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Sandy's longer-term impact on commercial real estate tough to gauge

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Hurricane Sandy's impact on the commercial real estate market might not become clear for some time, but the storm has allowed some New Jersey developers and professionals to make use of some available space.

In Jersey City, SJP Properties is fielding inquiries at 95 Green St., where the firm has about 85,000 square feet of turn-key space available over two floors, according to a news release. The space is equipped with infrastructure, including a full-building generator, that makes the space move-in ready for firms affected by the storm.

Similarly, many other owners have connected with brokers this week to offer fast options for short-term space, said Robert Kossar, managing director Jones Lang LaSalle New Jersey’s offices. Some of the demand is coming from tenants in markets like Jersey City and the Meadowlands.

“I think the landlords are being great in trying to accommodate whatever companies need for space,” Kossar said, noting that brokers have spent the week coordinating temporary needs with clients.

Jeff Milanaik, president of Heller Industrial Parks, said developers have also been coordinating across the region to offer spaces for relief efforts when possible. On Wednesday, the firm placed the American Red Cross of New Jersey at a vacant 200,000-square-foot industrial building in the Somerset section of Franklin, which is now being used for the organization’s disaster relief center.

The building was one of two unoccupied warehouses in Heller’s 16 million-square-foot portfolio. And it had lost power by Tuesday morning, but was turned back on about 10 minutes before Milanaik toured the space with a Red Cross representative, he said.

“I said, ‘I’ve been trying to get rid of this building,’ ” Milanaik said. “He looked at me and said, ‘Do you believe in divine intervention?’ ”

Heller’s New Jersey properties were unscathed. But many industrial users in hard-hit markets are now seeking short-term warehouse and distribution properties, Kossar said. So far, tenants have sought terms in the range of three to nine months.

“There’s a lot of that going on right now, but      a lot of it is short term,” Kossar said. “A lot of what we’re concerned about is sort of the longer-term impacts.”

The longer term is tougher to gauge, though, he said. Industrial users likely will need to rally to meet the supply chain and logistics needs tied to relief efforts in the state. In the meantime, office users may be even less focused on hiring, instead working intently on getting their businesses back to normal, he said.





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