Our Experts Talk Liquor Licenses, the Supreme Court and the Future of NJ Multifamily
Next year promises to be another hot one for New Jersey multifamily, but there will be bumps in the road—such as finding good development sites, dealing with construction costs and providing affordable units, among other headaches, said the speakers at our NJ Multifamily Bonanza event.
Canoe Brook Management managing member Carl Goldberg (right) gave the keynote, which was moderated by Marcus & Millichap regional manager Brian Hosey. Carl, who also co-chairs the newly formed Center for Real Estate Studies at Rutgers, says the goal is to make a Rutgers master's in real estate one of the top such degrees in the country.
Regarding the state of the multifamily market in NJ, Carl stressed the legislature is going to have to address affordable housing obligations, since the numbers now are unrealistic. Other issues facing the state are reforming liquor licensing—that's more important for real estate than is generally thought, since it impacts mixed-use development—and expanding gaming in the state, which Carl favors.
The opportunities for multifamily development in New Jersey are largely transit-oriented, our panelists said, and in urban infill locations. They appeals to Millennials, who want to live and work in urban cores.
Places such as Bayonne, for instance, hold considerable promise for multifamily. Even suburban locations with some elements of city living (especially transit) are attractive. In any case, Millennials are driving developments—though Baby Boomers aren't out of the picture yet. They too want to be in TODs in infill locations. Snapped: Pennrose SVP Timothy Henkel and Mill Creek Residential Trust development associate Anthony Vulpi.
As for more traditional suburban towns, they aren't going to be able to grow unless they embrace multifamily development and new modes of transit, our speakers noted. Also important to the future pattern of multifamily development in the state, especially affordable housing development, is the Supreme Court decision on the Fair Housing Act earlier this year.
Municipalities need to figure out how they're going to embrace affordable housing—as well as middle-income housing. Here's Partner Engineering & Science discipline leader Adam Alexander, who moderated, LCOR SVP James Driscoll and Ingerman development principal Lara Schwager.
Do Millennials really want less space but more amenities? It's certainly true that in terms of amenities, there's something of an arms race going on among developers to see who can offer the next big thing (pet spas, golf simulators and more).
As for apartment unit size, many people do seem willing to trade off space for a better location, though not all of the speakers believed that very small units—so-called micro-units—are ever going to be anything more than a niche demand. BNE Real Estate Group partner Jonathan Schwartz, Fields Development Group partner James Caulfield and Toll Brothers VP Bryan Oos.
Millennials are looking for apartment properties that offer a better experience, rather than simply a place to live, but they won't necessarily need smaller units as time passes, our speakers said. In some places, especially waterfront areas where schools have been improving in recent years—Edgewater, North Bergen, Weehawken, for instance—more families are choosing to stay in rental properties, and they need larger units. Russo Development CEO Ed Russo, HFF senior managing director Jose Cruz and CohnReznick partner Sharon Gordon, who also moderated.