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WCRE FOURTH QUARTER 2020 REPORT

WCRE FOURTH QUARTER 2020 REPORT: SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY & PHILLY CRE MARKETS REMAIN ON SHAKY GROUND AS PANDEMIC WEARS ON

Industrial was Strong, While Other Sectors Felt the Brunt of COVID’s Worsening Spread

Commercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its analysis of the fourth quarter of 2020 that the Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania markets took an expected downturn in many sectors due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, restrictions and infection control measures helped build strength in the industrial market, and there is sufficient momentum in the overall economy that the downturn is expected to be temporary. 

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“Commercial real estate is challenged by many of the conditions brought on by the pandemic, but the roll-out of the vaccines brings the hope of a return to normal activity sometime this year,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. 

There were approximately 252,823 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which was a drop of nearly 58% from the previous quarter. New tenant leases comprised approximately 64,450 square feet, or approximately 25.5% of all deals for the three counties surveyed.

Other office market highlights from the report:

• Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 13.6 percent, which is a jump of about two-thirds of a point from the previous quarter, and an increase of two full points since Q2.

• Average rents for Class A & B product remain unchanged, as they 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 fourth quarter. These averages have hovered near this range for more than a year.

• Vacancy in Camden County increased to 15.2 percent for the quarter, but despite this slight increase, Camden County saw gradual improvement and prospect activity.

• Burlington County’s vacancy increased to 12 percent after dropping more than a point during the third quarter.

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 fourth quarter in Pennsylvania include:

• The vacancy rate in Philadelphia’s office market rose another half a point, to 9.6 percent, after having hovered near a 20-year low. The pandemic has caused a large volume of office space to hit the market.

• The industrial sector in Philadelphia led the market, as it generally does. During Q4 vacancy rates ticked down to 5.1 percent, a slight improvement from the previous quarter. Net absorption for the year was 6.1 square feet. As the pandemic has led to a massive shift toward e-commerce, the industrial sector should remain quite strong.

• Retail CRE remains the most responsive and most vulnerable sector to market conditions. Ongoing coronavirus prevention measures have led to increased vacancy as businesses shutter. Average retail net absorption for 2020 was 1.8 million square feet. The vacancy rate is not expected to improve in the near term. 

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

• Retail vacancy in Camden County ticked up to 10.5 percent after posting a large increase from Q2 to Q3. While average rents changed little, in the range of $11.78/sf NNN.

• Retail vacancy in Burlington County jumped to 10 percent, up from 7.6 percent, with average rents increasing to the range of $14.14/sf NNN.

• Retail vacancy in Gloucester County went up again, to 13.7 increasing throughout the year, with average rents unchanged in the range of $13.14/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 online at www.wolfcre.com, on Twitter & Instagram @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Visit our blog pages at ww.southjerseyofficespace.com, www.southjerseyindustrialspace.com, www.southjerseymedicalspace.com, www.southjerseyretailspace.com, www.phillyofficespace.comwww.phillyindustrialspace.com, www.phillymedicalspace.com and www.phillyretailspace.com

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Should Employers Require Employees to Be Vaccinated

Should Employers Require Employees to Be VaccinatedShould employers require employees to be vaccinated? The first doses of the Coronavirus vaccines have been shipped across the country and Employers will soon have to decide whether they will require their employees to be vaccinated. Employers choosing to require vaccinations will also have to enact and enforce quality policies and procedures to prevent opposition and avoid potential litigation. However, as with all COVID-19 issues, there are many open questions, few concrete answers, and significant legal concerns when considering mandatory employee vaccinations.

Employers have a difficult task – they must balance their responsibility to maintain a safe and danger-free workplace with the individual rights of employees. This article will provide an outline of the legal framework currently addressing mandatory employee vaccines, what issues employers must consider, and some recommended best practices and guidance employers can rely on to navigate these unprecedented times.

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The Legal Framework for Employers to Require Employees to Be Vaccinated

The Legal Framework for Employers to Require Employees to Be VaccinatedThe first question any employer must ask themselves is whether to make the vaccine mandatory for its employees or to strongly encourage its workers to receive the vaccine on their own. Still another option is for employers to evaluate their workforce and adopt a hybrid method where certain employees, such as those that are customer-facing, travel-based, or unable to implement other preventive measures such as masks or distancing, are required to get the vaccine while the rest of the workforce is just encouraged to get it. While the impact of the virus may make mandatory vaccines appealing, employers need to be prepared to address and, with the help of counsel, minimize the legal pitfalls that come with a mandatory vaccination policy. Those pitfalls begin with the current state of federal law and federal guidance regarding mandatory employee vaccines.

