We’ve heard it all too often in recent years. New Jersey’s office market is a game of musical chairs, as tenants move from one building to another without necessarily increasing their footprint. True, landlords are upgrading buildings in order to lure these companies from their previous locations (and we certainly applaud that), but that does nothing to help lower those stubbornly high statewide vacancy rates. With little job growth among our existing tenants, we can only hope to foster new industries altogether or lure companies from other states.
The co-working and flexible space industry offers us a chance to do a little bit of both.
As you’ll read in this month’s cover story, New Jersey has only scratched the surface in this sector, despite the fact that it is experiencing rapid growth in New York City and other major markets. Fortunately, we’re hearing that the Garden State is poised to grow its share. The industry’s biggest name, WeWork, has ramped up its search for space in New Jersey over the past year, which means its competitors may not be far behind. The requirements have the potential to further strengthen top submarkets such as the Hudson waterfront, while providing a needed boost in areas where vacancy remains high.
Our story also highlights the fact that New Jersey already has a budding co-working and flexible office space sector, which is driven by lesser-known, independent operators and landlords that are opting to provide the service directly. If nothing else, it shows that there is demand for these types of spaces here among smaller users. But New Jersey also has plenty of larger corporate occupiers that are increasingly the focus of WeWork and its peers.
This latest issue also highlights one of South Jersey’s most high-profile real estate projects: the 223-acre Garden State Park development in Cherry Hill. The property, the former site of an iconic horseracing track, already has more than 800,000 square feet of retail space and some 400 residential units, with more to come. But developers Jack Morris and Joe Marino are only adding to the destination with what will be the state’s first standalone sports bar and betting parlor, which they hope to deliver later this spring.
In our Personalities section, we profile architect Dean Marchetto and his Hoboken-based firm, Marchetto Higgins Stieve Architects. The industry veteran was on the front lines of Hoboken’s residential construction boom when it began nearly 40 years ago, which propelled the firm’s growth in its early years. But MHS is now growing more than ever before thanks to development outside Hudson County — namely, in suburban towns with train stations, where local officials hope to revive their downtowns with mixed-use projects.
Winter is all but behind us and we’re looking forward to a busy spring. The year is off to a good start for many of you — and we are always watching both Trenton and Washington — so there is no shortage of news to cover both in print and online. As always, we look forward to your questions, feedback and story ideas. Thanks for reading and enjoy the issue!