Jersey is looking better all the time — especially the suburbs. That’s my conclusion after reading a new Rutgers University report that provides an impressive amount of detail and analysis on economic, demographic and market trends which can help public officials plan for the future in ways that may help regenerate our suburbs and the overall state economy.
My hope for 2020 is that our government officials will find the courage and willingness to tackle some thorny issues, including: overhaul New Jersey’s retirement and health care plans for state and school employees, consolidate school districts and remove barriers to allow regionalization of tax assessment, health services, municipal courts and fire and police services. If tackled, these measures will, over time, provide for better care and services to taxpayers while freeing up billions of dollars to invest in infrastructure, retraining and education programs and reducing the crushing tax burden on residents and businesses.
Times are good now for the commercial and industrial real estate industry, and those professionals that comprise NAIOP are an integral component in successful economic development projects. These same industry professionals also are doing great things for our fellow New Jerseyans.
Messaging from Trenton over the last several months, “airing dirty laundry” and delayed payments and responses to companies involved in the state’s incentive programs are scaring away legitimate businesses from setting roots in New Jersey. Businesses need certainty and clarity. Why don’t we pivot the conversation to one about how to make robust investments in our people and infrastructure without any further distractions and political roadblocks?
Industrial real estate is still surging as commercial real estate’s hottest property type, and that’s no more evident than right here in New Jersey, providing a chance to showcase the innovation and creativity that’s taking place in the industry.
Legislation was enacted last November that requires NJ Transit to establish an office of real estate economic development and transit-oriented development to assess all its properties and annually recommend how best to increase NJT’s non-fare revenues. The goal is to enable NJT to have more funds to invest in its operations, maintenance and capital projects in order to improve performance for bus, rail and light rail passengers.
April 22 is Earth Day, always a great time to reflect on what we as citizens can do to make the planet a little greener: reducing waste, conserving energy, reusing or donating products and recycling.
Commercial real estate developers and their professionals are a tough breed of entrepreneurs who thrive on thinking outside the box. My recent observation of presentations to the judges for NAIOP’s Deal of the Year awards (to be announced at the May 16 Gala), confirmed the latent creativity and tireless work ethic in this business — a business that is, in reality, all about hospitality and human resources as developers and brokers focus on creating amenity-rich spaces to compete for tenants and the modern workforce.
Gov. Phil Murphy will give his budget message to the Legislature on Tuesday, March 5. As the voice of the commercial real estate development industry in New Jersey, NAIOP’s attention will be focused on the messaging that emanates from Trenton. Given the headlines over the last several months, we are rightly concerned about the state’s fiscal health and its ability to withstand a recession, which is all but certain by 2020.
A newly elected Congress returns in January with Republicans enjoying a slightly expanded majority in the Senate and Democrats taking charge of the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010. I believe that the shift of power in the House to a Democratic majority has opened some opportunities for those of us in New Jersey commercial real estate.