, obsolete office park or mall. That is seemingly not the case in Bedminster, where local leaders spent nearly a decade preparing for the possibility that AT&T, its largest taxpayer and employer, would vacate its iconic, 1.1 million-square-foot campus in the township.
As you’ll read in this month’s cover story, such a move is now imminent — and those officials are confident that they can avoid a similar fate. The township committee adopted new zoning late last year in an effort to attract life sciences or high-tech users to the 194-acre campus, even allowing for the potential of a complete redevelopment. It figures to be a critical step in a plan that goes back some eight years, when the town’s elected leaders watched as communities struggled to replace departing tenants at large, single-user campuses. Bedminster Mayor Larry Jacobs said the township is now beginning to field inquiries about the AT&T campus, having worked with the property’s owner and Somerset County officials on the rezoning plan.
“Our preference was that AT&T would stay and grow at the property,” said Jacobs, who is a practicing environmental and land use attorney — and a past chair of the Urban Land Institute’s Northern New Jersey chapter. “But at the same time we had to recognize economic realities and corporate life in the 2020s and that these million-square-foot, single-user campuses may not be current for today’s mode of business.”
Our May issue also takes you inside the new headquarters of CSG Law, one of the state’s largest and most influential law firms. The practice opened its doors recently at 105 Eisenhower Parkway in Roseland, providing a space that’s meant to rival other modern corporate offices. As you’ll read, employees and visitors will find the influence of both COVID-19 and CSG’s own changing philosophy during some five years of planning. There is an emphasis on mobility and flexibility, evident by the firm’s decision to abandon landlines in favor of a Zoom platform. It also decided that each lawyer’s office would be virtually identical in terms of size and furniture — in the interest of equality and efficiency — while corner spaces that would historically go to top producers are among the office’s more than 40 conference and meeting rooms.
Elsewhere in this edition, we highlight the still-growing demand for film and television production space in New Jersey, thanks in large part to generous tax incentives. That has sparked a boom in studio construction and a new market for commercial spaces that can be used as set locations, as state officials take new steps to help more municipalities reap the benefits.
Spring is in full swing, and so is the industry’s busy calendar of events. We’re happy to once again be part of the festivities with our own upcoming program, The Newark Redevelopment Update, which is slated for June 7 on the New Jersey Institute of Technology campus in the city. We’re excited to bring you another star-studded panel featuring the likes of John Saraceno, Marc Berson, Frank Giantomasi, Sam Chapin, Chris Watson and Tom Walsh, our moderator, and we hope to see you there.
Until then, thanks for reading and enjoy the issue!