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Retail Sales Explode in March as Consumers Use Stimulus Checks to Spend Heavily

A fresh batch of stimulus checks sent consumer purchases surging in March as the U.S. economy continued to get juice from aggressive congressional spending.

Advance retail sales rose 9.8% for the month, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. That compared to the Dow Jones estimate of a 6.1% gain and a decline of 2.7% in February.

Sporting goods, clothing and food and beverage led the gains in spending and contributed to the best month for retail since the May 2020 gain of 18.3%, which came after the first round of stimulus checks.

A separate report showed first-time filings for unemployment insurance plunged, with the Labor Department reporting 576,000 new jobless claims for the week ended April 10. That was easily the lowest total since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic and represented a sharp decline from the previous week’s total of 769,000.

The Dow Jones claims estimate was 710,000.

As the jobs picture brightened, consumers took their $1,400 stimulus checks and spent aggressively. The money came courtesy of the nearly $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act that Congress passed in March.

The legislation took total stimulus and rescue payments approved in the year since the pandemic began to about $5 trillion, fueled by red ink that fiscal authorities say is necessary to keep the economy running.

Spending for the month was broad-based, boosting sales by nearly 28% from March 2020 as pandemic-related business closings began.

The critical bar and restaurant industry saw a 13.4% surge, thanks to the increasing relaxing of restrictions as Covid vaccines accelerate to a pace of more than 3 million a day. Sporting goods spending was the highest percentage gainer at 23.5%, followed by clothing and accessories at 18.3% and motor vehicle parts and dealers at 15.1%.

March’s retail sales report was another sign that consumers overall are willing to spend, even though increasing amounts of stimulus checks are going towards savings rather than spending.

“Spending will almost certainly drop back in April as some of the stimulus boost wears off, but with the vaccination rollout proceeding at a rapid pace and households finances in strong shape, we expect overall consumption growth to continue rebounding rapidly in the second quarter too,” wrote Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

A recent report from the New York Federal Reserve indicated that stimulus recipients expect to save 41.6% of their checks and spend 24.7%. Following the first round of checks in the spring of 2020, consumers saved 34.5% and spent 29.2%.

As the recovery has gained speed, consumers have had to deal with the strongest signs yet of inflationary pressures building. The consumer price index rose 2.6% in March from a year ago, thanks in part to a surge in gasoline prices. The year-over-year gain was the largest since August 2018.

Thursday’s economic data also showed more signs of a thawing in the labor market.

The plunge in jobless claims generated the lowest weekly number since March 14, 2020, just after the official pandemic declaration. Nearly two weeks later, weekly claims filings would top out at a staggering 6.15 million, easily the worst week in U.S. history.

Since then, the jobs market has improved dramatically, with the unemployment rate falling from a pandemic peak of 14.7% to its current 6%. The nonfarm payroll addition of 916,000 in March brought more hope that the healing is accelerating.

Despite the big decline in weekly claims, continuing claims were little changed at 3.73 million.

The four-week moving average for weekly claims declined to 683,000, also the lowest since March 14.

The total for those receiving benefits under all government programs tumbled by more than 1.2 million to 16.9 million for the week ended March 27. That decline came mostly due to drops in those filing under pandemic-related programs.

About half the weekly decline in filings came from California, which dropped by 75,645, according to unadjusted data. Virginia fell by 23,110, Ohio was down 22,731, and Texas reported a drop of 18,883.

A pair of other economic indicators also turned in much stronger readings than expected.

The Philadelphia Fed’s manufacturing survey registered a reading of 50.2, representing the difference between firms reporting expansion vs. those seeing contraction. That was well ahead of the Dow Jones estimate of 42 and the highest reading since March 1973.

At the same time, the Empire State Manufacturing survey came in at 26.3, its highest since October 2017 and better than the Dow Jones estimate of 20.

*Article courtesy of CNBC

For more information about New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space, New Jersey or Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey or Philadelphia office space or other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in both New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space.

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

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

As experts in both Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia or New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey and 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, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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Nearly 10,000 Apartments Under Construction in Philadelphia, With More on the Way

The Durst Organization’s proposed 26-story, 360-unit apartment project along the Delaware River is among a series of multifamily developments going through the approval process in Philadelphia, underscoring the optimism residential developers have for the city in spite of the pandemic.

A new housing report by Center City District reveals that an area defined as Greater Center City had 9,400 residential units under construction as of the end of last year, which is a 39% increase compared with the 6,762 units under construction at the end of 2019. 

Post Brothers is tackling one of the largest multifamily projects currently under development as it continues to transform the Piazza in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood. When it bought the Piazza in 2017, the community had 500 apartments. Another 700 units is in development at a project called Piazza Terminal. 

Post Brothers also developed 280 units at the Poplar at Ninth and Poplar streets that is 25% leased. 

