Barbara Kauffman, Newark Regional Business Partnership: Why Newark, Why Now?

NEWARK, NJ – Newark has a lot of exciting opportunity. Whether you’re looking at multi-family or industrial, there’s a lot of up-side. However perhaps the most exciting vertical may be the office sector. So CapRE’s Newark CRE Summit included a panel titled Newark Office Leasing & Drivers for New Product: Exploring Trends in Occupancy and Unique Demands of Modern Tenants. Moderator Barbara E. Kauffman, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of the Newark Regional Business Partnership kicked off the discussion with some introductory remarks.

“The question we are asking today is, why Newark, and why now?” began Kauffman. “Some have talked about Amazon’s HQ2 bid as being a game-changer. But I think that the bigger story about why that was a game-changer is that the private sector and the public sector coalesced to be able to bring that bid about.”

data center summitKauffman then revealed an interesting perspective. “I’ve been in Newark for more decades than I long to admit, and this is the first time that I’ve seen that type of collaboration,” she shared. “I think that every single person sitting up here, and many people in the room, were part of that collaboration. And then the fact that the state cooperated with the city, and the fact that the State won the position – it wasn’t just that Newark got selected, even though Newark won – it was pretty remarkable. And that’s the game-changer. It’s not that we got picked, it’s that everybody got together on the same page to make that happen.”

“I give particular credit to Aisha Glover and the CEDC and to the Mayor for being on the leadership team, though there were a whole lot of other people that we could point to,” continued Kauffman. “So let’s change [gears]. What do tenants want? That’s what we’re going to be talking about. There is such a compelling story behind creating a sense of place and an environment of buzz. A place that you want to be, with activity, restaurants, diversity, international cuisine and different types of people, gathering places, and concerts. Turning interior space into exterior space, as has been done with 2 Gateway. With concerts and other activities and other things there.”

“We’ll also talk about co-working. And we are delighted to have someone new the community, Dayo Adiatu, Community Manager, Launch Pad, who I will turn to for my first question, to talk a little bit about what a co-working space is, and why it’s exciting for Newark,” she intimated. ”Maybe she’ll pick up on the fact that one of the greatest assets of this city is the fact that we’re sitting on some of the highest-speed fiber in the country, if not internationally. And that is a real [selling] point.”

“We’re seeing much more of a blending of the residential property, and there is a lot of residential property downtown,” she said, about to conclude her remarks. “Which is also exciting because it’s taking office space which would never be used again for office, and bringing residential, which creates the 24/7 environment, which brings in retail, and which makes it more attractive for all of us. So it all leads together.”