In listening to the presentations by the eight finalists for NAIOP’s annual Deal of the Year competition, what struck me most was the collaborative nature and level of cooperation that is taking place among all the participants in both the public and private sectors. It wasn’t always this way.
The shortage of labor with the right skillset and talent is being felt across all sectors and is much more pronounced in some parts of our state. Building owners, businesses, communities and government officials — all of whom are in the real estate business, need to take steps to attract the younger generations who are today’s and tomorrow’s consumers and workforce.
Admittedly, “this (tax reform) legislation represents an important victory for NAIOP members and the commercial real estate industry. The first major tax reform in more than three decades, the Act recognizes the important contribution that commercial real estate is making to the economy by supporting pro-growth initiatives and acknowledging the long-term nature of commercial real estate investment.”
While many New Jersey residents and business owners are rightfully concerned about the potential adverse impacts from federal tax reform measures at the same time as increases to state taxes are being discussed by Gov.-elect Phil Murphy and our Legislature, let’s not overlook the possible ways that local mayors can help to ameliorate this situation.
NAIOP’s premier industry event this fall was CRE.Converge 2017 in Chicago, which attracted nearly 1,500 attendees from across North America. Held Oct. 10 to 12, the conference provided valuable insights into cutting-edge trends in the commercial real estate industry and projections for the future.
As our next governor focuses on making our state more affordable for both businesses and residents, it would make sense to ramp up efforts to cut red tape by eliminating ineffective rules and empowering qualified private-sector professionals to handle more administrative work, technical reviews and project approvals.
Our next governor and new Legislature best be laser-focused on two immediate priorities: investing and deploying critical resources into our transportation system and stimulating permanent property tax reductions through shared services and municipal consolidations.
As an advocate for the commercial and industrial real estate industry in New Jersey, I am impressed with the progress that has occurred over the last few years in the operation of our Port of New York and New Jersey. Serving on the Council on Port Performance has given me an opportunity to weigh in on and observe numerous programs and initiatives to improve efficiency and service reliability at the port, which benefits our transportation, distribution and logistics industry. This collaborative effort has and continues to tackle various issues related to operational efficiency, including increasing vessel size, labor shortages, shortage of chassis, operating system failures and disruptions — such as Superstorm Sandy, blizzards and construction. With a shared goal of enhanced port operations, the diverse council members deliberate, share information and advocate for reforms that have impact.
As we prepare for the next governor and potential changes in the Legislature, it is important to recognize what New Jersey has accomplished in the last several years, continue this momentum and support these programs and initiatives. Our economy is certainly getting better, based on all the construction taking place and today’s low unemployment rate. Affordability and stagnant wages, however, remain challenges to many and are a big reason why a huge proportion of millennials are still living at home with their parents. Without immigration, our population would be dwindling.
In a state where available industrial space is already in short supply due to our exploding e-commerce sector, asking prices and rents for older and smaller industrial buildings may soon be rising dramatically. Also on the rise will be demand for the power needed to fuel plant growth and maintain proper growing conditions.