Real Estate Journal — New Jersey — May 15 - 28, 2015 — 5B


M id A tlantic

N ew J ersey

By Ira Kerner, Ripco Real Estate Creative retail thinking in North Jersey


orth New Jersey – a diverse and unique cultural and socio

of this interest will come from the national operators, further making it more difficult for independent business owners to compete. Change is constant. Growth is optional. As retail Brokers, we recognize that the world is constantly moving. We rec- ognize that the demand for retail space is always evolv- ing and we must adapt and answer to trends in the mar- ketplace – Especially when it requires a little thinking outside the box. Ira Kerner is a broker at Ripco Real Estate. n

time population, may now be considered dated and no longer relevant. Creativity is becoming critical. What was once a beautiful, old-time classic “downtown” bank in Ridgewood, with a magnificent walk-in vault, and sat vacant for years, is now a trendy res- taurant with a pretty nifty pri- vate dining area surrounded by reinforced steel. The art of the deal is often no longer just in the details of the deal itself, but rather, how to match up tenant with space that makes a statement. North Jersey simply does not lend it-

self to a lot of shiny new GLA. A mere generation ago, downtown Jersey City was a destination for contaminated, former industrial waste. Now, with cooperation from an accommodating local govern- ment, developers and imagi- nation – and the realization that it possesses one of the greatest views in the country, downtown Jersey City has become the market for the young, active and trendy. Former studios and ware- houses once mothballed and forgotten about, are now home to lofts, restaurants, retail

boutiques and other retail destinations surrounded by class A office buildings and spectacular brand new apart- ment buildings with amenities that would satisfy the biggest skeptic. In North Jersey , 2014 showed a retail vacancy rate throughout the major high- way corridors fall to 7.3% - a healthy dip from the prior year of 8.1%. We can expect con- tinued decrease over the next few years, as demand to enter the market continues to rise up to levels previously seen prior to the recession. Much

e c o n o m i c melting pot - known just as much for Tony Sopra- no, Diners, Toll Booths, vas t hi gh- way network and Bruc e

Ira Kerner

Springsteen, is also home of one of the most densely popu- lated regions in the country. As such, a strong presence has long been a desired destina- tion for national retailers for entry into this market. With the recession now seemingly behind us, North Jersey has enjoyed a resurgence of retail leasing activity over the past several years. While this can be attributed to many factors, including higher incomes earned in households through- out the region, the domino effect will result in lower vacancy rates (approximately 7.3 %) and higher asking rents from landlords. Demand for something new will always result in activ- ity and exciting new develop- ments. Our culture relies on change and necessary upkeep. The Consumer relies on it. Growth demands it. It is es- timated that in North Jersey, retail developers will account for significant additions of new retail spacing coming on line within the next year. This will also result in higher asking rents, as retail traffic is constantly evolving around the newest and best locations. With these optimistic eco- nomic and retail forecasts predicted in North Jersey, one would think that as trends continue in this trajectory, Brokerage would enjoy activ- ity regardless of on which side of the table we are sitting. Not so fast. While a revival in demand for retail space may indicate more choices for consumers, North Jersey still struggles with offering new and exciting retail. There is just so much space to build out in our corner of the northeast. Given limitations on how to rehabilitate traditional vacant space, brokers work with own- ers and developers in ways to re-imagine and re-position their assets. What was once a perfectly centralized retail destination with access to highways, day time and night

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