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PWC forum: Wealth of opportunity in New Jersey. (Transcripts).

"The sun is also rising in New Jersey and there is a wealth of opportunity," said Mitchell Hersh, CEO and director of Mack-Cali Realty Corporation at the "New Jersey Developers Forum" presented by Professional Women in Construction (PWC) on Jan. 24 at The Yale Club in New York City. His hopeful tone was echoed by the other speakers including Emanuel Stem, president and CEO of Hartz Mountain Industries who said he was "bullish about the region" despite the current downturn in the market.

James A. Gaddis, R.A., and Jacquelyn E. Wind, interior designer, the principals of Gaddis Wind Associates, and Gary Steinfield, vice president-development with AvalonBay Communities, rounded out the panel.

Lois Weiss, journalist with The New York Post, who reprised her role as moderator of PWC's series of developers forums, said, "Confidence will come back by the end of the year. Decentralization of corporations will afford new opportunities. New York and New Jersey need to work together. These are non-competing shores." PWC president Lenore Janis said, "I have great faith that we will see continuing development in New Jersey and that the ties between our neighboring states will only strengthen."

Gaddis and Wind discussed one of their major projects, the expansion of First Aviation Services (FAS), a private aircraft support facility at Teterboro Airport. Teterboro, the nation's third largest business aviation facility is located 14 miles from midtown Manhattan and is currently undergoing a $200 million capital improvement program.

First Aviation will replace its current space with a 130,000-SF facility to house two new hangars including amenities, offices, maintenance, shops and support facilities. As Teterboro is owned and operated by the Port Authority of NY & NJ, First Aviation, a certified WBE and a DBE (women-owned and disadvantaged enterprise), is committed to a minimum of 17% W/MBE participation.

Steinfield explained that AvalonBay (AVB), developers of upscale. residential apartment communities, is active in 17 markets across the U.S. including two under construction in central and northern New Jersey. AVB serves "renters by choice" who select AVB homes for their many conveniences including onsite amenities featuring clubrooms and extensive fitness facilities, and proximity to work and retail centers.

AVB's New Jersey portfolio includes both rental townhomes and single-story apartments and currently consists of more than 3,000 homes in nine apartment communities. In the works for the area is Avalon Run East II, a 312-apartment home community expected to break ground later this year in Lawrence Township next to two existing AVB communities.

Steinfield spoke of "the boom beyond the gloom," saying that job losses of New Jersey residents have had a "dramatic impact" on the housing market, creating a softening of demand and a flattening of or decrease of rents. On the plus side, the pace of job losses is slowing, office vacancy rates are about 5% in one of the area's major job centers, Jersey City, the region is undersupplied with high-end rental communities (with the exception of Jersey City), and" confidence in the region is good."

He explained that the exodus from lower Manhattan did not increase business occupancy in New Jersey since midtown was able to fill the initial need. Yet, he anticipates a "second wave" of relocations since 29 million SF were destroyed or damaged -- including 13 million destroyed-- and only 3 million SF have found space.

Hersh, who is also a member of the executive committee of the Board of Directors of Mack-Cali Realty, said that the firm focuses on the office sector and owns over 28 million SF of real estate in the northeast plus a land bank of 9 million SF for new development. In New Jersey, it has 14.4 million SF of properties in Jersey City, Parsippany/Hanover, Hamilton Township, Princeton, and Totowa; the remainder of its space is primarily in Westchester County, New York, other markets in the Northeast.

The firm is working on several projects at Harborside Financial Center, a two million sq. ft. waterfront development in Jersey City. Mack-Cali is developing two class A office buildings with views of the Manhattan skyline scheduled for completion in late 2002:

A 34-story, 980,000-SF structure at Plaza 5 and a 19-story, 575,000-SF building pre-leased to Charles Schwab at Plaza 10. In addition, a 37-story, 1.06 million-SF building at Plaza 4 is under consideration pending significant pre-leasing and improved market conditions.

Harborside, which will be a city within in a city, will also house a 350-room full-service Hyatt Regency hotel on the south pier and 300 luxury North Pier apartments developed by Equity Residential Trust and Lincoln Property Co. The system of interconnecting subways will revitalize the area and expand the workforce.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Professional Women in Construction
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 27, 2002
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