Federal Law & Guidance

Due to the novel nature of the Coronavirus, the current state of federal and state law and guidance is premised on the flu vaccines. While COVID-19 may be the more prevalent vaccine on employers’ minds, the CDC has indicated the critical importance of flu shots this year, making the below analysis applicable to both vaccines.

Employers must keep in mind three distinct federal laws when considering a vaccine policy: OSHA, ADA and Title VII.

OSHA

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has taken the position that employers can mandate flu vaccines for their employees as well as other vaccinations. However, OSHA’s position also emphasizes that employers must “properly inform” their employees of the benefits of vaccinations. OSHA also provides for certain exceptions to a vaccine mandate where an employee refused to be vaccinated because of a “reasonable belief that he or she has a medical condition that creates a real danger of serious illness or death (such as a serious reaction to the vaccine)…”

ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) provides a basis for individuals with medical disabilities that would be triggered by a vaccine policy to request a reasonable accommodation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released vaccine-related guidance in March 2020 addressing whether employers covered by the ADA can require its employees to receive flu vaccines. The guidance explains that the ADA can provide employees with an exemption to the vaccination requirement
based on a disability that would prevent the employee from taking the vaccine. For example, some flu vaccines have contained egg products that would prevent someone allergic to eggs from taking that variety of flu vaccine. Where such a disability exists, the employee would be entitled to a reasonable accommodation that includes not receiving the vaccine. That is, unless that accommodation would present an undue hardship to the employer.

The ADA defines “undue hardship” as “significant difficulty or expense” incurred by the employer in providing an accommodation. Critically, the guidance notes both that the undue influence standard is higher under the ADA than it is under Title VII, and that prior EEOC guidance has identified COVID-19 as meeting the ADA’s
“direct threat standard.” This means that an employee with COVID-19 poses a “significant risk of substantial harm” in the workplace allowing employers to conduct certain tests the ADA would usually forbid, such as temperature checks. This could also mean that the disability exemption may not apply to a mandatory vaccination policy and program.

TITLE VII

Under Title VII, an employee also has a right to an accommodation of not taking a vaccine if the employee has a sincerely held religious belief that would be violated by receiving the vaccine. If providing such an accommodation represents more than a “de minimis” cost, i.e. imposes more than a minimal cost, the employer can enforce its mandatory vaccination policy and program. The costs incurred by the employer of providing the accommodation can be both economic and non-economic costs and would include the increased safety and legal risks presented by a non-vaccinated employee. Given the state of the virus and the compounding effect of flu season, it is possible and even likely that an employee refusing vaccination on religious grounds would present a more than minimal cost to the employer based on increased risk to employees, customers, and business operations. The level of risk brought to bear on an employer by a vaccine-refusing employee may be based on the specific job duties of that employee such as direct customer interaction, regular travel or an inability to use other public health measures to perform their job.

Interactive Dialogue Required

Regardless of whether an employee objects based on health or religious grounds, employers must engage with the objecting employee(s) to determine whether a reasonable accommodation would allow the employee(s) to perform the essential functions of their job without compromising the health and safety of the workplace. Employers should document the interactive process in writing, including the proposing of accommodations such as use of masks or other personal protective equipment, relocating the employee’s workstation, working from home, or even a leave of absence. Only those accommodations that do not present an undue hardship are required to be consider by the employer.

Don’t Forget About State Law – A Look at New Jersey, Pennsylvania & the Third Circuit

State law and the case law of the Third Circuit will also play a critical role in any workplace that may require employees to be vaccinated. As of January 2020, New Jersey law requires that each “health care facility” establish and implement annual flu vaccination programs including mandatory annual vaccinations. New Jersey law also
provides that some employer-required medical examinations, which may include vaccinations, must be paid for by the employer either directly or through reimbursement.

Pennsylvania on the other hand currently does not have a vaccination requirement law. Neither state prohibits private employers from enacting mandatory vaccine policies and programs, and the New Jersey law may provide the State with a means of requiring employees beyond the health care industry to get vaccinated.

The Third Circuit has addressed the issue of a religious objection to a mandatory vaccine program. In December 2017, the Third Circuit was faced with a hospital worker who was terminated for refusing to a get a flu shot in contradiction to his employer’s policy, on the basis of his religious beliefs. Fallon, the employee in Fallon v. Mercy Catholic Med. Ctr. Of S. Pa., 877 F.3d 487 (3d Cir. 2017), had previously had his religious exemption granted by the hospital, but in 2014 the employer’s standards had changed and that Fallon’s basis for his religious beliefs against vaccination were, the hospital said, no longer valid. Specifically, the hospital required a new level of proof to support claimed religious beliefs. The Third Circuit upheld the lower court’s dismissal of the employee’s lawsuit. The Court analyzed whether the employee’s beliefs were in fact religious and were in fact sincerely held. The Court analyzed:

(1) whether Fallon’s beliefs were, in the context of Fallon’s life, religious;

(2) whether Fallon’s beliefs occupied a place in Fallon’s life parallel to that filled by God in a traditionally religious person;

(3) whether Fallon’s beliefs addressed “fundamental and ultimate questions having to do with deep and imponderable matters”;

(4) whether Fallon’s beliefs were a “belief-system”; and

(5) whether there were any formal and external signs of Fallon’s beliefs.

