JLL is marketing a 36-acre development site along Route 1 in New Brunswick — Courtesy: JLL
By Joshua Burd
The owner of a 36-acre development site in New Brunswick is seeking a buyer, with brokers touting its location along Route 1 and its proximity to New Jersey’s three largest employers.
A team with JLL is marketing the property, which includes four buildings just south of the Route 18 interchange and minutes from the city’s downtown. Two of the buildings span more than 170,000 square feet and were formerly home to Sears and Sears Auto Center, while the site also features two retail pads that are leased by Houlihan’s and On The Border.
In announcing the offering, JLL noted that the parcel provides easy access to RWJBarnabas Health, Rutgers University’s flagship New Brunswick campuses and Johnson & Johnson’s world headquarters. The three organizations are the state’s largest employers by headcount.
JLL is targeting a roughly $23 million sale price.
“High wage earners from the (northern New Jersey) and New York City metro areas have fueled demand for luxury housing in New Brunswick,” the firm wrote in its offering materials. “The new trend of ‘lifestyle renters’ opting to live in high employment areas closer to work, entertainment venues and transit have been a fueling factor for New Brunswick’s apartment market.
“The demand for rental housing is further fueled in New Brunswick by the transient population attending Rutgers University or working at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.”
The brokerage team highlighted the site as a prime location for student housing, one of several redevelopment options. With nearly 70,000 students in New Brunswick, JLL said Rutgers has a vast undersupply of on-campus housing.
“In addition to the low supply of housing provided by the university, the average year the existing housing in New Brunswick was built is 1963,” JLL said. “The majority of the housing stock was built in the 1950s and the typical two-student dorm measures less than 300 square feet.”
RWJBarnabas, Rutgers and J&J have a combined 15,600 employees in the area, the firm added, while also pointing to other employers such as St. Peter’s Healthcare System and Middlesex County. The site’s location on Route 1 is also about 20 minutes from the Princeton submarket, which is home to some of the state’s top corporate employers.
Additionally, the property is minutes from the New Jersey Turnpike and the New Brunswick train station.
The JLL marketing team includes Jose Cruz, Steve Simonelli, Mark Mahasky, Michael Oliver, David F. Monahan and Michael Kavanagh, while Matthew Pizzolato is overseeing financing.
“With demographic shifts and millennial sentiment changing, migration back to suburban centers will increase in the upcoming family forming years, with a strong focus on transit-oriented downtowns and nearby retail amenities, such as those in New Brunswick,” JLL said. “While the 2008 housing crisis sentiment has slowly faded over the last cycle, the COVID-19 ‘shock’ will further push people back to suburbia, drawn to increased space affordability and school systems. Centrally located suburban multifamily properties in amenity-rich and transit-oriented locations will benefit the most from this migration.”