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14 JANUARY 2023
 Local pushback is nothing new for the commercial real estate sector, but developers in New Jersey have faced increasingly fierce resistance to the types of warehouse projects that have helped sustain
the industry in recent years.
Such is the challenge for Rockefeller Group’s Mark Shearer, who is set to become NAIOP New Jersey’s chapter president starting in late January.
“Right now, we have certain municipalities that are fantastic to work with, and some that clearly don’t want any development,” he said. “So we want to try to do a little more outreach and education that we are of value to the community, and we can help actually push
the township agendas forward, as
opposed to just taking.
By Joshua Burd
NAIOP, the commercial real estate
who joined Rockefeller in 2018 as its senior managing director for
the New Jersey and Pennsylvania region. “If we’re all having the same problem, that’s how we can address it. As individuals, we tend to move on to the next thing.”
Shearer will helm the chapter’s volunteer leadership while
also leading his firm’s regional development team, which has built more than 5.5 million square feet of industrial space in the past five years. It’s now completing
a 345,600-square-foot project in Eastampton, while its current pipeline of some 6 million square feet in New Jersey and Pennsylvania includes a nearly 655,000-square- foot project in Spotswood, along with opportunities in Carneys
Point, Piscataway, Philadelphia and elsewhere.
To talk about it all, Real Estate NJ met with Shearer in mid-December at Rockefeller Group’s regional office in downtown Morristown. Below are excerpts from the interview, edited for space and clarity.
REAL ESTATE NJ: You became a NAIOP New Jersey trustee in 2016. How does your job change as president?
MARK SHEARER: I think the real change is you are now the face. The organization is so well run with the staff, with (CEO) Mike McGuinness and the rest of the team. It’s pretty much following their script and following the board’s script. The stuff that we pursue is decided
on at the board level and, as the president, you just become the face of it.
RENJ: With respect to anti- warehouse sentiment, what recourse is there at the state level when much of the pushback is coming from individual municipalities?
Shearer, NAIOP New Jersey ready for more proactive approach to anti-warehouse sentiment
“I think we need to do a better job of advocating for ourselves, so I think that’s going be a big push in the early part of (2023), just making sure that the information that’s
out there is accurate,” he added. “There’s a lot of disinformation — that we pollute, that we do all of these other things — but we (as
an industry) have cleaned up more environmentally contaminated
sites than anyone would care to admit were even in New Jersey, and the way that happens is through economic development. Without that, these sites will just sit there and stay polluted.”
Those conversations are well underway with lawmakers in Trenton and other stakeholders as
association, seeks to promote the benefits of industrial projects and “make sure that the entitlement process is as uniform as we can get it across municipalities.” Broadly speaking, he said it’s crucial for the chapter to not simply oppose public policy, but “help on the front end” when laws and regulations are being crafted.
They’re among several areas of focus for Shearer and a chapter that has grown to some 850 members. That constituency is “really strong” and increasingly diverse, which
the veteran developer hopes will continue under his two-year term.
“I think we learn a lot from our peers, and I think we come up with commonality,” said Shearer,
 Photo by Aaron Houston for Real Estate NJ
Mark Shearer, senior managing director for Rockefeller Group’s New Jersey and Pennsylvania region, is set to begin a two-year term as NAIOP New Jersey’s chapter president. He’ll assume the post amid increasingly fierce resistance to warehouse development in the state, but he expects the association to expand its outreach to policymakers and take a more proactive approach to highlight the value of such projects

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