“Absorption has been incredible,” said Matt Pestronk of Post Brothers. “During the early part of Covid, the market was dead but, across the whole portfolio, we are more leased than we were and at higher rents.”

Post Brothers owns 3,000 units in Philadelphia, excluding apartments under development. Of those apartments, 95% are occupied. 

The strong absorption last year was likely helped by a reduction in the number of newly constructed apartments that hit the market. A total of just 1,126 new housing units were built in 2020, which was half of what was completed in 2019, according to CCD. The reduction incompletions last year can be attributed to a halt in construction activity from March through June as a result of state mandates early in the pandemic. 

Despite that lull, developers did not stop planning for the future, banking that any population declines driven by the pandemic will be temporary and may even increase as flexible working arrangements have led people to move to Philadelphia, which is more affordable compared with other cities. 

The sale last year of development parcels throughout the region, and particularly in Philadelphia, was the highest it has been in at least five years, according to Real Capital Analytics data. By the end of the third quarter, $417.7 million of these properties had traded throughout the region with more than half of that transacted amount — $282.4 million — coming in Philadelphia.

In 2020, even with the pandemic, the 3,842 permits issued stood as the third-highest over the last 30 years, according to CCD.

The surge in permitting activity was driven by a pending expiration of the 10-year tax abatement on new construction, which was scheduled to sunset at the end of December 2020 but was extended for another year. Historically low-interest rates were also a contributing factor. 

Proposed projects in the pipeline that have gone or will go before the Philadelphia’s Civic Design Review Committee this month alone involve 1,612 new units. Including the Durst project, the number swells to nearly 2,000 apartments in the works at the early part of this year. The proposals include: 

    • Newtrack Development Corp. seeking to build 200 residential units in a 185,266-square-foot building at 2300 Market St. The project is proposed to have 12,048 square feet of commercial space. 
    • Atapco Properties proposing 185 apartments in a 178,837-square-foot building at 4401 Ridge Ave. that will have 4,400 square feet of commercial space.
    • 801 Girard LLC planning 80 units in a 61,291-square-foot building at 801 E. Girard Ave.
    • Riverwards Group envisions two projects on East Somerset Street. The developer envisioned 145 units in a 148,936-square-foot building at 2151-58 Somerset and 390 units in a 380,959-square-foot building at 220-50 Somerset. 
    • Glen Mills Associates has plans for 139 units and 12,991 square feet of commercial space in a 133,897-square-foot building at 1810-34 E. Hagert St., which is also referred to as 1825 E. Boston St. 
    • Mosaic Development Partners proposes 83 units in a 79,040-square-foot building at 6134-46 Wayne Ave.
    • Ampere Capital Group plans 110 units in a 106,374-square-foot building at 1640-48 Hancock St.
    • Another 280 units in a 272,111-square-foot project at 119 S. 31 St., which is a property owned by Horizon Housing Inc.

The Durst Organization’s development will be its first along the Delaware River, where it has assembled a series of properties and was last year named developer of Penn’s Landing. The new building will rise on a 1.6-acre parcel located between Vine and Callowhill streets. As planned, it will include 10,000 square feet of retail and a third of the property will be dedicated as open space. 

*Article courtesy of Philadelphia Business Journal

For more information about New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space, New Jersey or Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey or Philadelphia office space or other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in both New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space.

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

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

As experts in both Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia or New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey and 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, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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WCRE FIRST QUARTER 2021 REPORT

WCRE FIRST QUARTER 2021 REPORT: SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY & PHILLY MARKETS DOWN DUE TO THE PANDEMIC, BUT NOT OUT

Good News on Public Health and the Economy Holds the Promise of Better Days Ahead for CRE

Commercial real estate brokerage WCRE reported in its analysis of the first quarter of the new year that the Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania markets may be through the worst of the downturn brought on a year ago by the pandemic. The widespread availability of effective COVID-19 vaccinations, coupled with large-scale financial relief from the federal government, may bring an optimistic note back to the market. For the moment, market performance on several indicators remains off.

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“CRE performance in the first quarter seems to be tracking with our lived experience. As expected, office vacancy is quite high, while demand for industrial space is surging,” said Jason Wolf, founder and managing principal of WCRE. “Market fundamentals are shaky, but there are pockets of strength and resiliency.”

There were approximately 555,988 square feet of new leases and renewals executed in the three counties surveyed (Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), which was more than double the previous quarter. New tenant leases comprised approximately 44,952 square feet, or only about 8% of all deals for the three counties.

Other office market highlights from the report:
• Overall vacancy in the market is now approximately 13.55 percent, virtually unchanged from the previous quarter, and an increase of two full points since Q2 last year.

• Unsurprisingly, office vacancy rates have risen throughout the region. At 11.2%, the rate is the highest it’s been since 2014.

• On the other end of pandemic-induced usage shifts, the already strong industrial vacancy rate improved to 5.4%.

• 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.

