Re-Purposing Suburban Office Parks: New Jersey, Ground Zero
Suburban office markets in the US are seriously underperforming, due to a combination of shifting workplace needs and preferences, and an increasing functional obsolescence on the part of the building stock, building amenities and of the overall land use patterns and design. Review the broad changes in the office workplace nationally, and the trials and tribulations of the re-purposing process in New Jersey.
You'll learn about:
Learn about the broad changes occurring in the office workplace nationally.
Learn about the criteria that many major employers are using to make decisions about where to locate.
Learn about the preferred amenities and features of the new office workplace.
Learn about some common obstacles to re-purposing
Learn about the planning opportunities presented by the re-purposing process
The market for suburban office space in New Jersey has been comatose for at least 10 years, with overall vacancy rates pushing 30%. Similar signs are visible in other major suburban office markets nationally. In Q3 of 2015 there were 21 million sq ft of vacant office and retail space in NJ -- 2/3 of that in suburban office properties w/100,000+ sq ft or more. This does not include vacancies in owner-occupied buildings, even if they have been mothballed, only space currently on the market. There are an estimated 7,200 acres of land and 147,000 parking spaces associated with these properties.
The malaise in the suburban NJ office market is reflective of broader trends in the US office workplace, with companies relocating to the mixed-use, 24/7 environments preferred by the millennial labor pool and away from the single-purpose, sterile work-places of the second half of the 20th century.
As a result, there is growing interest in re-purposing these properties for other uses. A pioneer in these efforts is the former Bell Labs research complex in Holmdel, which is being redeveloped into a mixed-use facility, with housing, a hotel, community facilities, healthcare, retail, restaurants and a wide mix of creative economy office users.
Other re-purposing examples are underway. PlanSmartnj has recently released a statewide assessment of distressed office and retail properties in NJ. But there are numerous challenges to re-purposing, which planners must address. This session will discuss the broad changes in the office workplace nationally, and the trials and tribulations of the re-purposing process in New Jersey -- ground zero for re-purposing.
, Somerset Development
Confirmed SpeakerRalph Zucker is President of Somerset Development, one of the New York Metropolitan region’s foremost pioneers of New Urbanism and Traditional Neighborhood Design development. Throughout his career, Zucker has worked hands-on in every facet of the building and development process, and has demonstrated a commitment to working with municipalities to create innovative communities based on the principles of New Urbanism. Zucker and the Somerset team are perhaps best known for spearheading Bell Works, the two-million-square-foot redevelopment of the former Bell Labs property in Holmdel, N.J., where he is transforming the iconic Saarinen-designed research facility into a “metroburb,” a term that Somerset coined to describe the suburban building’s revival into a blossoming, downtown-style ecosystem of technology, traditional office, retail, dining and hospitality. Under Zucker’s leadership, Somerset and its projects have earned numerous industry awards and recognition for their contributions to furthering responsible development practices, including the New Jersey Future Smart Growth Award for Wesmont Station, Somerset's 70-acre transit-oriented mixed-use redevelopment located in Wood-Ridge, N.J., where Somerset partnered with NJ TRANSIT to build a brand new train station that provides access to Manhattan.
, Plansmart NJ
Confirmed SpeakerAnn Brady Executive Director Ms. Brady has over 25 years of transportation and land use planning experience at the municipal, regional, and state level. She joined PlanSmart NJ in 1992 as a project planner. In 2013 she was appointed Executive Director. She works closely with the Board to develop PlanSmart NJ’s positions on land use, transportation, housing, regional equity, economic development, environmental protection, and resource efficiency. She manages staff to execute PlanSmart NJ’s Annual Regional Planning Summit, quarterly Policy Briefings on current issues, Annual Dinner, and a variety of planning contracts. Ms. Brady spearheaded PlanSmart NJ’s Repurposing Stranded Assets Project and oversaw the development of the A Guide to the Future: Repurposing Stranded Assets & Revitalizing New Jersey’s Suburbs. The Guide is a groundbreaking report analyzing the impacts of stranded assets on local communities and providing recommendations for repurposing. As a project planner, Ms. Brady was responsible for the development of innovative planning tools to improve transportation in the Route 1 and Route 130 Corridors, open space planning for the Mercer County Green Links Project, and water resource protection in two watershed management projects. She was also the primary author of PlanSmart NJ’s 2001 publication, The Green Infrastructure Guide, an introduction for municipal planning board members on how to use the landscape to provide flood control, pollution prevention and other infrastructure functions as they make plans to develop and conserve land. Prior to joining PlanSmart NJ Ms. Brady worked in Maryland and Alaska as a transportation planner. Ms. Brady serves on the Boards of the National Consortium of Creative Placemaking, the Greater Mercer TMA, and the Trenton Downtown Association. She received her BA in Sociology from Guilford College.
