Colliers International has installed a new top broker at its Princeton office, hoping to expand its presence in one of Central Jersey's top office submarkets.
Thomas Romano will bring 17 years’ experience in the Princeton area to his new role as executive managing director of the Mercer County office, the firm said in a news release. Romano formerly was a managing principal at Newmark Knight Frank's Princeton outpost.
“There was a small presence in the Princeton market, and my goal as the person running the office is to grow the footprint and let people know about the platform that Colliers has to offer,” Romano said. He added that the office’s primary focus will be business in “the greater Princeton market,” but said his team will also work throughout Central Jersey.
The hiring by Colliers comes at an uncertain time for the state's office market, including much of central New Jersey. After an up-and-down year, northern and central New Jersey ended 2012 with just 10,345 square feet of positive absorption, according to new figures from the brokerage firm Jones Lang LaSalle.
At 21.6 percent, the Princeton submarket has the fourth-lowest vacancy rate in the state, and the lowest in Central Jersey, JLL found. But like other submarkets around the state, Princeton has seen limited leasing velocity in recent quarters. And in the coming months, manufacturer Church & Dwight will vacate 110,000 square feet at 100 and 101 Thanet Circle in the borough as it moves to a new headquarters in nearby Ewing.
But Romano pointed to signs of recovery in the housing market and the general economy, anticipating that will translate into job growth and office activity in 2013. He also touted the general strength of the Princeton area, which “has been tremendous for me and for most of the brokers that hang their hats in that market,” thanks to industries like financial services, health care and education.
Robert Martie, executive vice president of Colliers International New Jersey, said in a statement that Romano will help drive its plan to expand further in the Princeton area. Colliers also has offices in Parsippany and Mount Laurel.