The Court ultimately decided that Fallon’s beliefs, while sincerely held, were not religious and instead found that Fallon was worried about the health effects of the flu vaccine, disbelieved the science behind vaccines and wanted to avoid the vaccine. This case illustrates the employee-specific nature of exemption requests and that employers should analyze each employee’s situation independently. However, a deep dive into whether beliefs are truly religious should be reserved for the Courts. Rather, employers should mainly focus on whether the request for accommodation imposes an undue hardship on the employer. It also indicates that employers can require employees claiming religious beliefs to support those beliefs.

Based on the above, there is no law stopping employers who wish to require employees to be vaccinated from requiring its employees to receive a flu vaccine or potentially a COVID-19 vaccine through establishment and enactment of a mandatory vaccine policy and program. For employers seeking to enact such a policy and program they should start that process now and be mindful of the following concerns and best practices.

Practical Concerns and Best Practices for Employers Requiring Employees to be Vaccinated

Areas of Concern

In addition to the individual assessments described above, employers will also need to resolve questions including: is the vaccine effective? If multiple vaccines are brought to market which one should be mandated? Who should pay for the vaccinations? How widely available will the vaccination be? How long is it effective for?

Further, other complicating factors related to mandatory vaccines include: Unionized workforces. Applicable collective bargaining agreements may directly address mandatory vaccines or other health screenings, and nearly all agreements would dictate that implementation of such a policy either requires union consent or must be bargained for.

Age Discrimination

Given that older individuals are more susceptible to both COVID-19 and the flu, employers may think it best to exclude or treat these employees differently. However, even when done for altruistic reasons, such differing treatment is a violation of the ADEA and exposes employers to significant liability and costly litigation.

Workers Compensation and Employer Liability

There is the potential for liability where an employee mandates a vaccine and an employee has an adverse reaction to the vaccine including workers’ compensation claims if not lawsuits. While the federal government provides for such relief, the implementation of a mandatory vaccine policy may shift liability to the employer. Conversely, if an employer does not mandate vaccinations and infection arises there could also be attendant liability for the employer. This potential further solidifies that employers must carefully draft its policy and program and do so with the assistance of counsel.

Refusal to work

Federal law provides that employees who hold a reasonable belief of danger or death, and where such belief is based on fact, can refuse to attend work if the employer refuses to mitigate the danger. If an employer does not mandate a vaccine, its workforce may have grounds to refuse to work.

Best Practices

Start now. Employers should enact vaccination policies now regardless of whether the policy will mandate or simply encourage employees to take the vaccine. If vaccines are to be mandated, employers should also engage in the interactive process for any religion-based objections now to avoid this time-consuming process occurring when the vaccine is ready.

Cast a wide net

Employers should consider all aspects of a mandatory vaccine policy including which employees it will apply to, how to assess the effectiveness and safety of a COVID-19 vaccine, what to do if there is limited availability of COVID-19 vaccine, and what accommodations the employer is willing, and not willing to provide.

Be specific

Employers should ensure that their policies designate which protocols apply to which vaccines, flu, COVID-19, and others. Further, parameters for how vaccinations will occur, establishing proof of vaccination, the objection process, and alternative measures should be specifically spelled out to avoid ambiguity.

Open communication

Prior to any vaccine policy being rolled out, employers should review the policy and procedures with employees and answer as many questions as possible to avoid confusion and apprehension on the part of employees and management-level employees responsible for administering the policy.

Consider alternative measures

Some alternatives to vaccines, which can also be used as accommodations, include: masks or other PPE, moving non-vaccinated employees to either different workspaces, different locations or departments without altering terms and conditions of employment, and expanding remote work while ensuring teleworking policies are in good condition.

Stick to the law.

Employers must remember that currently only religious and medical reasons provide employees with an exception to mandatory vaccines. Ethical obligations, fear, or similar anti-vaccination beliefs have rarely been accepted as valid reasons for refusing to comply with an employer’s mandatory vaccination policy. Employers should only consider and evaluate objections based on religious and medical reasons, and avoid considering exemptions based on generalized fear or non-religious beliefs.
By acting now, employers will be ready when a new vaccine is announced, and will be able to navigate this new terrain by minimizing the impact on both employees and business continuity.

