New Jersey Bill Aims to Help Vacant Malls, Office Parks
New Jersey lawmakers are making a new legislative push to help rid the state of its vacant and half-empty malls and office complexes, properties that have fallen victim both to e-commerce and a new preference in corporate America for urban settings.
Under a bill that recently came out of committee in the state Legislature, “buildings used, or previously used, as a shopping mall, shopping plaza, or professional office park,” that have been vacant or partially vacant in the South Jersey retail space commercial real estate market with less than 50 percent occupancy for at least two years, can qualify to be designated as needing redevelopment.
This report involving South Jersey retail space commercial properties is being made through South Jersey commercial real estate broker Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a South Jersey commercial real estate brokerage firm.
Once a municipality in the South Jersey retail space commercial real estate market designates an area as needing redevelopment, that site becomes eligible for economic incentives from the town – including being able to make payments in lieu of taxes, or Pilot programs. The bill’s goal is to spark the repurposing of such underutilized and sometimes rundown properties by developers.
With the demise of many retail chains among all South Jersey commercial real estate properties – and the rise of online shopping – malls across the nation have struggled with vacancies and closings. New Jersey has been hit particularly hard by office-park vacancies, because of its large supply of suburban office stock at a time when the millennial workforce is favoring downtown workplaces.
“Without the help proffered by this bill, there is good chance that investors will just be unwilling to take on these complex redevelopment projects, and the malls will deteriorate, cease to provide revenue support for the towns in which they’re located and, not least, they will go from being a destination to unattractive and possibly dangerous, lightly occupied, vestiges of a time gone by,” said one industry spokesperson.
The bill, whose sponsors include State Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, a Democrat representing Legislative District 7, basically updates and expands the types of South Jersey commercial real estate listings that can qualify as being in areas in need of redevelopment.
Murphy said she is very familiar with the issue of vacant malls in part because of what has happened within her own area, Burlington County. Earlier this year, Sears, the last retail tenant in the once-busy Burlington Center mall at 2501 Mount Holly Rd. in Burlington, New Jersey, shut its doors in the South Jersey retail space commercial real estate market, leaving a vacant shopping center in its wake.
“What used to be a thriving shopping center, a shopping mall, is now completely closed,” Murphy said. “So that’s sitting there and we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do with that.”
Real estate firms dealing with South Jersey commercial real estate listings should be financially encouraged to look at existing, empty retail and office properties to redevelop “without having to take up more of our free land and space,” she said.
For more information about South Jersey retail space or other South Jersey commercial properties, please call 215-799-6900 to speak with Jason Wolf (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading South Jersey commercial real estate broker that specializes in South Jersey retail space.
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