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Demand Grows for Smart-Growth Work Environments

January 4th, 2012 by

Liberty Street mixed-use development in New Brunswick. Photo courtesy of New Brunswick Development Corp.

According to a survey done by commercial real estate firm CBRE of tenants in its New Jersey properties, the three most important amenities sought by firms as they evaluate office space are:

  • Easy access to a variety of food choices (22.4 percent);
  • Access to transit (16.4 percent); and
  • Access to downtown (11.9 percent).

Being able to offer these amenities has apparently become an important factor in a company’s ability to recruit and retain talent, and properties without them are at a serious disadvantage. (This article in Real Estate Weekly sums up well the key findings of the survey.)

This is one more piece of evidence that Garden Staters want more than just a workspace to go to; they want to work in a place that offers them walkable access to amenities, such as food or a dry cleaner or a gym or a bank. The Monmouth University poll co-commissioned by New Jersey Future in September highlighted these same preferences, and similar trends have increasingly been showing up nationwide

Large organizations have the ability to specify that such amenities be present in order for a property to be considered and, as the Real Estate Weekly article points out, some are even opting to build new facilities in order to ensure these amenities are included. But what of the smaller employers that also need office space but don’t have the clout to make similar demands?

Here in New Jersey, the good news is that even the smallest company doesn’t have to look very far to find those top three amenities cited as “must-haves.” There are many places in the Garden State where these amenities already exist. The state’s traditional downtowns offer a variety of eating options, plus other amenities, and many of them are reachable by transit. (A quibble with the Real Estate Weekly article: its discussion of transit focuses entirely on the need for workers to get from New Jersey satellite offices to larger offices in New York, and doesn’t mention their need to get from their New Jersey homes to their New Jersey offices without a long and arduous commute by car.) In addition, many of these smart-growth places – we looked at Morristown and New Brunswick in a recent report – tend to do better on a property-tax-per-acre basis than some other environments.

These trends offer a winning scenario for all involved. Employers of any size can use a downtown location to their recruiting advantage, and those who select downtown locations will be providing their workers with a variety of food options with a side of local character; with easily accessible amenities; and in many cases with access to transit; and the increased activity will ultimately strengthen the downtown itself. 


5 Responses to “Demand Grows for Smart-Growth Work Environments”

  1. Another Opinion says:

    hmmm,
    only 50%… what do the other 50% want, prey-tell…

    you guys might want to do some research…
    I am fighting a different battle in the same war… “Comprehensive Planning” on a local basis… you should google “Your Town/County” + “Comprehensive Plan” and read it… wrap your head with Duct Tape in case your head explodes…

    a few resources:

    http://www.AmericanPolicy.org

    http://americanstewards.us/

    http://americanstewards.us/news-publications/coordination-works

    http://www.DemocratsAgainstUNAgenda21.com (buy her book – Behind the Green Mask: UN Agenda 21 -great resource)

    I am intent on creating a National Conference (in Nashville) to teach a hand-to-gland combat style “How To” 3-day intensive workshop style boot camp on how to use legal, political, grassroots and guerrilla warfare against Sustainable Anything…

    It is in the embryonic idea stage… Facebook me if you want to stay informed…
    +++++++++++++++++++++++
    this is our local fight, but the info can be useful to your local fight…

    Join our FB page at:
    http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Concerned-Citizens-for-Rutherford-County/339439906084895?sk=wall

    We are fighting the property rights-stripping trend of “Sustainable Development”, “Smart Growth” and Agenda 21.

    To learn more visit our Youtube Channel and view several videos on what we are facing:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/RuCoPropertyRights?feature=watch

  2. Nice rant!

    I even visited some of the links to get some more and wow! I guess the aliens at the UN must have implanted a mind control chip in my brain because I want to live in a world that has vibrant cities, where I can walk, bike, take a train and then on the weekends, drive my car to beautiful pristine wild places, right here in New Jersey no less!