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and none of these materials is offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice or a legal opinion based on any specific facts or circumstances.

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WCRE THIRD QUARTER 2020 REPORT

THE SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY & PHILLY CRE MARKETS HEAT UP QUICKER THAN EXPECTED AFTER PANDEMIC-FUELED CHALLENGES

Economic Recovery Lost Steam Through the Quarter, But Leasing Activity was Strong

WCRE THIRD QUARTER 2020 REPORTCommercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its analysis of the third quarter of 2020 that the Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania markets out-performed expectations tempered by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While the crisis reverberated through the economy and daily life, quarterly CRE indicators throughout the region showed resiliency and even some cause for muted optimism.

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“Uncertainty is high, of course, and will remain high unfortunately, but an economy that seemed to be recovering delivered some good news in our markets,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. 

There were approximately 596,873 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which was more than double the total for the previous quarter. The jump was driven by Lockheed Martin’s four renewals totaling approximately 320,000 square feet. Even without those transactions, Q3 leasing was about equal to the total for Q2. New tenant leases comprised approximately 93,544 square feet, or approximately 16% of all deals for the three counties surveyed.

Other office market highlights from the report:

  • Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 12.95 percent, which is a jump from the previous quarter’s 11.5 percent.
  • Average rents for Class A & B product remain unchanged, as they 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 third quarter.
  • These averages have hovered near this range for more than a year.
  • Vacancy in Camden County increased to 14.9 percent for the quarter.
  • Burlington County’s vacancy increased to 11 percent after dropping more than a point during the first quarter.

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 rose more than half a point, to 9.1 percent, after having hovered near a 20-year low and below the vacancy rates of comparable major cities at the onset of the pandemic.
  • The industrial sector in Philadelphia led the market, as it generally does. During Q3 vacancy rates ticked down to 5.3 percent, a slight drop from the previous quarter. Although net absorption turned negative for flex and specialized space, it increased by 167,035 square feet for logistics space.
  • As vulnerable as retail CRE may be due to unprecedented job loss and businesses temporarily shuttering and/or reducing capacity, the vacancy rate held steady at 5.1 percent, representing a very small increase over Q2. Net absorption returned to positive territory at 284,752 square feet for the quarter, but is at negative 1.2 million 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 9.7 percent from 5.4 percent in Q2. While average rents fell by nearly a third to the range of $11.68/sf NNN.
  • Retail vacancy in Burlington County held steady at 7.6 percent, with average rents increasing to the range of $13.82/sf NNN.
  • Retail vacancy in Gloucester County ticked up half a point to 12.9 from after posting a major increase in Q1, with average rents down in the range of $13.13/sf NNN.

The full WCRE Q3 Market 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 online at www.wolfcre.com, on Twitter & Instagram @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Visit our blog pages at www.southjerseyofficespace.comwww.southjerseyindustrialspace.comwww.southjerseymedicalspace.comwww.southjerseyretailspace.comwww.phillyofficespace.comwww.phillyindustrialspace.comwww.phillymedicalspace.com and www.phillyretailspace.com.

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WCRE SECOND QUARTER 2020 REPORT

UNDER SEVERE CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS, THE SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY & PHILLY CRE MARKETS STILL OUTPERFORMED EXPECTATIONS

Despite Widespread Lockdowns, Closures, and Uncertainty, the Market Showed Strength

Commercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its analysis of the second quarter of 2020 that the Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania markets held their own amid the most uncertain quarter in recent history. The coronavirus pandemic has upended every aspect of life and deeply impacted the economy. Still, quarterly CRE performance indicators showed some positive news, even as the effects of the crisis began taking hold. Vacancy rates across every property type remained low, and the sales market stayed active.

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“In the face of global calamity, and under severe but necessary restrictions, the CRE market in our area showed strong fundamentals and resiliency,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “The performance was a mixed bag, but we saw sufficient reasons for optimism.” 

There were approximately 277,716 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which was a drop of 26% from the previous quarter. New tenant leases comprised approximately 129,569 square feet, or approximately 46.7% of all deals for the three counties surveyed. To help compare Q2 2020 vs. Q2 2019, there were approximately 286,707 square feet of new leases and renewals executed during the same time period a year ago,

Other office market highlights from the report:

● Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 11.5 percent, which is a slight uptick from the previous quarter, but still not far off from a 20-year low.

● Average rents for Class A & B product remain unchanged, as they 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 increased a full point to 12.6 percent for the quarter.

● Burlington County’s vacancy further dropped to 10.4 percent after dropping more than a point during the first quarter.

