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.
Hear directly from Editor Joshua Burd as he brings you the highlights of this month’s issue of Real Estate NJ and his observations from recent interviews.
Finding a spark
We all know that developing in New Jersey is not for the faint of heart. Just ask any of the countless builders who have endured delays or scrapped projects altogether in the face of pushback by residents and a litany of regulatory hurdles.
The flip side? A supportive local government can go a long way in sparking new investment, as we’ve seen in what appears to be a growing list of municipalities in our state. That group includes the city of Orange in eastern Essex County, where at least 1,000 luxury apartments have been planned near two train stations with Midtown Direct service. As you’ll read in this month’s cover story, the projects have the potential to breathe new life into the town of 30,000 residents in 2.2 square miles, following decades of struggles despite its prime location on Interstate 280 and just west of Newark.
As you’ll read in this month’s cover story, Accurate has been prolific in filling its development pipeline, moving decisively to secure new projects in the state and elsewhere. It now has construction underway, approvals in place or sites under control to build another roughly 6,400 apartments and townhomes, including more than 4,000 units in Newark, where it’s leading the sweeping redevelopment of the former Riverfront Stadium property.
Taking the lead
As you’ll read in this month’s cover story, the state’s Community Solar Energy Pilot Program has made it both easier and more lucrative for commercial property owners in New Jersey to go green, allowing solar developers to lease their rooftops and sell power to nearby residents. The policy has been critical to the growth of Solar Landscape, a solar developer founded in 2012 that’s been integral to the program’s rollout. Based in Asbury Park, the 10-year-old firm has leased more than 20 million square feet of rooftop space in New Jersey, making it a key player in the commercial real estate market in just a few years.
As you’ll read in this month’s cover story, the large, high-profile office deal is alive and well in the pandemic’s aftermath, as blue-chip employers make major investments in their physical footprint. That’s evident by several outsized leases in New Jersey this year of 100,000 square feet or greater, and market experts say there are likely more to come, as corporations look to support their growth while creating a “commute-worthy” environment for its distributed workforce.
Bolstering the ranks
As you’ll read in this month’s cover story, Prologis’ growing team is supporting a portfolio that now spans 44 million square feet across 200 properties in New Jersey and New York. Growing that footprint will come in a number of ways, Harty said, including the types of creative, value-add projects that involve redeveloping former office campuses. That, in turn, requires additional development and construction personnel like the kind that Prologis has added in recent months. And it comes as the company also hires for what’s known as its Essentials platform, which provides services to tenants such as helping them source materials for their building fit-outs, in a bid to engage them “beyond the four walls and the real estate.”
Out of the shadows
In this month’s cover story we highlights the plan to restore and reactivate the property’s long-dormant and long-vacant ferry terminal. The master development team at LCOR envisions it as a unique destination for commuters, city residents and visitors — and as the centerpiece of the plan called Hoboken Connect — which became clearer after I recently toured the space with the firm’s Brian Barry. The building’s second floor, with its 21-foot ceiling heights and a large, column-less floorplate stretching nearly 500 feet, has all the makings of such a destination and the potential to achieve one of LCOR and NJ Transit’s top objectives: opening the terminal to the public while enhancing the commuter experience.