    Still, I think there is a point to this person’s “other opinion.” Why do American’s continue to think that “urban planning” is an evil conspiracy, perpetrated by the UN no less? Unfortunately, people like this are give plenty of fodder when urban renewal plans recklessly use condemnation to essential steal homes from people who weathered the hard times of their home towns. Long Branch, NJ is the poster child for this and I vowed to never spend my money in any of the businesses that moved into that project. Plus it sinfully ugly and horrendously pretentious besides being a blemish on our profession.

    • Another Opinion says:

      Thanks…. i guess…

      Andy, I never mentioned and “conspiracy” – the definition is “two or more in collusion to harm another” – The UN’s objective is quiet out in the open… published for everyone to see… and some of the advocates will tell you exactly what their objectives are which tend to be much more graphic than the flowery, white-washed version on the UN’s site… but make no mistake – you are the enemy of the enviroment and many things YOU do are NOT SUSTAINABLE… like a simgle fam home, eating meat, pavement, lots of other things you most likely use or benefit from…

      if you want to “unplug from the matrix” this fast-read article will enlighten you if not down right disturb you… many quotes with source references…
      http://americanpolicy.org/2011/03/31/agenda-21-in-one-easy-lesson/

  3. I’m sorry to tell you but the “American Way of Life” in its current form is entirely unsustainable, and is epitomized by our obsession of building our society completely around the automobile. Sprawling single family homes built in New Jersey’s once world class farmlands and massive parking lots that sit empty 80% of the time ARE MASSIVE PROBLEMS. All the while, our once vibrant cities and older suburbs become hollowed out shells of what they once were.

    As an ecologist and urban planner, I’m very alarmed and concerned that if we don’t change our ways, instead of easing into a future where we use the Earth’s finite resources more efficiently (which would also increases our economic competitiveness – look at Germany’s booming economy), our society might crash as many societies and civilizations have done in the past. Worst yet, as we race to consume (and waste) the last of the Earth’s resources with countries like China and these resources become very scarce, particularly food, the world could be thrust into war and one that would likely include nuclear weapons. Before that, billions of people will try to escape the poverty of their resource raped and overpopulated countries (why do you think there is so much illegal immigration to the US and Western Europe already).

    This is not a future I want for myself nor for my children but fear it might come to pass if we as a state and as a nation don’t make some relatively minor changes to our lives. Change begins at home and it also begins with trying to make New Jersey more resource efficient. This is what NJ Future and others in our professions try to do.

    • Another Opinion says:

      Andy,
      Just because you “say” our way of life is “unsustainable” doesn’t make it true…

      What evidence other than a thesis rooted in the hoax of global warming can you offer?

      you might want to think twice about getting rid of the auto… take a look at many ‘less-auto-dependent” cities in India and tell me you’d like us to migrate to that sort of sustainable chaos?

      And you actually make my point… No one wants to live in “vibrant cities” – that’s why moved… they don’t want to live in a stacked & packed human-sardine-settlement….

      Maybe Germany would approve your visa application for immegration… or maybe you could go to the former-Soviet Union and ply your trade and use their Handbook “The Ideal Communist City” – maybe you might try reading that… that’s where most of the ‘sustainable language” comes from anyway (circa 1970)

      One man’s sprawl is another man’s home-with-a-yard so his kids and dog can play in the fenced-in back yard safely…with some privacy… without hearing the urban DINGS fighting upstairs apartment…

      and to answer your question: “why do you think there is so much illegal immigration to the US and Western Europe already?” uhhh, simple: FREEDOM & THE FREE ENTERPRISE SYSTEM (even with the cancer of gov’t over-regulation) it is still the best place on the planet and everywhere SOCIALISM is tried its FAILED, epically.. and so people who value a real quality of life and the choice that a Representitive Republic offers will do flips and twists to get to our country…

      riding a bike to work (when your work is even 5 miles away) is not a ‘minor change’…

      and you’re right… if we allow gov’t to keep mooching from the producers like in “Atlas Shrugged” you can bet a catosrophic ending will ensue…. the moochers (gov’t, gov’t employees, and it’s handout-bendfactors) will eventually kill their host…

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