My first encounter with Jack Klugmann came in 2018 at the groundbreaking for Crossings at Raritan, a 276-unit luxury apartment complex in Somerset County. As I wrote at the time, he stepped to the podium and had barely begun speaking when an NJ Transit train rumbled past nearby, prompting a smile from the developer as he continued his remarks.
“I was hoping for this to happen,” he joked, in a moment of levity that he seemed all too comfortable with. “That’s the biggest amenity and the best amenity that we have.”
Klugmann has not lost his sense of humor, despite having carved out a serious role in New Jersey’s commercial real estate industry. Accurate, his Lakewood-based development firm, has completed some 1,000 residential units in New Jersey since 2021, with much more still to come. As you’ll read in this month’s cover story, the firm has been prolific in filling its development pipeline, moving decisively to secure new projects in the state and elsewhere. It now has construction underway, approvals in place or sites under control to build another roughly 6,400 apartments and townhomes, including more than 4,000 units in Newark, where it’s leading the sweeping redevelopment of the former Riverfront Stadium property.
Our February issue also highlights the newly built, sprawling industrial park known as Linden Logistics Center, which has transformed a property that saw more than a century of chemical manufacturing and decades of inactivity. Its developers are nearing completion after delivering nearly 3.8 million square feet over four years, a span in which industrial demand rose to historic highs before the recent economic uncertainty. Notably, they’re now mulling plans to convert the site’s final parcel to a lot for 500 trailer stalls, reflecting the growing market for industrial outdoor storage even as traditional warehouse requirements take a step back.
Elsewhere in this edition, we hear from landlords and brokers who say that big-box retail is alive and well in New Jersey, despite years of chain bankruptcies and store closings by the likes of Toys R Us, Sears and Sports Authority. While the operators had seemingly left a glut of empty, hulking spaces in malls and shopping centers, experts say those physical voids are handily being filled by retailers such as Burlington, Ross, T.J. Maxx, Alta and others, thanks in part to owners that have become more agile in how they market their spaces. It all bodes well for a sector that still faces headwinds. Look no further than New Jersey’s own Party City and Bed Bath & Beyond.
With the new year underway, New Jersey’s commercial real estate sector has stayed active on many fronts. It’s the latest reminder of the industry’s underlying strength in the face of a possible economic downturn. We’re also seeing some positive news for the market on the public policy front, from the prospect of liquor license reform to a new law that allows builders to hire third-party code inspectors. You can read all about it in our February issue and, as always, online at www.RE-NJ.com. Until next time, thanks for reading and enjoy the issue!