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  through the Legislature ... At the township level, there’s so many municipalities, I don’t see us
being able to do a really good, coordinated effort except through the League of Municipalities. One of the other things we want to look at is potentially partnering with some other groups to just give ourselves a little more volume as far as the constituency that actually isn’t against everything that’s proposed — trade associations and some other groups as well.
RENJ: The League of Municipalities is interesting because you don’t
see a lot of partnership there historically between the league and the commercial real estate industry.
MS: No, but we’re hoping that we can get some education through that group, because they are the ones that disseminate guidance to the municipalities.
RENJ: Remediation is almost a given for industrial development these days, but it still seems like, outside of the residents of that town, it’s probably not widely known how much environmental cleanup you’re doing in the state.
MS: I would say, even inside of the town, most people have no idea how dirty some of these sites have been. And a lot of the ones that we’ve done anywhere north of, call it, Exit 9, has been some kind of environmental remediation. That’s the nature of ‘Welcome to New Jersey.’
RENJ: In the meantime, membership in the chapter seems like it’s growing at a good clip.
MS: The membership is really strong. I think we want to see continued diversity in that membership as we
Rendering courtesy: Rockefeller Group
Rockefeller Group’s pipeline in New Jersey includes a nearly 655,000-square-foot warehouse project at 85 Main St. in Spotswood.
go forward. We have a really strong Developing Leaders program, which is going to be the next generation
of leaders, so I like to focus on that. I think identifying talent and folks that can help serve for the long haul is important.
RENJ: Is anybody still talking about COVID impacting their business?
MS: We all talk about it, but I don’t know that it’s getting in the way. The bigger COVID issue is really the return to the office for (members) that are more office-centric. And they’re trying to figure out ways to get occupants back in their building on a more full-time basis.
RENJ: Let’s talk about your day job. What’s front and center for Rockefeller Group in New Jersey?
MS: We’re continually looking. It’s gotten harder to make the numbers work with the capital markets kind
of being in flux, but we haven’t
put our pencils down. We’re still working, still actively seeking deals, and the fundamentals of the market are still really strong. Vacancy is really low. Rent growth continues. Rental rates are strong. It’s really just the capital markets that are
in flux right now because of the interest rate increases and just uncertainty in the market.
RENJ: The Spotswood site
is fascinating because of its manufacturing history and its location in a small town in Middlesex County. Have you seen that Exit 9 submarket emerge as a viable option over the last couple years?
MS: I think it’s always been viable. There just hasn’t been any land there, there hasn’t been any real density of any kind of development there, so it’s been pretty stagnant
for a very long time. With the site we’re working on, the construction, I think, began in (the 1920s) on the factory that was there, so it’s been industrial for a long time. I think the market has moved a little bit. It’s relatively close to the port, and we just like it as a Turnpike access, port access location.
RENJ: Generally speaking, are there still old industrial sites in New Jersey that are potentially ripe to be repositioned and redeveloped?
MS: There’s a ton. We’re not built out or redeveloped out. ... The thing is, when the capital markets seize up, we effectively become built
out, because no one wants to take those risks. When it frees up a little bit more and the capital’s flowing
a little bit more freely, people will take more risks and put sites into production that would not have been in production before. RE
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