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 second quarter in Pennsylvania include:

● The vacancy rate in Philadelphia’s office market dropped slightly to 8.5 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. Q2 saw vacancy rates at 5.5 percent, only slightly higher than the previous quarter. Net absorption dropped about 20 percent, to 4.3 million SF, which was still strong. Rent growth jumped again, to 5.3 percent. Rent growth for the past few quarters has far exceeded the long-term average of 1.7 percent.

● Retail may be most at risk from the crisis. Rising wages and low unemployment had been fueling retail spending, buoying the CRE market. But with unprecedented job loss and many businesses temporarily shuttered by stay-home orders, retail will bear the brunt. The vacancy rate inched up to 5.0 percent, while net absorption was negative 546,300 square feet over the last twelve months. These figures may well become more dire in Q2, as the true economic effects of the pandemic take hold.

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

● Retail vacancy in Camden County dropped to 5.4 percent from 6.2 percent in Q1. While average rents fell slightly to the range of $17.20/sf NNN.

● Retail vacancy in Burlington County dropped to 7.6 percent, with average rents in the range of $12.14/sf NNN.

● Retail vacancy in Gloucester County ticked down to 12.4 from after posting a major increase in Q1, with average rents in the range of $14.21/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 online at www.wolfcre.com, 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 Appointed Exclusive Agent to Market Florence L. Walther Elementary School Property 

Florence L. Walther Elementary SchoolWolf Commercial Real Estate (WCRE) is pleased to announce that it has been appointed exclusive agent to market for sale and lease the Florence L. Walther Elementary School, located at 56 Chestnut St. Lumberton, New Jersey.

This new listing opportunity adds to WCRE’s growing number of assignments of educational and institutional properties in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey region.

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The Florence L Walther consists of 2 buildings with a total 55,806 square feet and is situated on an approximate 4.07 Acre site offering an excellent location near heavily traveled Route I-295 and Route 38 in Lumberton, New Jersey.

The Florence L Walther School is planning to close at the end of June. This highly visible property has a campus-like atmosphere with the main building offering 53,406 square feet. Additionally, the Lumberton Extended Daycare building offers 2,400 square feet of space with a vast playground next to the site. The school has been well maintained and is available for immediate occupancy.

Mark Leung, School Business Administrator and Board Secretary for Lumberton School District said, “We had a need for commercial real estate professional services and put out a request for qualifications. WCRE’s response exhibited extensive experience working with schools, coupled with their breadth of knowledge of the local real estate market, made them the obvious choice.”

WCRE’s institutional specialist team of Chris Henderson and Phil Costa said,

“WCRE is proud to partner with Lumberton Township Board of Education as our latest institutional relationship in Southern New Jersey. We look forward to applying our WCRE 360 marketing approach to find a new user for this highly-desirable property.”

A marketing brochure 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 at www.wolfcre.com, 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, www.phillyretailspace.com.

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WCRE FIRST QUARTER 2020 REPORT

THE YEAR STARTED OFF ON A HIGH NOTE IN THE SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY & PHILLY CRE MARKETS, THEN COVID-19 CREATED CHAOS

Predictions for 2020 Had Been Bullish, But are Now a Great Unknown

Commercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its analysis of the first quarter of 2020 that the Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania markets continued their years-long strong performance at the outset of the new decade. But by March it was clear that, just as every other area of life would be disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the CRE market would not be immune. The quarterly performance still showed positive news, but the effects of the crisis began taking hold during the last weeks of Q1, so the true impact hadn’t become fully apparent. Vacancy rates across every property type remain low, and, while rent increases have cooled somewhat, growth remained positive for the quarter. Even before the pandemic struck many feared there were signs that the decade-long expansion was nearing its end. But even as growth slowed down, the economy appeared to be moving forward at a fairly solid pace before the crisis.

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“Initially the assumption was that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak would directly impact the regions in Asia where it first was identified, and that the impact to the U.S. would come in the form of disruption of supply chains and slower economic growth abroad,”
said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE.

“While those shocks have happened, the rapid spread of the virus within the US and around the world has impacted the global economy, and those effects are still becoming apparent throughout our local and regional CRE markets.”

There were approximately 374,429 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which was up more than 80 percent over the previous quarter. The sales market stayed active, with about 1.02 million square feet on the market or under agreement. Completed sales were up about ten percent over the previous quarter, at approximately 866,444 square feet trading hands.

New leasing activity accounted for approximately 47 percent of all deals for the three counties surveyed. Overall, gross leasing absorption for Q1 was in the range of 110,000 square feet, up about 25 percent over the fourth quarter.

Other office market highlights from the report:

● Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 11.2 percent, which is significantly improved from the previous quarter, and 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 ticked down to 11.6 percent for the quarter, as prospecting activity improved.

● Burlington County’s vacancy dropped to 10.8 percent, more than a full point improvement over Q4.

