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We touched on the public sector panel at our recent Future of South Jersey Real Estate event. Our private sector panel also had plenty to say about the Southern Jersey market and its near future.
Gary Green of Archer & Greiner, George Sowa of Brandywine, and Archer & Greiner chairman James Carll
Here's moderator Gary Green of sponsor Archer & Greiner, kickin' it pre-game style with fellow panelist George Sowa and Archer & Greiner chairman James Carll. Gary's questions ran the gamut: Where's the majority of the demand coming from for South Jersey space? Are low lease numbers in office buildings the result of increased telecommuting? Are other regional submarkets doing better than South Jersey or worse?
Jamie Whitesell, of Whitesell Construction
According to Jamie Whitesell of Whitesell Construction Co, the majority of the demand is coming from within the market. As for the few Northern Jersey companies beginning to travel southward down the pike, they're choosing well-positioned sites that are right off the interstate, he says. (Don't wanna get too far off the highway in South Jersey; there's tales of a devil that lives in the woods.)
Sam Leone of Conifer Realty, Mark Goldstein of Liberty Property Trust, George Sowa of Brandywine
"Historically, there's always been an industry to fill the void in Southern Jersey," says Liberty Property Trust's Mark Goldstein(center). In the past, it was defense and finance firms; now it's the one-two knockout punch of eds and meds that seems to be saving the state. (Then doctors and teachers scoot down to Cape May as fishing buddies.) Want proof? Mark says one out of every 4.5 SF in LPT's Burlington County portfolio is "either directly medical-related, or is a [medical] support service."
Sam Leone of Conifer Realty, Mark Goldstein of Liberty Property Trust
Aside from meds and eds, multifamily is very much among the living in South Jersey, says Conifer Realty's Sam Leone (left). He says that while Philly-area multifamily might finally be reaching the top of the bubble, many South Jersey counties didn’t have a lot of multifamily to begin with. Waiting lists for potential tenants are now common in the area.
Mark Goldstein of Liberty Property Trust, George Sowa of Brandywine, Charlie Walters of Pureland
Thankfully, reanimated CRE segments aren't the only story in South Jersey: According to Brandywine's George Sowa (center), outdated office buildings are coming back to life as well, thanks to smart repositioning tactics. Brandywine recently spent north of $1M to repurpose a formerly 100% leased office after two major tenants vacated. "We used it as an opportunity to reposition in anticipation of market recovery," George says.
Gary Green, Jamie Whitesell, Sam Leone
And here's Jamie again (bumblebee tie), answering a question from Gary about what it'll take for the region to start developing again. "I think some of it's linked to incentives that companies from outside the area might have to come to New Jersey." But major companies use a multi-state approach when they're looking to expand, he says. "And they're trying to find [the state that'll] give them the best deal."
Reznick Group's William Riley Jr, Michelle Benner of Archer & Greiner
We snapped this of Reznick Group's William Riley Jr stuffing his pockets full of promotional highlighters while Michelle Benner of valued sponsor Archer & Greiner smiles for the camera, none the wiser. Well done, William. Well done.