New Jersey Cheat Sheet: Garden State tops property tax list, NKF hired to sell Newark tower, Kushner Cos. expands… & more

New Jersey Cheat Sheet
Clockwise from top left: Queen Latifah is developing affordable housing in Newark, city council of Jersey City poised to approve new tower in exchange for a homeless shelter, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy lobbies to restore federal property tax deduction and Newmark Knight Frank is tapped to sell an 18-story office tower in Newark.

Welcome to the first iteration of The Real Deal’s New Jersey Cheat Sheet! Much like our other Tri-State weekly cheat sheets focusing on the Hamptons, Long Island and Westchester and Fairfield counties, this offering looking at the latest commercial and residential real estate news in the Garden State is part of TRD’s expanded Tri-State coverage. Given the size of New Jersey, we’re initially going to focus on the northern New Jersey counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic and Union along New York City’s western flank. But we’ll also be keeping an eye out on notable developments in other nearby counties, such as Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean and Somerset, so please feel free to reach out to and Brian Baxter at for items you think might interest us. Thanks for reading! —Brian Baxter

We’re #1: New Jersey has highest property taxes in the nation
Garden State residents bear a heavier property tax load that any state in the nation, according to a new report by personal finance website WalletHub. New Jersey has a 2.44 percent tax rate, the report found. For a home valued at $321,100, which is the median price point in New Jersey, residents would pay about $4,725 annually in real estate property tax. Millburn Township in Essex County is the municipality with the highest property taxes in the state with an average bill of $24,308 in 2018, according to Millburn just beat out Alpine, a Bergen County borough home to White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and many other big names among its 1,800 residents. The U.S. Census Bureau states that the average American household spends about $2,279 on property taxes annually. [NBC 4]

Newmark Knight Frank tapped to sell 18-story Newark tower
The owners of the 18-story office tower at 550 Broad Street in downtown Newark have brought on Newmark Knight Frank to sell the property, according to NJBiz. The brokerage plans to sell the property via its RealINSIGHT Marketplace for commercial real estate sales. The 270,000-square-foot, Brutalist-style building was built in 1966 and is within walking distance of Newark Penn Station. It also sits in an Opportunity Zone, according to Commercial Real Estate Direct, which notes that the property is owned by German investment manager Dr. Peters Group and Ridgewood, New Jersey-based Heritage Capital Group. Both invested $1.1 million in 2016 for a renovation of the building’s lobby and tenant amenity spaces that added a new fitness center and cafe. NKF’s Steven Schultz, Tony Georgiev, Josh Malka and Jeff Kolodkin are marketing the property, the firm said. [NJBiz]

Kushner Cos. buys $1.1B multifamily portfolio from PE firm
In its largest deal since paying $1.8 billion for 666 Fifth Avenue more than a decade ago, the Kushner Companies has paid $1.1 billion to Dallas-based private equity firm Lone Star Funds to acquire 6,000 rental apartments in Maryland and Virginia, The Real Deal reported late last month. The deal, which comes less than a year after Brookfield Asset Management bailed out the Kushner Cos. out of its troubled investment in 666 Fifth Avenue, is an effort by the latter to expand its suburban multifamily portfolio. “Multifamily is the DNA of our company,” company president Laurent Morali told the Wall Street Journal. This most recent purchase means that the Kushner Cos. now controls roughly 22,000 multifamily units. Morali, who along with company namesake Charles Kushner had a candid conversation last summer with The Real Deal, told Bloomberg that the company has another 6,000 units in the pipeline. [TRD]

Two North Bergen industrial properties secure $52M refinancing
A pair of warehouses in North Bergen occupied by global fashion industry distributor Bergen Shippers are being refinanced with $51.5 million from JPMorgan Chase, according to the Commercial Observer. Cushman & Wakefield equity, debt and structured finance experts John Alascio, Mark Ehlinger and T.J. Sullivan arranged the debt for Bergen Shippers, along with industrial leasing specialist Bonni Heller. The outlet reported that JPMorgan provided $44 million via a 10-year loan to refinance separate mortgages on industrial properties totaling 730,000 square feet at 5903 Westside Avenue and 7300 Westside Avenue in North Bergen. Cushman said 5903 Westside, a 600,000-square-foot fashion logistics center for Bergen Shipping’s Bergen Logistics, was built in 1987 for Liz Claiborne. The financing includes a $7.5 million line of credit. [CO]

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Industrial property market soars to meet e-commerce demands
New Jersey saw about $2.6 billion in industrial property change hands in 2018 as the market for warehouse and distribution facilities flourished in order to meet the demands of e-commerce, The Real Deal recently reported in its inaugural Tri-State issue. According to Colliers International, the average price for industrial space in the Garden State hit $126.67 per square foot last year — 19 percent higher than the same time a year before. Investors are “betting on location, location, location,” said Timothy Cadigan, a Morristown-based senior vice president of sales and leasing at Avison Young, citing New Jersey’s proximity to New York City and access to major transportation routes via the Port of New York and New Jersey. [TRD]

Queen Latifah to develop affordable housing in Newark
Actress and recording artist Queen Latifah, whose given name is Dana Owens, is coming home to build affordable housing for others. The Newark native’s plans include a $14 million residential development in her hometown that will have 20 townhouses and a 76-unit rental apartment building, where 60 market-rate units will start at $1,800 per month with 16 more earmarked as affordable, according to Latifah is the latest famous Newarker to invest their money into the city’s real estate scene. She is co-president of BlueSugar Corporation, which is working with GonSosa Development on the Newark project. It will include a fitness center and 1,900 square feet of commercial space that will be rented to nonprofits. Construction on all stages of the proposed development is expected to conclude by December 2021. [TRD]

Jersey City eyes residential tower-for-homeless shelter swap
Claremont Companies is expected to get approval for a 443-unit residential tower in downtown Jersey City in e4xchange for building a new 47,000-square-foot homeless shelter, reports. The local city council is expected to approve a deal that will allow Claremont, a Bridgewater, Massachusetts-based real estate investment and development firm, an eight-fold increase in density for the new apartment building on the site of the historic St. Lucy’s church. The new St. Lucy’s shelter will cost an estimated $16 million, while the value of the zoning change is estimated to be $37 million, the outlet reported. []

Governor lobbies to restore federal property tax deduction
Along with a group of Democratic governors, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is stepping up on efforts to restore a full federal deduction for state and local property taxes (SALT), reports. The tax law passed by Republicans and signed by President Trump in late 2017 put a $10,000 cap on SALT deductions, which will reportedly cost nearly 11 million taxpayers a collective $323 billion this year. The lobbying effort by the so-called Governors Coalition for Tax Fairness is the latest attempt by Murphy and others to get around that limit. New Jersey, along with Connecticut, Maryland and New York, is already suing the Trump administration over the tax law changes. Trump is reportedly open to changing the controversial SALT provision. []