Bergen County Betting on Office, Retail, Mixed Use Property
by Josh Anderson
FORT LEE, New Jersey – Office and retail space have been generating a lot of buzz in New Jersey’s Gold Coast, especially Bergen County. Just ask Joanne Cimiluc, the Director of the Bergen County Division of Economic Development, who says that it’s an exciting time for many communities in the area.
Montvale and Hackensack are two prime examples. According to Cimiluc, Montvale is very pro-business, with a dedicated team always willing to work with companies to bring them to town. “Most towns are not this hands on,” she says. “They’ll do what it takes. They’re very proactive.” Some active firms include KPMG, Sharp, and Wegmans. Similarly, Cimiluc says that Hackensack is expecting a healthy “facelift,” due to “so much development on the table right now, especially in mixed use.”
Bergen County has been the recipient of negative press in the past years regarding a dearth of mixed-use properties that allow people to work and play where they live (often associated with millennials), but Cimiluc says that is changing. “Walkable communities are attractive to people across generations,” says Cimiluc. “People like to walk. Walkable communities are productive communities, and things are changing.”
Cimiluc cites some high-profile changes in ownership of landmark buildings, which she says is bringing in more capital investment. Specifically, a former Toys R Us Headquarters in Montvale is now going to be a branch of Memorial Sloane Kettering medical clinic, saving hours in a car that many residents who commute across Hudson for care won’t miss.
“We don’t want anything to sit vacant,” says Cimiluc, “but this particular development will be very good. More capital will come to service people coming to be treated, such as restaurants and retail.” Cimiluc also expects an influx of future healthcare employees such as physicians to settle in New Jersey.
Another major deal in Bergen County took place at Continental Towers in Hackensack. This facility was just bought out by Capstone Realty and JD Company with a healthy capital investment. Located near a transit hub, it should in a good position to attract economic activity.
In anticipation of further speculation and investment, Cimiluc has been active planning a new initiative and website called Bergen For Business, which will be a resource for any investor, developer, company, or municipality interested in property for sale in Bergen County. Market intelligence such as median income, demographics, consumer spending reports, lists of nearby businesses, age distribution, employment trends, geographic mapping and more, instantly and for free, for property all across Bergen County.
Though it will not go live for a few weeks yet, Cimiluc anticipates that the resource will aid in speeding up closings of deals as well as in research phases. “No one else has done this,” says Cimiluc. “There’s a clear need.”