Market snapshots: Beyond Northern NJ

Tax incentives draw businesses south while the live-work-play model arrives in Somerset County

Jun.June 05, 2017 01:00 PM

The $1 billion Camden Waterfront project is led by REIT Liberty Property Trust.

Union County

Just south of the hot counties of Essex and Hudson, Union County is seeing spillover demand, with nearly 20,000 new residents since 2010, according to 2016 U.S. Census Bureau data.

Rahway has two new CPC/Meridia projects — the recently opened Meridia Lafayette Village and the upcoming Meridia Brownstones.

The 115-unit Lafayette Village began renting in early March and was at 43 percent occupancy by mid-April, said Brian Pfistner, vice president of asset management for Capodagli Property Company. Construction for the Meridia Brownstones, on the site of the former Wheatena plant, will likely start by June, he added, with about 300 one- and two-bedroom rentals coming on the market in phase one, followed by 200 more in phase two.

CPC/Meridia opened the 176-unit Lifestyles in neighboring Linden, where the residential development company is headquartered, in early 2016. It’s developing the 200-unit Lifestyles II across the street and is set to begin construction before the end of the year.

“Townships like us because we take over projects that were sitting stagnant for years and execute quickly and effectively,” said Pfistner.

Middlesex County

Middlesex is the fastest-growing county outside of northern New Jersey, adding more than 27,000  residents since 2010, according to 2016 U.S. Census Bureau data. There’s more than $620 million in authorized residential building permits in the county, according to the DCA Construction Reporter Annual Report, and more than 100 areas under redevelopment per Middlesex County officials.

In April, Woodmont Properties began construction on Woodmont Cove in South Amboy, according to The site, seven blocks from the South Amboy train station, will include 106 townhouses and 20 apartments.

April also saw the opening of Amazon’s  fulfillment center in Carteret. The company has announced plans to open two more centers in the county, in Edison and Cranbury.

Meanwhile, a $190 million arts center will break ground in New Brunswick this summer. The 22-story mixed-use building is due for completion in 2019. It will house two theaters and three rehearsal stages in addition to office space and 240 rental apartments. The units — one- and
two-bedrooms priced from $2,200 to $3,000 per month — will help pay for the building, according to

Somerset County

The live-work-play development model is coming to Somerset County. The area is one of the state’s key biotech centers, with Bridgewater housing the mixed-use New Jersey Center of Excellence, a research and development campus featuring a town center and housing. Several companies have moved onto the 110-acre campus since Advance Realty and CrossHarbor Capital Partners purchased it from pharmaceutical company Sanofi in 2013 and began redeveloping it. As of March, the 1.1 million square feet of lab and office space was 80 percent leased. Construction on the town center portion of the project is set to begin later this year. The master plan calls for 400 luxury residences along with restaurants, a grocer, shops and entertainment.

In April, Sterling Properties got approval to develop a four-story, 69-unit luxury rental building in nearby downtown Somerville. The project will include studios and one- and two-bedrooms and will be within walking distance of the town’s train station.

Monmouth County

Asbury Park will get a brand-new luxury apartment building just one year after the resort town welcomed its first new hotel in 50 years — the Asbury Hotel, with 110 rooms.

The Monroe, a 34-unit luxury condo development opening soon, will offer units priced from $400,000 to $1.2 million. This compares to $260,000 for the average home in 2015, according to state tax records and the Asbury Park Press. Sixty percent of the units have reportedly already sold.

The new properties are the culmination of nearly a decade of gentrification, which was kicked into high gear when the iStar real estate investment company announced a billion-dollar redevelopment of the waterfront in August 2015.

Camden County

This county, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, has emphasized attracting businesses in education and medical fields in recent years. The effort has paid off, with the industries providing the largest sources of jobs in its main city, Camden, according to 2015 Census Bureau data. In addition to “eds and meds” incentives, the state is offering tax breaks through the Grow New Jersey program, which has attracted other businesses to the area, including the Philadelphia 76ers, Lockheed Martin, Holtec International and Subaru of America. The latter is expected to open its North American headquarters there this year.

The biggest development in the city is the $1 billion Camden Waterfront project, spearheaded by Malvern, Pennsylvania-based REIT Liberty Property Trust. In February, builders broke ground on the first building in the plans: a five-story, 220,000-square-foot headquarters for American Water Works, due for completion in late 2018. The project will also feature a public park, a 180-room Hilton Garden Inn, 188 apartments and a total of 1.45 million square feet of build-to-suit projects.

Elsewhere, on the residential front, developers Sterling Properties and Bob Dale anticipate their 152-unit Evan’s Mill project in Cherry Hill will be ready for renters come fall. The community will feature townhomes, apartments, a clubhouse, pool, fitness center and yoga room. The nearest train is a 12-minute drive away, in neighboring Haddonfield.

Atlantic County

Aside from hotel redevelopments, Atlantic City is getting a new ride to attract visitors to its famous boardwalk. Construction of the Polercoaster, a 350-foot-high vertical roller coaster, will begin in June and is expected to finish in time for summer 2018. The 52,000-square-foot project will also include a zipline, extreme ninja course, XD theater, skydiving simulator, a bar/restaurant and retail space. The Atlantic City Gateway project, meanwhile, is a $210 million redevelopment that will house a Stockton University beachfront satellite campus, headquarters for South Jersey Gas and 7,000 square feet of retail space. The project, which began construction in April and is due for a fall 2018 completion, will revitalize parcels of land that sat vacant for several years.

In Atlantic City residential news, an $81 million apartment complex headed by Boraie Development and NBA star Shaquille O’Neal broke ground in December. The 250-unit project, with a courtyard, pool, gym and residents’ lounge, is expected to be completed by July 2018.

Breaking ground this spring, just north of AC in Galloway Township, is the Stockton Aviation Research & Technology Park. A $17.2 million contract for construction of the first of seven buildings on the 58-acre site was awarded in March to Hessert Construction of Marlton, New Jersey.

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