6B — August 24 - Sept. 13, 2018 — 2018 GOVERNOR'S CONFERENCE ON HOUSING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT — ODM — M id A tlantic

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By Marcy Gross, Sheldon Gross Realty Commercial zoning: Past-due for change


and municipalities to avoid the specter of empty or even abandoned buildings. There’s a great deal of opportunity here; instead of unused office space, consider if we instead had apartments, co-ops, or condominiums. And how about some space being devoted to restaurants, cafes, bars, gyms, yoga studios, beauty salons, and the like? Making possible such mixed- use structures could trigger dramatic benefits for business owners, individuals, families, and communities. We’d help address the housing shortage many towns face, while also making it easier for businesses to attract talent based on the immediate proximity of nearby amenities like places to eat, exercise, and live. Altering current commercial zoning regulations could be ac- complished rapidly, and would quickly begin paying large dividends. There’s no excuse for communities throughout New Jersey and across the en- tire country not to initiate the process immediately. Marcy Gross is executive vice president at Sheldon Gross Realty.  LAN Associates promots within its architectural team MIDLAND PARK, NJ — Jim Sanders , who served as the director of LAN’s archi- tecture department in New Jersey, has been promoted to VP. He has been with LAN for 20 years and has been a key figure in the continued development and growth of the department. "I look forward to continue building LAN’s architectural team in New Jersey, while also developing new markets to further advance the com- pany," said Sanders. "Our staff continues to challenge and educate themselves in the latest industry trends to expand LAN’s expertise, es- pecially in the educational and healthcare sectors. The department has pro- gressively grown by 40% over the last few years, a significant component attributing to the success of LAN. The follow- ing team members have been promoted to Associate roles:

he anc i ent Greeks taught us that noth- ing is constant but

urban and urban zoning laws regarding office space. These are generally quite rigid, to the extent that almost anyone purchasing a building zoned for office use – or leasing space in such a structure – may conduct only specifically defined ac- tivities there. Divergence from what is approved by municipal authorities will likely result in a fine, and could escalate to harsher penalties, including an owner or tenant being barred from entering the building. So, no matter how logical such zoning laws may have seemed as recently as a decade ago, it’s obvious to many of us

who earn a living in the cor- porate real estate sector that they now need to change. And quickly. The problem is that through- out my home state of New Jersey, and in surrounding states, much space is sitting vacant. Sixty percent of a given building may house thriving businesses, while the other 40 percent can be entirely unused …a situation that would great- ly concern any building owner. This happens for multiple reasons, many tied to ongoing advances in technology. Essen- tially, an increasing number of businesses need far less space

now to operate effectively. In some cases, they need practi- cally no space at all. During 2002 a 100,000 s/f office build- ing may have been in full use by a trio of productive busi- nesses, while today these same three, still-successful busi- nesses require only 30,000 s/f between them. Of course, this means the building’s owner now faces paying a mortgage and taxes on 70,000 s/f of space that generates no income. As soon as possible, we need to update and relax codes related to how commercial buildings can be used – thus enabling owners to prosper

change. It’s a philosophy that’s true of life, society … and real estate, too. T h a t ’ s r ight . How individuals and commu-

Marcy Gross

nities utilize and relate to real estate evolves with time; failing to recognize and react to this reality can present a host of problems. In particular, consider sub-

• Danielle Farrell • Laura Schluger • Matthew Fink • Meghan Useo 

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