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 first quarter in Pennsylvania include:

● The vacancy rate in Philadelphia’s office market dropped slightly to 8.5 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. Q1 saw vacancy rates at 5.5 percent, only slightly higher than the previous quarter. Net absorption dropped about 20 percent, to 4.3 million SF, which was still strong. Rent growth jumped again, to 5.3 percent. Rent growth for the past few quarters has far exceeded the long-term average of 1.7 percent.

● Retail may be most at risk from the crisis. Rising wages and low unemployment had been fueling retail spending, buoying the CRE market. But with unprecedented job loss and many businesses temporarily shuttered by stay-home orders, retail will bear the brunt. The vacancy rate inched up to 5.0 percent, while net absorption was negative 546,300 square feet over the last twelve months. These figures may well become more dire in Q2, as the true economic effects of the pandemic take hold.

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

● Retail vacancy in Camden County rose very slightly to 6.2 percent from 6.0 percent in Q4. While average rents rose to the range of $17.27/sf NNN.

● Retail vacancy in Burlington County ticked up a second consecutive quarter to 8.0 percent, with average rents in the range of $12.23/sf NNN.

● Retail vacancy in Gloucester County jumped a full point to 12.7 from 11.7 percent, with average rents in the range of $13.71/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 online at www.wolfcre.com, 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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NJEDA COVID-19 Economic Relief Package

NJEDA initiatives aimed at stabilizing and revitalizing local small businesses, midsize businesses, and other early-stage companies.

NJEDA has developed an economic stability approach around three core principles

1. Get funding into the market as soon as possible
► Where possible, adjust existing NJEDA programs to address crisis needs
► Utilize multiple channels / partners to maximize marketing of programs and minimize processing capacity constraints

2. Leverage private, federal, and philanthropic capital where possible to scale impact

3. Provide a suite of compatible offerings to help address varied marketplace needs (e.g., grants, no-cost loans, low-cost loans, loans through intermediaries, technical assistance)

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WCRE FOURTH QUARTER 2019 REPORT

YEAR ENDS ON A HIGH NOTE IN SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY & PHILLY CRE MARKETS

Favorable Economic Conditions Expected to Continue into 2020

Commercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its analysis of the fourth quarter of 2019 that the Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania markets continued their years-long overall steady performance. Sales volume and prospecting activity held steady, and although leasing activity was down, vacancy rates remain low across the region for all property types. Gross leasing absorption was positive but trending lower quarter over quarter.

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“CRE performance was good by almost every measure as the year wound down,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “It seems like when one sector or part of the region underperforms, the rest of the market keeps moving in the right direction.”

There were approximately 204,077 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which was down compared to the previous quarter. But the sales market stayed active, with about 1.5 million square feet on the market or under agreement. Completed sales more than doubled from the previous quarter, at approximately 781,130 square feet trading hands.

New leasing activity accounted for approximately 65 percent of all deals for the three counties surveyed. Overall, gross leasing absorption for the fourth quarter was in the range 85,000 square feet, up about 20 percent over the third quarter.

Other office market highlights from the report:

● Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 12 percent, which is up half a point 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 rose to 12 percent for the quarter, due in part to the return of a few large blocks of space to the market.

● Burlington County’s vacancy also stood at 12 percent. Burlington’s vacancy rate also 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 fourth quarter in Pennsylvania include:

● The vacancy rate in Philadelphia’s office market rose slightly to 8.7 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. Q4 saw vacancy rates at 5.4 percent, while net absorption was at 5.4 million SF. Rent growth of 4.8 percent has far exceeded the longterm 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 4.8 percent, while net absorption was negative 98,300 square feet over the last twelve months. This represents a positive swing of more than 450,00 SF for Q4.

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

● Retail vacancy in Camden County fell to 6 percent from 6.9 percent in Q3. While average rents stayed in the range of $17.00/sf NNN.

● Retail vacancy in Burlington County ticked up very slightly, to 7.7 percent, with average rents in the range of $12.52/sf NNN.

● Retail vacancy in Gloucester County jumped to 11.7 from 7.4 percent, with average rents in the range of $13.27/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 online at www.wolfcre.com, 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 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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Understanding New Jersey Liquor Licenses

New Jersey Liquor Licenses

New Jersey Liquor Licenses

Let’s examine the changing landscape of New Jersey liquor licenses. There is no denying the restaurant industry and retail sectors of commercial real estate are undergoing major shifts brought on by changing consumer shopping patterns and tastes. With the rise of e-commerce, the need to visit physical locations has diminished and retailers increasingly need to offer a unique experience or destination in order to attract customers. This, combined with changing dining habits and palates that desire more convenient and varied food and alcohol options, has expanded the alcoholic beverage industry through the country, including in New Jersey.

