By David Cohen

Adaptive reuse and redevelopment projects along with a robust job market—particularly in the financial and professional services sectors—are the linchpins driving New Jersey’s office market growth.

The availability rate, which is at its lowest point in nine years, has improved thanks to the repurposing of obsolete office product. Last year, 12 properties totaling 2.3 million square feet were marked for redevelopment, taking them out of inventory. Through the first half of 2018, 20 office properties totaling 2.7 million square feet are slated for redevelopment, which will further lower the availability rate.

The redevelopment of these spaces has also steadily driven up Class A asking rents over the past three years by 6.1 percent to 29.62 per square foot.

The positive momentum in the market can also be attributed to the 4.2 percent unemployment rate, a 10-year low, and incentive programs, like Grow NJ, that have attracted and retained businesses in the Garden State, sustaining demand.

The most significant adaptive reuse project currently under way is at 110 Edison Place in Newark. Also known as Ironside, the 22-acre project will transform a historic obsolete building at the corner of Edison Place and McCarter Highway into a 450,000-square-foot state-of-the-art office and retail building. The seven-story building, with direct access to Mulberry Commons Park, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.