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 rose another half a point, and now stands at 10.1 percent, after hovering near a 20-year low. Despite the pandemic fallout, the city is still seeing rent and occupancy levels ahead of other major markets.

• The industrial sector in Philadelphia remained the bright spot. The last year saw 4 million SF of net absorption and 7.8% rent growth.

• Retail remains the most responsive to market conditions and the most vulnerable sector. Infection prevention measures and other economic pressures have brought existing issues from before the pandemic into sharper relief. Average retail net absorption for 2020 was 1.8 million square feet, but for the 12 months just concluded, it is -1.4 million square feet. 

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

• The Consumer Confidence Index rose slightly in February, before rocketing to its highest level in a year in March.

• Retail vacancy in Camden County ticked up to 10.9 percent after posting a large increase in the middle of 2020. While average rents changed little, in the range of $11.76/sf NNN.

• Burlington County inched up to 10.4 percent, representing a small increase on top of the jump from 7.6 percent in Q3 2020. Average rents increased to the range of $14.39/sf NNN.

• Gloucester County saw the biggest jump, up to 15.9 after increasing throughout last year, with average rents up almost a full dollar per square foot in the range of $14.11/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.comwww.southjerseymedicalspace.comwww.southjerseyretailspace.comwww.phillyofficespace.com,  www.phillyindustrialspace.comwww.phillymedicalspace.com and www.phillyretailspace.com

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Consumers Spent $900 Billion More Online in 2020. Here’s Who Will Keep the Biggest Gains

Consumers across the globe spent $900 billion more at online retailers in 2020 compared with the prior two-year trend, according to a report released Tuesday by the Mastercard Economics Institute. 

Shoppers are heading back to restaurants and returning to stores to buy clothes and shoes in person. Yet they will continue to stock their fridges and hunt for good deals online — a sticky habit developed during the Covid pandemic, according to the report.

Nearly every retailer’s online sales jumped as shoppers were stuck at home. As consumers picked up online purchases in the parking lot and got packages or takeout dropped at their doorsteps, e-commerce made up about $1 out of every $5 spent on retail globally. That’s an increase from about $1 out of every $7 spent in 2019, the report said.

In an interview on CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange” with Frank Holland, Mastercard’s chief economist, Bricklin Dwyer, said about 20% to 30% of the $900 billion in additional digital spending will continue into 2021 and the next few years.

However, the long-term e-commerce gains will be uneven and will depend on what a retailer sells, how they adapted their business model and how consumers prefer to shop. For some merchandise, such as clothing, shoppers may prefer to go back to brick-and-mortar stores where they can try on an outfit before buying it. In certain retail categories, such as electronics, online purchases already drove a larger share of overall sales, so there was less room to grow.

Grocery and discount stores will see the most dramatic and lasting shift to e-commerce, according to the report. Discount stores include dollar stores, wholesale clubs, and other retailers that sell to customers at near-wholesale prices. Grocers will likely retain about 70% to 80% of the digital sales gains they saw during the peak of the pandemic and discount stores will hold onto about 40% to 50% of them, the report said.

For both sectors, online sales made up only a single-digit share of overall sales before the pandemic — creating an opportunity for more noticeable growth.

Clothing stores, restaurants, and sporting/toy stores saw the biggest initial spike during the pandemic, however, but only kept 10% to 20% of that peak in sales, according to the report.

Electronics and department stores had the highest penetration of online sales before the pandemic, with e-commerce making up about 55% to 60% and 40% to 50% of their total sales, respectively, according to Mastercard. For the two sectors, their expected permanent shift will be around 20% to 30% of their peak jumps.

Dwyer said grocers face unique hurdles — even as more consumers shop online for produce, meats, and other ingredients. Only about 10% of overall grocery spending is through e-commerce, he said.

“You have to trust someone else to pick your peaches,” he said. “You have to have trust for someone else to deliver your goods and still have them good when they arrive. So that really is some of those barriers that we’re crossing.”

 *Article courtesy of CNBC

For more information about New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space, New Jersey or Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey or Philadelphia office space or other New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial properties, please call 856-857-6300 to speak with Jason Wolf (jason.wolf@wolfcre.com) at Wolf Commercial Real Estate, a leading New Jersey and Philadelphia commercial real estate broker that specializes in both New Jersey and Philadelphia office space, New Jersey and Philadelphia retail space, and New Jersey and Philadelphia industrial space.

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

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

As experts in both Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial real estate listings and services, the team at our commercial real estate brokerage firm provides ongoing detailed information about Philadelphia and New Jersey commercial properties to our clients and prospects to help them achieve their real estate goals.  If you are looking for New Jersey or Philadelphia office space, Philadelphia or New Jersey retail space, or New Jersey or Philadelphia industrial space for sale or lease, Wolf Commercial Real Estate is the New Jersey and 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, Philadelphia, and New Jersey commercial properties for lease or sale through our Philadelphia commercial real estate brokerage firm.

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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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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 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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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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