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With this increased interest and its impact on retail spaces, it is important for landlords, property owners, brokers and other real estate professionals to have a basic understanding of New Jersey liquor licenses.

Restaurants, bars and liquor stores cannot sell, buy or serve alcoholic beverages in New Jersey without the applicable legally required license or permit. There are different categories of New Jersey liquor licenses, but the most relevant for retail purposes are (i) plenary retail consumption licenses, which are used at bars and restaurants to permit the sale of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption, often referred to as “33” or “32” licenses; and (ii) plenary retail distribution licenses that allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages in original containers for off premises consumption, known generally as package good stores or “44” licenses. In New Jersey, licenses are generally issued and regulated at the municipal level, subject to further approval, oversight and enforcement by the State’s Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The number of retail consumption and distribution licenses available in a municipality is dictated by the size of the population. New licenses can only be issued where updated Federal Census data warrants the creation of a new license, and the local issuing authority must follow specific methods established by New Jersey statute and regulations for awarding a new license. Consequentially, the pool of available licenses in a municipality is limited and the overwhelming majority of New Jersey liquor licenses must be purchased through private transactions. The price for a license is determined by supply and demand, with licenses in highly sought after municipalities being quite expensive. The limited supply and high price of liquor licenses in our State is somewhat unique, with many other jurisdictions having separate beer and wine only licenses widely available for restaurants or quick food concepts. Indeed, because of the way the liquor license industry works in New Jersey, some restaurant concepts that include wine and beer sales in their operating model in other jurisdictions find they are not able to similarly operate in New Jersey because either a license is not available or it is cost prohibitive. Landlords and brokers should be cognizant of this when considering attracting out of state restaurants or other alcoholic beverage businesses to a property.

Existing New Jersey liquor licenses are purchased through a transfer process by which the purchaser files a personto-person transfer application (and a place-to-place application when locating a license at a new premises) with the municipality or other local issuing authority. The local issuing authority then reviews the transfer application and performs due diligence on the purchaser, including investigations and criminal background checks on any individuals holding an interest in the license. Local issuing authorities must confirm that a purchaser is not disqualified from holding an interest in a liquor license, that the transfer does not violate applicable laws, and that the source of the funds used to purchase the license is legitimate. In addition to evaluating a purchaser, notice of the transfer must be published in local newspapers, and the transfer must be scheduled for public hearing and approved by the local issuing authority at the public hearing. A purchaser cannot utilize a liquor
license until its transfer is formally approved by the local issuing authority. Moreover, a transfer cannot be conditionally approved or approved subject to the satisfaction of certain contingencies.

Once a liquor license transfer is approved it cannot be undone except by accomplishing another transfer. Given this process, real estate owners and other professionals must be mindful of timing and should include adequate approval time periods and extension rights in contracts and leases involving liquor licenses. Closings on New Jersey liquor licenses are typically completed in escrow since (1) the purchaser cannot make use of the license until it is approved and thus does not want to pay the purchase price over to the seller until it has received formal approval, and (2) the seller cannot undo a transfer once approved and therefore usually requires that funds be deposited in escrow prior to the hearing to ensure that the purchaser pays for the license. As such, parties should carefully address specific escrow and closing instructions in their agreements. Where a landlord
holds the license and expects it to run with the shopping center, special attention must be paid to the arrangement between landlord and tenant concerning the license at lease expiration or termination.

Besides the more traditional New Jersey liquor licenses discussed above, property owners are increasingly encountering local winery and craft brewery establishments as tenants. These licenses are issued by the State directly and are subject to their own separate regulations. Similar to plenary retail licenses, property owners and others need to be aware of the unique issues present in the alcoholic beverage industry.

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WCRE SECOND QUARTER 2019 REPORT

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

Quarterly Performance a Continuation of Success

WCRE SECOND QUARTER 2019 REPORTCommercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its analysis of the second quarter of 2019 that the Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania markets continued to show modest gains and overall solid fundamentals. Sales volume and prospecting activity were up over the first quarter totals, while leasing dipped for the overall region, but was up in Camden County, and Cherry Hill in particular. Gross leasing absorption was lower, but still positive.

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“For several years in a row we have seen mostly slow, steady growth supported by strong fundamentals,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “Commercial real estate has performed very reliably, and although leasing volumes were down this quarter, there is a pipeline of approximately 450,000 square feet of pending deals expected to close in the near term.”

There were approximately 286,707 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which was a decrease of 23 percent over the previous quarter. The sales market stayed active, with about 1.18 million square feet on the market or under agreement. Sales were busy, with approximately 739,714 square feet trading hands. This is nearly four times the square footage sold during the first quarter.

