By Joshua Burd
The escalating coronavirus crisis rippled through New Jersey’s commercial real estate sector on Thursday, as two top trade associations were among those to postpone upcoming events.
Late Thursday afternoon, the New Jersey Builders Association announced that it would postpone the high-profile Atlantic Builders Convention, its signature conference and trade show. Scheduled for April 1 and 2, the event was expected to draw thousands of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors from throughout the region to Atlantic City.
The announcement came after Gov. Phil Murphy recommended the cancellation of all public gatherings of more than 250 people, a dramatic step in the effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. As of Thursday afternoon, officials had identified 29 presumptive positive cases in New Jersey, including six new cases that were announced, as the pandemic rippled through the U.S. economy, sporting events and the state’s education system.
NJBA said its decision was based on Murphy’s recommendation and “an abundance of caution for the safety of our members, attendees and exhibitors.” The association said it was identifying new dates and would communicate additional details as they become available.
Earlier in the day, NAIOP New Jersey announced the postponement of its annual Public Policy Symposium, a popular event that typically draws top lawmakers and other experts. The event was scheduled for today in New Brunswick, with an agenda that included a keynote speech by Senate President Steve Sweeney.
Other gatherings are likely to be impacted in the coming weeks as the industry gears up for its busy spring event season. Meantime, many of the state’s commercial real estate and professional service firms were among those whose offices were closed and whose employees were told to work remotely.