After storm, N.J. brokerages report influx of relocation calls

Nearly 700K New Jerseyans remain without power
By David Jones | November 02, 2012 03:30PM

In the days after President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie toured the disaster zone left behind by Hurricane Sandy, developers, brokers and homeowners were beginning to assess the billions of dollars in damage left behind by the killer storm, while utility companies were racing to restore power and utilities to New Jerseyans without it.

Following the storm, New Jersey brokerages — like its New York counterparts — were reporting an influx of inquiries from those looking to relocate from offices spaces damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

SJP Properties said it had received numerous inquiries from companies looking to relocate to immediately available space, and was marketing two floors at 95 Greene Street, an eight-story former Colgate Palmolive toothpaste factory in Jersey City, The available space measures more than 84,000 square feet. The building, originally bought in 1999, is anchored by Merrill Lynch, and is dubbed Wall Street West, for its sophisticated tenant base and location, just two blocks from the Exchange Place PATH station.

Jordan Baris Inc., the West Orange, N.J.-based residential and commercial brokerage, said the storm knocked out power to all of its major offices. Ken Baris, president of the firm, said he’s personally been swamped with inquiries from customer calls on topics ranging from relocation firms to scheduled closings.

Baris said in the short term, home values on the shore would take a hit, much like Battery Park real estate after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, but he expects the market to rebound as existing homeowners rebuild and new investors move in.

“To me this becomes a tremendous market of opportunity,” Baris told The Real Deal.

The U.S. Small Business Administration said that businesses and nonprofit organizations in the disaster zone would be eligible for loans of up to $2 million to repair or replace real estate, machinery, equipment or other assets. SBA also said it would make loans of up to $200,000 available to homeowners to replace homes damaged or destroyed by the storm, while renters would be eligible for loans of up to $40,000 to replace personal property.

PSE&G, the largest utility company in New Jersey reported that the storm impacted 1.7 million of its 2.2 million electric customers, however service was restored to more than a million by today. Customers were warned throughout the state that full restoration would take seven to 10 days as substations in the Arthur Kill area and along the Hudson, Passaic and Hackensack rivers — impacting individuals and businesses in Hudson, Essex and Middlesex counties.