New leasing activity accounted for approximately 75 percent of all deals for the three counties surveyed. Overall, gross leasing absorption for the first quarter was in the range 150,000 square feet, compared to 411,000 in the first quarter.

Other office market highlights from the report:

  • The city of Camden welcomed TRIAD1828 Centre, a newly constructed 394,164 square foot office tower on the waterfront. The Michaels Organization, Conner Strong & Buckelew, and NFI are all relocating their headquarters to the tower.
  • Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 11.40 percent, which is 20 basis points better than the previous quarter.
  • 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 ticked up slightly to 11.3 percent for the quarter. It stood at 11.1 percent in the first quarter.
  • Burlington County’s vacancy dropped to 11.5 percent , improving 60 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 first quarter in Pennsylvania include:

  • The vacancy rate in Philadelphia’s office market ticked down to 8.8 percent, from 9 percent in the previous quarter. 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 second quarter saw a further decrease in vacancy rates, to 4.9 percent, while net absorption was constrained by a shrinking volume of available space. There are 25 industrial properties under construction which will bring an additional 5.27 million square feet to the market.
  • Philadelphia retail is treading water to avoid a major spike in vacancy. The vacancy rate inched down to 4.2 percent, while net absorption was positive at 1.4 million square feet over the last twelve months. This includes two straight quarters in negative territory.

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

  • Retail vacancy in Camden County dropped to 5.7 percent, with average rents in the range of $16.32/sf NNN.
  • Retail vacancy in Burlington County dropped half a point, to 7.4 percent, with average rents in the range of $12.75/sf NNN.
  • Retail vacancy in Gloucester County dropped to 7.9 percent, with average rents in the range of $15.95/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 online at wolfcre.com, on Twitter & Instagram @WCRE1, and on Facebook at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Visit our blog pages at southjerseyofficespace.com, southjerseyindustrialspace.com, southjerseymedicalspace.com, southjerseyretailspace.com, phillyofficespace.com, phillyindustrialspace.com, phillymedicalspace.com and phillyretailspace.com.

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WCRE FIRST QUARTER 2019 REPORT

MODEST GAINS CONTINUE IN SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY & PHILLY CRE MARKETS

Another Solid Quarterly Performance Despite Ongoing Political Uncertainty

Commercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its analysis of the first quarter of 2019 that the Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania markets continued to show overall solid fundamentals, buoyed by new investments from outside the region and economic inflows to support local expansions. Leasing, net absorption, and prospecting activity all were up in the first quarter, while sales dipped slightly.

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“We’ve been in this cycle for several years at this point, with steady growth supported by strong fundamentals,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “The financial markets and political climate have been somewhat less predictable, but commercial real estate has performed very reliably, and we believe will continue to do so.”

There were approximately 373,362 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which was an increase of 10 percent over the previous quarter. The sales market stayed active, too, with about 1.59 million square feet on the market or under agreement. Sales were active, with $24.7 million totaling approximately 186,000 square feet.

New leasing activity accounted for approximately 50 percent of all deals for the three counties surveyed. Overall, gross leasing absorption for the first quarter was in the range 411,000 square feet, an increase of 30 percent over the fourth quarter.

Other office market highlights from the report:

  • Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 11.60 percent, which is 65 basis points higher the previous quarter.
  • 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 stayed near this range throughout 2018 and have remained there into 2019.
  • Vacancy in Camden County dropped to 11.1 percent for the quarter, which is an improvement of 40 basis points compared to the fourth quarter.
  • Burlington County’s vacancy jumped to 12.1 percent after two straight quarters at 10.4 percent. Burlington was impacted by 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 first quarter in Pennsylvania include:

  • The vacancy rate in Philadelphia’s office market moved to 9 percent, up from 7.8 percent at the end of the year. The market’s vacancy rate is at a 17-year low and below that of other major market. Despite this cooling off, demand for office space remains strong, and vacancy in Philadelphia is still below other major cities.
  • Net office space absorption in Philadelphia was 1.1 square feet for the quarter.
  • The industrial sector in Philadelphia remains very strong, though there may be signs of slowing down a bit. The first quarter saw a further decrease in vacancy rates, to 5.1 percent, but net absorption was off, at 4.7 million square feet.
  • Philadelphia retail is treading water to avoid a major spike in vacancy. The vacancy rate ticked down two tenths of a point, to 4.3 percent, while net absorption was positive at 161,406 square feet after two straight quarters in negative territory.

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

  • Retail vacancy in Camden County dropped to 5.8 percent, with average rents in the range of $16.25/sf NNN.
  • Retail vacancy in Burlington County increased to 7.9 percent, with average rents in the range of $13.10/sf NNN.
  • Retail vacancy in Gloucester County stood at 8.1 percent, with average rents in the range of $13.75/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 online at www.wolfcre.com, 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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