By Joshua Burd
Pierson Commercial has reported strong leasing activity across a range of retail properties, from a highway shopping center in Hazlet to a new-look transit hub in downtown Newark.
According to the brokerage team, the transactions include 44,805 square feet in recent tenant commitments at Hazlet Town Center, a 203,912-square-foot complex at Route 35 and Bethany Road in Hazlet. The firm represents ownership at the refreshed and rebranded property, citing continued interest in neighborhood and community retail destinations.
Pierson, which is based in Marlboro, has also completed several deals this year at The Shops at Pier Village in Long Branch. The transactions will bring Starbucks and the acclaimed national Japanese steakhouse Koto Asian Bistro to the mixed-use property, along with the women’s boutique aXd by Alba and several other tenants.
“The retail sector continues to enjoy a strong, enduring recovery with operators of all shapes and sizes being persistent when it comes to redefining their concepts and what they offer consumers,” said Jason Pierson, the company’s president. “Shopping is no longer an action. It is a multi-tiered experience. From online to offline, today’s hybrid retail journey ultimately leads to the store down the road or the one that is just steps from places of work. Simply put: It is the one that is most convenient.”
Pierson’s other high-profile assignments include the Junction at the Gateway Center, which spans 100,000 square feet at the newly revitalized office complex in downtown Newark. The space in recent months has attracted 12 new tenants, the firm said, including eight grab-and-go and full-service restaurants in addition to Mokbar, a Korean food concept founded by renowned chef Esther Choi, along with One Step Ahead Learning & Performing Arts Center and Serafina, the well-known Manhattan eatery.
The brokerage team’s work in Newark comes as it also expands its presence in nearby Hudson County, with a focus on securing assignments in Jersey City and Hoboken.
“The days of seismic shifts have given way to gradual pivoting when it comes to strategy and philosophy of local, regional and national operators,” said Pierson, whose firm also has a New York City office. “It is the former — when retailers had to rapidly adjust their sails at a time there was so much unknown about the COVID-19 virus and its lasting impact — that has established the groundwork for current practices and future trends.”
The veteran broker added that larger retailers are now eyeing shopping centers to deliver smaller-format concepts to their customers. He also cited the growth of buy online, pick up in store or curbside options among supermarket anchors and food service providers, feeding the demand for so-called omni-channel retail.
“Regardless of size or goods (and) services being delivered, retailers recognize and acknowledge the power of local, immediate-area connectivity and how it fosters customer loyalty,” Pierson said. “In short, consumers retain the desire to engage in a store-based shopping experience and the act of making purchases near one’s home and workplace. For this reason, brick-and-mortar stores continue to provide value to retailers because they strengthen a customer’s relationship to the brand.”
New-look Gateway taking shape in Newark, with commitments from eight new restaurants