Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Market for Retail Space Is Buzzing Again

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Market for Retail Space Is Buzzing Again

Article excerpt

The demand for retail space in North Jersey has picked up significantly in recent months, according to retail real estate brokers and property developers who gathered in Manhattan on Monday for the start of their industry's annual "deal making" convention.

The two-day event has drawn more than 7,000 retail brokers and potential tenants and buyers this year to the Hilton and Sheraton hotels in midtown.

Brokers who are pitching properties in Paramus, Ridgewood, Clifton and other locations in North Jersey said Monday that they are seeing an encouraging surge in the numbers of tenants willing to commit to leases, as well as an increase in national chains that want to expand here because of pent-up demand and the belief that prices are going to rise.

"I've got a waiting list. Ridgewood Avenue is hot," said Peter Jabobsen, chief operating officer of Jacobs Enterprises of Clifton, which is negotiating deals for two empty storefronts in downtown Ridgewood.

"It's the most upbeat I've heard people in the past five years," said Chuck Lanyard, president of The Goldstein Group, a retail brokerage based in Paramus. The Goldstein Group is working with several retailers and restaurants looking to expand in 2013, including a new fast casual restaurant concept, Noodles & Co., Lanyard said.

A survey by The Goldstein Group conducted over the summer found that the retail vacancy rate along highways in North Jersey remains close to an elevated level of 8 percent, but Lanyard and other brokers said they are seeing a lot of that vacant space being absorbed.

The retail real estate market is at the tipping point where rents and prices will rise and vacancy rates will drop, according to the convention's keynote speaker. So those who hesitate will lose, he said.

"Generally, when that big neon 'All Clear' sign goes up, it's too late," Jonathan Gray, global head of real estate of the Blackstone Group, said. …

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