How work-live-play could boost struggling office sector

People in New Jersey love to talk business over lunch (or breakfast … or dinner … or just coffee). So do the reporters and editors at ROI-NJ. In Food for Thought, we’ll feature some of the best places in New Jersey to meet for a meal — and give you insight into the thoughts of some of the state’s top business leaders, too.

The place: Playa Bowls, 44 Speedwell Ave., Morristown (just off The Green). One of 13 locations of Belmar-based chain that offers healthy options; think plenty of fruit and granola. (See menu.)

Connection to business: Attracts a lot of Morristown-area businesspeople in the morning, “looking for a power burst” after a morning workout, a representative said. Lunch also brings in plenty of folks from Morristown’s bustling business community. Location is looking to do more catering and special projects with businesses in the area.

Meeting with: Bob Klausner, Fox Rothschild. Klausner is one of the top real estate lawyers in the state, as evidenced by his inclusion in the inaugural ROI-NJ Influencers Real Estate list.

We asked him to give us three thoughts on the real estate sector.

  1. On overall behavior:

I don’t see a major change in behavior for real estate developers because of (Gov. Phil) Murphy. I still think it’s business as usual. But that could change. The industry wants more clarity on incentives. So, I think people are cautious, but it’s not changing the bottom line yet. There hasn’t been any legislation going on to make people’s fears go from the subconscious level to the conscious level.

  1. On office leasing:

There just doesn’t seem to be as many deals. But I will say that Hoffmann-La Roche campus has three or four deals on the table that could shake up the New Jersey leasing market. The office market is still weak, except in the confines of this work-play community. You have (Gene) Diaz’s project in Clifton-Nutley, (Peter) Cocoziello’s Sanofi project in Bridgewater and (Ralph) Zucker’s Bell Works project in Holmdel. Now, (Steve) Pozycki is going to try to do that in Newark with the huge project at Broad Street Station. I think that’s the new way to try to make it in office.

  1. On the boom of industrial:

I’m wondering if we’re starting to see a bubble on industrial. Now, there are so many reasons why we aren’t. The continuing death of retail, which means the continuing demand of big box. I don’t know if there’s going to be a bubble of demand or a bubble of price. The prices are just exploding. The fundamentals are not there for the burst of a bubble, but it just feels like something is askew in the industrial market.