Thor Equities recently started construction in its plan to overhaul a 95 Greene St., a 350,000-square-foot building in Jersey City, where it aims to attract life sciences users. Those plans include extensive upgrades to mechanicals, HVAC, vertical conduits and a new rooftop generator, along with a new prebuilt lab suite on the third floor, which it will deliver by late this summer. — Courtesy: Thor Equities
You may have heard by now about the rush for life sciences space in the wake of last year’s COVID-19 outbreak, which could still continue even after the virus is under control. New Jersey, of course, should stand to benefit with a deep pool of intellectual talent that rose to the occasion in the nation’s fight against the pandemic.
That’s the good news, but tapping into that demand remains somewhat complicated. We’ve reported in recent years that the many large research campuses left behind by Big Pharma have served as facilities for a new generation of startups and life sciences companies in New Jersey. But with many of those campuses now full, the state is seemingly undersupplied in an asset class that may be too expensive to build on spec.
And, as you’ll read in this month’s cover story, speed to market has become increasingly important to lab and R&D users. Stakeholders highlighted that growing challenge during a recent NAIOP New Jersey panel discussion, noting that the state’s lack of move-in-ready lab space puts us at a disadvantage to competing markets. That disadvantage only grows when you consider the state’s lengthy approval process for new construction, as developers on the panel pointed out, casting it as yet another reason for reforming the Municipal Land Use Law.
Prism Capital Partners’ Gene Diaz summed it up as such:
“New Jersey, to me, is in an absolute perfect position to attract the best of the best,” he said. “We’ve got to speed things up. Our speed to market has to change dramatically.”
Our March edition also features Branchburg-based Larken Associates and its growing list of luxury multifamily projects. The firm is building this pipeline after more than five decades of focusing on commercial buildings and single-family housing. In the process, it’s bringing new upscale apartments to suburban locations such as Lopatcong, Hillsborough and Readington, with more to come as it targets underserved markets around the region.
Elsewhere in this issue, we showcase a recent panel discussion on investment trends after a year like no other. According to panelists at the annual Emerging Trends program, hosted by the Urban Land Institute of Northern New Jersey, institutional buyers appear poised to accelerate their commercial real estate spending in 2021. The Garden State and other suburban markets could benefit in the near term as investors await the return of New York City — especially in an apartment sector that is regaining its footing after stumbling during the pandemic.
We hope there’s more good news to come this year like the kind you’ll find in this month’s Roundtable section, which highlights how far lenders have come since the start of the pandemic. Most are still leery of the hardest-hit asset classes in commercial real estate, according to our participants, but still eager to get back to business.
You can find those features and more in our March issue, which comes with the promise of warmer weather and continued progress toward the reopening of our state. Until then, thanks for reading and enjoy the issue!