, Rutgers, The State Univ of NJ
, New Brunswick
Confirmed SpeakerDr. James W. Hughes is Distinguished Professor and DEAN of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, appointed to that position in 1995, and has been a member of the faculty since 1971. In addition, since 1988 he has also been the Director of the Rutgers Regional Report which, during its 29-year tenure, has produced 39 major economic, demographic, and real estate studies. He is a nationally-recognized academic expert on demographics, housing, and regional economics, and was a contributing editor to the magazine AMERICAN DEMOGRAPHICS for 14 years. He is author or co-author of 35 books and monographs and more than 150 articles. Among these are: THE ATLANTIC CITY GAMBLE (Harvard University Press), AMERICA’S DEMOGRAPHIC TAPESTRY: BASELINE FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM (Rutgers University Press), and most recently NEW JERSEY’S POSTSUBURBAN ECONOMY (Rutgers University Press PinPoint Series). He has been both a Woodrow Wilson and Ford Foundation Fellow, as well as a Distinguished Fellow of NAIOP (Commercial Real Estate Development Association). He was recently awarded the Rutgers School of Engineering 2014 Medal of Excellence and the 2014 Distinguished Public Service Award of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. Previously, he received the Rutgers Presidential Award for Distinguished Public Service, the Warren Hill Award of the New Jersey Bankers Association, the Rutgers’ Richard P. McCormick Award for Excellence in Alumni Leadership, and the Distinguished Service Award of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association. He has provided extensive budgetary and economic testimony before many New Jersey State Legislative committees and has provided numerous policy briefings both in Washington and Trenton on demographics, housing and the economy. He has served as a consultant to numerous federal, state and local public bodies as well as to many private and corporate clients. He was recently a member of Governor Christie’s Housing Opportunity Task Force. In the past, he served on the NJ Governor’s Commission on Jobs, Growth and Economic Development, the Governor’s Property Tax Commission, the Governor’s World Class Economy Task Force, the Governor’s Logistics Council, the Real Estate Task Force of the Governor's Economic Master Plan Commission and was a member and Trustee of the successor commission: Prosperity New Jersey. He formerly was on the Board of the E’Town Corporation (N.Y. Stock Exchange) and the Board of the Cali Real Estate Investment Trust (NY Stock Exchange). He was also a member of the Board of Advisors of the Mack-Cali Real Estate Investment Trust (N.Y. Stock Exchange). He has also served on numerous other boards and task forces, including the Board of Directors of the Cooperative Housing Foundation (Washington, D.C.), the Economic Advisors Board of the Council of the City of New York, and the Council of Academic Policy Advisors to the New Jersey State Legislature. He is a veteran who served as an artillery officer in the U.S. Army. He received the State of New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal for meritorious service in Korea in the Asiatic Pacific Theater of Operations.
, Design Solutions
Confirmed SpeakerCarlos Rodrigues, FAICP Design Solutions for a Crowded Planet, LLC www.rodriguesurbandesign.com firstname.lastname@example.org Carlos Rodrigues, FAICP is a Princeton, NJ based urban designer, city planner, writer and educator. His practice represents local governments, private development clients, objectors and civic groups involved in planning, (re)development and preservation projects of merit. He has worked in senior management positions in the private, public and non-profit sectors and has taught numerous graduate level planning courses. He is a charter member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Past President of APA-NJ, and a past board member of the Society for American City and Regional Planning History.
, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank