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Monthly Archives: October 2019


HOME SWEET HOME FOR OFFICE DESIGN – RIGHT HERE AT COFCO

With many of us spending so much time at work, Office Design is changing. Office Design is beginning to look more like our homes. This article takes a look at how Office Design is changing.

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By Dean Molz, VP of Business Development, COFCO

Office DesignWe have seen a tremendous evolution in Office Design in the last 35 years. The freestanding “tank” desk with a typewriter stand was the standard at one point. In came the “cubicle” – a modular wall that provided privacy, and data connectivity. We’ve since seen the cubicle “farm” go by the wayside in favor of open office space. Corner Offices – well moved out of the corner, and the completely “open plan” with non-assigned seats came in vogue. Am I showing my age??

All interesting concepts, with a lot of buzz words.

So, what’s next? According to Jeff Pochepan of StrongProject, Inc., there’s no place like home – unless your office can recreate it. This is an interesting trend, of which you will see signs of at COFCO’s newly renovated Resource Center. It is called close-tohome design.

On average we spend 35% of our waking hours in the office. That’s a lot of time. Therefore, our clients are listening to the wants and needs of their workforce now more than ever. They are also paying attention to what recent graduates are looking for, given the recent influx of millennials in the workforce. This makes for good business, and is a time when we must compete to attract and retain top talent for future generations.

What is it? It’s the simple idea of making your office feel more like home – a place where you are relaxed, have no trouble putting in more hours and feel comfortable doing so. A place that creates a sense of community where you can collaborate with colleagues, work anywhere and in a variety of different types of spaces, based on what you need and want at the moment.

Office DesignThe institutional breakroom has turned into a café. A place where more intimate lighting, restaurant style comfort, and large café’ tables inspire casual conversation. A place to bond, share a meal, and where some of the best inspiration can happen. Maybe the happy hour can come to us, instead of going out to the corner restaurant.

The board room has turned into a living room of sorts. Where more comfortable couches make conversation feel more like friends having a get together, than doing business. This is a space where you may be encouraged to formulate ideas, before they become formal presentations. A place where you enjoy spending time, and can put your feet up.

The office space is more bright, open and collaborative. We are creating a sense of community where you can collaborate, see, talk and mingle with my colleagues. A place where meetings can be simple conversations in the hallway and ideas can come casually and without pretense; where decisions can be made and executed in a flash. It’s about fostering a culture of involvement. The saying “two heads are better than one” has real meaning.

Some common ideas include:

  • Game rooms
  • Yoga rooms (generally in the vicinity of onsite exercise facilities)
  • Food trucks
  • Showers
  • Living room style conversation pits
  • Quiet spaces designed like a study
  • Phone rooms
  • Outdoor spaces

Office DesignHow far should you go?? Your individual culture will determine the answer to that question. Here at COFCO, we have created a sense of relaxed professionalism. This is a perfect blend of comfort, design, collaboration and culture.

Creating this comfort is so intrinsic, that people relax when they enter their workplace. Just like you would when you get home from a long day. We put in longer hours than ever at work now. Technology has allowed us to work “anywhere, and at any time”. Why not create a space where people won’t HAVE TO go to work every day, they’ll WANT TOO.

Office Design - COFCO

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Grocery, Fitness Emerge as Retail Market Bright Spots

As e-commerce accelerates its sweeping disruption of the traditional U.S. retail industry throughout national and Philadelphia commercial real estate markets, store tenants that offer experiences and use smaller spaces are driving demand for brick-and-mortar leases, according to a CoStar analysis.

Tenants offering something to do rather than buy — think yoga studios, ax-throwing clubs and trampoline parks — are emerging as viable alternatives to big-box retailers in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly retail space, CoStar economists say in a new video (available by clicking here). Discount apparel stores, fitness concepts and grocers, the latter two being something consumers don’t always seek online, are the fastest-growing users.

This CoStar Realty Information Inc. report involving U.S. and Philadelphia commercial properties is being made available through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Tenants, according to two CoStar market analysts, are helping to fill large blocks of space vacated by more traditional retailers.

“Landlords with empty big-box space are finding other creative approaches to replace traditional tenants,” said Abby Corbett, managing director and senior economist in CoStar’s Chicago office.

The rise of e-commerce throughout U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings has contributed to an overall cut in spending at physical retail stores by 7 percent and counting, Corbett said.

In addition to experiential users, retail landlords involved in national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties also are finding success among smaller tenants. More than 50 percent of the leases signed in 2019 were for spaces smaller than 5,000 square feet, and 80 percent of all leasing activity in 2019 has taken place in spaces smaller than 25,000 square feet.

“While leasing activity has decelerated over the past year, tenants clearly remain focused on incorporating physical space in their retail strategies,” said Galina Alexeenko, managing director and senior economist in CoStar’s Atlanta office.

Despite the demand for these nontraditional tenants, overall retail demand is weakening. Over the past year, net absorption — the change in the supply of commercial space — totaled 30 million square feet, a record low. Just 10 million square feet of new retail space broke ground in the third quarter, adding up to a total of 67 million square feet of space in the national pipeline. – By Cara Smith-Tenta, CoStar Realty Information Inc.

For more information about Philly retail space or other Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in Philly retail space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors and sellers.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new Philly retail space with the Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly retail space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Depreciation Tax Breaks: Time to Take Advantage

bonus depreciation

100% first-year bonus depreciation is available for qualified new and used property that is acquired and placed in service in calendar-year 2019. That means your business might be able to write off the entire cost of some or all of your 2019 asset additions on this year’s return. So, consider making additional acquisitions between now and year-end. Contact your tax professional for details on the 100% bonus depreciation break and what types of assets qualify.

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Other Uses for 100% bonus depreciation

Not just for your properties but the 100% bonus depreciation provision can have a hugely beneficial impact on first-year depreciation deductions for new and used heavy vehicles used over 50% for business. That’s because heavy SUVs, pickups, and vans are treated for tax purposes as transportation equipment that qualifies for 100% bonus depreciation. However, 100% bonus depreciation is only available when the SUV, pickup, or van has a manufacturer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) above 6,000 pounds. The GVWR of a vehicle can be verified by looking at the manufacturer’s label, which is usually found on the inside edge of the driver’s side door where the door hinges meet the frame. If you are considering buying an eligible vehicle, doing so and placing it in service before the end of this tax year could deliver a juicy write-off on this year’s return.

You can also claim first-year depreciation deductions for cars, light trucks, and light vans you use in your business. For both new and used passenger vehicles (meaning cars and light trucks and vans) that are acquired and placed in service in 2019, the luxury auto depreciation limits are as follows:

• $18,100 for Year 1 if bonus depreciation is claimed.
• $16,100 for Year 2.
• $9,700 for Year 3.
• $5,760 for Year 4 and thereafter until the vehicle is fully depreciated.

Note that the $18,100 first-year luxury auto depreciation limit only applies to vehicles that cost $58,500 or more. Vehicles that cost less are depreciated over six tax years using percentages based on their cost. You should cash in on generous Section 179 deduction rules. For qualifying property placed in service in tax years beginning in 2019, the maximum Section 179 deduction is $1.02 million. The Section 179 deduction phase-out threshold amount is $2.55 million.

The Section 179 deduction may be claimed for personal property used predominately to furnish lodging or in connection with the furnishing of lodging. Examples of such property include furniture, kitchen appliances, lawn mowers, and other equipment used in the living quarters of a lodging facility or in connection with a lodging facility such as a hotel, motel, apartment house, dormitory, or other facility where sleeping accommodations are provided and rented out.

Section 179 deductions can also be claimed for qualifying real property expenditures. Qualifying real property means any improvement to an interior portion of a nonresidential building that is placed in service after the date the building is first placed in service, except for expenditures attributable to the enlargement of the building, any elevator or escalator, or the building’s internal structural framework. The definition also includes roofs,

HVAC equipment, fire protection and alarm systems, and security systems for nonresidential real property. To qualify, these items must be placed in service after the nonresidential building has been placed in service. Here is another area where the advice and skill of your CPA and your tax lawyer, can make a difference in your business. Leasing or buying/selling real estate? Well, add WCRE to the team.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Martin H. Abo, CPA/ABV/CVA/CFF is a principle of Abo and Company, LLC and its affiliate, Abo Cipolla Financial Forensics, LLC, Certified Public Accountants – Litigation and Forensic Accountants. With offices in Mount Laurel, NJ and Morrisville, PA, tips like the above can also be accessed by going to the firm’s website at www.aboandcompany.com.

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Philadelphia Job Growth Slows Heading Into 2020

With construction activity ramped up throughout the national and Philadelphia commercial real estate markets, and with Center City’s restaurants packed, most residents maintain a positive feeling about the current health of Philadelphia’s economy.

But the pace of job growth has also been disappointing in recent months, with total jobs in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space – growing by 1.1 percent year-over-year as of August. This is well below the national pace and about half the rate of job growth achieved in Philadelphia just two years ago.

This CoStar Realty Information Inc. report involving U.S. and Philadelphia commercial properties is being made available through Philadelphia commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

Store closures are hurting workers in the retail trade sector, which has lost 7,000 jobs over the past 12 months. Meanwhile, growth in the education and health services sector of U.S. and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings has slowed significantly, following the more than 2,500 layoffs tied to the closure of Hahnemann Hospital.

There are a few silver linings to the current labor market picture. The professional and business services sector among national and Philadelphia commercial real estate properties is growing at some of the fastest rates observed during the current economic expansion. This category is comprised of high paying subsectors such as information technology, legal services, accounting and scientific research and development.

Moreover, much of the current slowdown in aggregate job growth is happening for a good reason. With the local unemployment rate now below 4 percent in the U.S. commercial real estate market – including Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space, it simply is becoming difficult for companies to find available candidates.

All and all, Philadelphia’s labor market is awash in mixed signals, as is the overall U.S. economy. With profits among most of the region’s largest publicly traded companies remaining near record highs, a recession over the next several quarters does not appear to be likely.

But local job growth is slowing while national and Philadelphia commercial real estate listings also are showing weakness in the manufacturing, agricultural and homebuilding industries. Election uncertainty could also be an increased drag on business investment in the quarters ahead.

All of this means that while recession signals are not imminent, Philadelphia’s economic outlook is less bullish heading into 2020 than it was heading into 2019. – By Adrian Ponsen, CoStar Realty Information Inc.

For more information about Philly office space, Philly retail space, and Philly industrial space or other Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in Philly office space, Philly retail space and Philly industrial space.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a full-service CORFAC International brokerage and advisory firm, is a premier Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm that provides a full range of Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, property management services, and marketing commercial offices, medical properties, industrial properties, land properties, retail buildings and other Philadelphia commercial properties for buyers, tenants, investors and sellers.

Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a Philadelphia commercial real estate broker with expertise in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings, provides unparalleled expertise in matching companies and individuals seeking new Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space with the Philadelphia commercial properties that best meets their needs.

As experts in Philadelphia commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for Philly office space, Philly retail space or Philly industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the Philadelphia commercial real estate broker you need – a strategic partner who is fully invested in your long-term growth and success.

Please visit our websites for a full listing of South Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Winter Weather and Its Impact On Your Business

Winter weather is unpredictable and can have a large impact on your business. While maintaining business operations is always at the forefront of your mind, it is important to consider employee safety as well. You should have policies and procedures in place before bad weather hits so that your company and employees are as prepared as possible.

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Driving in Winter Weather on Company Time

winter weatherA major concern regarding winter weather is employees who drive a company car or vehicle as part of their workday. All vehicles should be given a safety check by a mechanic before the bad weather hits, and they should also be equipped with emergency materials such as a snow scraper, blanket, first aid kit and
flashlight.

In addition, employees should be instructed to dress properly for the weather, including a hat, scarf and gloves, or have extra clothing on hand in case of a breakdown or accident. In order to protect your company against liability, any employees who may drive in bad weather on company time should be trained in safe, cautious driving techniques and what to do in case of an accident. Also consider employees who drive as part of their commute—it may be wise to educate them in cautious winter driving techniques to ensure their safety while driving to and from work.

Employee Pay During Winter Weather

Pay issues arise when weather forces your business to close for any length of time or prevents employees from making it to work even if your business remains open. For non-exempt (typically hourly) employees, you are only required to pay them for the hours they actually work. Thus, if your business opens late, closes early or closes for an entire day, you are not required to pay them for any time missed.

If an exempt (typically salaried) employee works any part of the day, you must pay them for a full day. Similarly, if the business is closed for a day or more but less than a full week, you need to pay exempt employees their normal salary if they worked any part of that week. You do not need to pay employees if business is closed for a full week. This applies whether your company uses a five-day or seven-day workweek. You may, however, require that they use available paid time off or vacation time, if available. If your business remains open but an exempt employee cannot come in due to weather conditions, this is a personal reason, and you do not need to pay them. One option to ease the loss of a business day or any missed productivity is to ask exempt employees to work from home if you are already paying them for the day. You may also consider offering a telecommuting option during inclement weather even if your business remains open so employees can avoid the dangers of driving in the extreme cold or snow.

Be Prepared for Winter Weather

Employees should be informed of your company policies related to inclement weather—safety, attendance and pay-related. You should have an established communication method to inform your employees of a business closing or delay. When bad weather is coming, address all your policies again, remind employees of communication channels to address attendance and plan for the worst potential outcome to ensure your company is prepared for the weather.

Brian Blaston
Commercial Lines – Manager
Hardenbergh Insurance Group
phone: 856.489.9100 x 139
fax: 856.673.5955
www.hig.net

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WCRE THIRD QUARTER 2019 REPORT

SOLID FUNDAMENTALS WITH MODEST GAINS IN SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY & PHILLY CRE MARKETS

Favorable Economic Conditions Expected to Continue into 2020

SOLID FUNDAMENTALS, BUT MODEST GAINS IN SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY & PHILLY CRE MARKETS

Commercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its analysis of the third quarter of 2019 that the Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania markets continued to show modest gains, continued investments, and overall solid fundamentals. Sales volume and prospecting activity held steady, leasing was up in Camden County, and especially in Cherry Hill, but dipped for the region overall. Gross leasing absorption was positive but trending lower quarter over quarter.

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“We are in a continuing period of a strong economy with low unemployment. This has supported a long streak of slow, steady growth supported by strong fundamentals,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “Although a given indicator might fluctuate one quarter to the next, commercial real estate in this region remains strong, and there is reason to stay optimistic.”

There were approximately 266,867 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which was a decrease of seven percent compared to the previous quarter. The sales market increased, with about 1.67 million square feet on the market or under agreement. However, completed sales slowed to approximately 329,769 square feet trading hands, less than half the previous quarter, which had been notably active.

New leasing activity accounted for approximately 36 percent of all deals for the three counties surveyed. Overall, gross leasing absorption for the third quarter was in the range 70,000 square feet, down from 150,000 in the second quarter.

Other office market highlights from the report:

Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 11.50 percent, which is a slight uptick from the previous quarter. This is still near a 20-year low.

Average rents for Class A & B product continue to show strong support in the range of $10.00-$15.00/sf NNN or $20.00-$25.00/sf gross for the deals completed during the quarter. These averages have hovered near this range for more than a year.

Vacancy in Camden County dropped slightly to 11.1 percent for the quarter, back to where it stood in the first quarter.

Burlington County’s vacancy stood at 11.9 percent, increasing 40 basis points. Burlington’s vacancy rate jumped earlier in the year due to several large blocks of space returning to the market.

WCRE has expanded into southeastern Pennsylvania, and the firm’s quarterly reports now include a section on transactions, rates, and news from Philadelphia and the suburbs. Highlights from the third quarter in Pennsylvania include:

The vacancy rate in Philadelphia’s office market dropped slightly to 8.6 percent, the second consecutive quarter to post a decrease of two tenths of a percent. The office vacancy rate is still near a 20-year low, and below that of comparable major cities.

The industrial sector in Philadelphia remains very strong. The third quarter saw vacancy rates virtually unchanged, at 5.0 percent, while net absorption was constrained by a shrinking volume of available space. Rent growth of 6.0 percent has far exceeded long-term average of 1.7 percent.

Philadelphia retail is so far avoiding a major spike in vacancy due to the shift toward e-commerce. Rising wages and low unemployment are fueling retail spending, buoying the CRE market. The vacancy rate inched up to 4.7 percent, while net absorption was negative 562,000 square feet over the last twelve months.

WCRE also reports on the Southern New Jersey retail market. Highlights from the retail section of the report include:

  • Retail vacancy in Camden County jumped to 6.9 percent from 5.7 percent in Q2. While average rents increased in the range of $17.05/sf NNN.
  • Retail vacancy in Burlington County ticked up very slightly, to 7.6 percent, with average rents in the range of $12.68/sf NNN.
  • Retail vacancy in Gloucester County dropped to 7.4 percent, with average rents in the range of $13.41/sf NNN.

The full report is available upon request.

About WCRE

WCRE is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage and advisory firm specializing in office, retail, medical, industrial and investment properties in Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia region. We provide a complete range of real estate services to commercial property owners, companies, banks, commercial loan servicers, and investors seeking the highest quality of service, proven expertise, and a total commitment to client-focused relationships. Through our intensive focus on our clients’ business goals, our commitment to the community, and our highly personal approach to client service, WCRE is creating a new culture and a higher standard. We go well beyond helping with property transactions and serve as a strategic partner invested in your long term growth and success.

Learn more about WCRE on Twitter & Instagram @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Visit our blog pages at www.southjerseyofficespace.com, www.southjerseyindustrialspace.com, www.southjerseymedicalspace.com, www.southjerseyretailspace.com, www.phillyofficespace.com, www.phillyindustrialspace.com, www.phillymedicalspace.com and www.phillyretailspace.com.

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WCRE EXPANDS REGIONAL TEAM WITH ANOTHER TRIO OF NEW HIRES

Team Members to Serve Philadelphia and Southern/Central New Jersey Markets

Wolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) is pleased to announce the hiring of three new professionals serving its southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern/Central New Jersey teams.

The new hires are Christopher Jerjian, who joins WCRE as Business Advisor & Consultant, Sean Kelly, a new sales associate, and Victor DeJesus, Senior Associate with a focus in the Central New Jersey market.

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Christopher JerjianChris Jerjian specializes in office and other commercial properties in Southern and Central New Jersey and the Philadelphia Region. He has developed a wide network of business relationships over a thirty-year career as a CRE landlord and investor. His focus is to help landlords, investors and users develop strategies to achieve their goals.

He is also the founder of Kiwi Offices in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Kiwi Offices provides flexible and move-in ready office suites focused on small businesses, professionals and satellite offices for corporations. He is currently developing a second location in Cherry Hill, with a longer-term plan to roll out more locations.

Previously Jerjian was responsible for strategy development and leasing of office space as a co-founder, principal, and managing director of the Ibis Group. He has closed more than 300 office space deals with local, regional, and national companies as a commercial landlord. His completed deals span large multi-million dollar transactions with Fortune 500 companies to small independently owned businesses. He has served on several corporate boards over the years and is a member of the Hamilton Partnership in New Jersey. He also worked with multiple non-profits over the years, including Catholic Charities.


Sean KellyAs sales associate, Sean Kelly will focus on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey markets. He specializes in sales and leasing, tenant and landlord representation for office, investment sales, and industrial properties. Previously, Kelly sold medical devices at Stryker Orthopedics, where he was responsible for growing their trauma orthopedic business in the Philadelphia region. Working with all major health systems in the area, he was responsible for driving growth, customer engagement, account management, and operational efficiency.

Kelly was also a pitcher for the Rutgers University baseball team between 2014 and 2016. During his time as a student athlete, he contributed four years of volunteer services to St. Peters Childhood Cancer programs.


Sean KellySenior Associate Victor DeJesus previously worked at KW Commercial, out of their Princeton and Moorestown, New Jersey offices. Victor has also worked for major public relations and advertising companies. Victor was a top 1% producer and has helped many of his clients reach the next level in business performance. As a senior sales associate, Victor will focus on the Central New Jersey market. He specializes in sales and leasing, tenant and landlord representation for office, investment sales, and industrial properties.


“Our entire firm is excited to have such talented new team members servicing our clients in the region,” said WCRE Managing Principal, Jason Wolf. “Our people have always been our biggest asset and our biggest advantage in the marketplace.”

About WCRE

WCRE is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage and advisory firm specializing in office, retail, medical, industrial and investment properties in Southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia region. We provide a complete range of real estate services to commercial property owners, companies, banks, commercial loan servicers, and investors seeking the highest quality of service, proven expertise, and a total commitment to client-focused relationships. Through our intensive focus on our clients’ business goals, our commitment to the community, and our highly personal approach to client service, WCRE is creating a new culture and a higher standard. We go well beyond helping with property transactions and serve as a strategic partner invested in your long-term growth and success.

Learn more about WCRE on Twitter & Instagram @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Visit our blog pages at www.southjerseyofficespace.com, www.southjerseyindustrialspace.com, www.southjerseymedicalspace.com, www.southjerseyretailspace.com, www.phillyofficespace.com, www.phillyindustrialspace.com, www.phillymedicalspace.com, and www.phillyretailspace.com.

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