For all the buzz around walkable, urban submarkets and higher-density workplaces, our readers have never lost interest in the fate of the Merck property in Whitehouse Station. I was reminded of that on Jan. 3, when a story about a potential buyer for the complex quickly became the most-read item we’ve ever had on RE-NJ.com.
As you’ll read in this month’s cover story, a joint venture is banking on health care as a key ingredient in a long-awaited, mixed-use project in Gloucester County. Consider that the 35-acre development, known as Washington Square Town Center, includes a 40,000-square-foot medical office building as a way to balance the amount of retail on the site. The plan also calls for a 110-bed assisted living facility, which will provide the tax revenue that might otherwise come from a more traditional commercial use.
As you’ll read in this month’s cover story, Vision Real Estate has thrived with what it describes as “an assembly line mentality” for transforming old corporate campuses, with the right mix of creativity and capital and a full-service, in-house team that has landed some of the state’s most coveted tenants. It’s now building on that track record with other high-profile projects in Morris County and a growing list of value-add investments across northern and central New Jersey.
As you’ll find out in this month’s cover story, developers and brokers that have long focused on New Jersey are now stretching beyond the traditional boundaries of the state’s industrial market. And they are stretching them in every direction — for different reasons — in their quest to keep pace with tenants that are adopting a more regional approach.
Our July cover story takes a look at the growth of medical retail and all of the nuances that come along with it. For one thing, there seems to have been a perfect storm that paved the way for this movement: Retail was hurting after the Great Recession, while the Affordable Care Act expanded the insured population and changed how health care was delivered. As you might guess, New Jersey was impacted by these forces as much as any other market.
Even before I started covering commercial real estate full-time, I still came across development stories during my earlier days as a metro reporter in Central Jersey. One of those stories came when I was covering Bound Brook, a borough in Somerset County that had a tired downtown and a history of being battered by flooding from the Raritan River. But in early 2011, we learned that a developer named George Capodagli was interested in building the type of new apartments that were starting to crop up elsewhere in the state.
No matter how much I write about commercial real estate, it’s never enough for me to fully appreciate the connection between a developer and one of his or her buildings. That said, Peter Sudler summed it up well enough earlier this year, when he spoke about demolishing a vacant, antiquated office building to make way for a new industrial development.
Insiders say that now is the time to discern which municipalities will be receptive to the prospect of legalized recreational cannabis, if and when it becomes a legal industry in New Jersey. That prospect is likely many months from being a reality, if not more, but the concept has the support of Gov. Phil Murphy and several well-known lawmakers.
For all the time we’ve spent highlighting New Jersey’s glut of sprawling, vacant corporate campuses, it’s easy to lose sight of just how many of them have been rescued in recent years by some of the state’s boldest and most inventive developers. Those success stories are worth telling, which is why we often do at Real Estate NJ. But there are underlying trends or nuances in some of those projects that don’t get as much attention on a day-to-day basis. Like how a crop of innovative, lesser-known biotech and pharmaceutical firms are backfilling space at the former research campuses of Sanofi and Hoffmann-LaRoche, helping to stabilize those sites as their new owners pursue larger redevelopment plans.
As we’ve been reminded over the last two years, industry leaders have long feared that federal tax reform could spell the end of many of the loopholes enjoyed by developers and investors. It became clear last fall that benefits such as the 1031 exchange would live to see another day, but as we came to learn, that was just the beginning of how the commercial real estate sector would stand to gain under President Trump’s tax overhaul.