As the demand for properties that permit outdoor storage continues to grow, the number of these sites in northern and central New Jersey continue to decline. We are now seeing prices at $12,000/AC/mo to as much as $15,000/AC/mo in some places.
These properties are needed by trucking, garbage and construction companies, as well as, but to a lesser extent, landscapers, auto dealerships, limousine and bus companies. These are all services we need and use every day and would be hard pressed to do without. There are numerous factors that are contributing to the shortage of these properties. First and foremost is the lack of open space in New Jersey. We are the most densely populated state in the country with ±1,200 people per square mile. So right off the bat we are behind the eight ball. The second factor is the state of the market. Currently, demand is high across all sectors, be it residential, industrial, office or retail, and as a result these users are getting squeezed out.
Developers are snatching up these sites and repositioning them in the marketplace. Previously you would have found these sites along the waterfront, but not today. The transformation of the landscape along the Hudson, Raritan and Hackensack Rivers has made these types of users “persona non grata”.
These redevelopment projects will often have the support – from both the governing board and from the taxpayers. The reasons people get behind these projects is simple – money and aesthetics. The tax base increases when these lots are turned into brand new offices or warehouses, or stores or homes, and with it the amount of money coming in to city coffers.
In addition, these projects serve to turn what is typically an ugly storage yard into something that is shiny and new. Industrial and office projects create jobs, retail projects create business and residential projects are what create a new vibrant community – all good things that we as taxpayers can be proud of.
However, companies that require “outdoor storage” need a place to call home too, but where? I understand the thinking of “not in my neighborhood,” but that is a response that is shortsighted. By restricting and/or eliminating these areas, it only serves to increase the cost and lessen the quality of the services we receive. If companies are forced to pay more, and/or travel greater distances to their terminals, depots and yards, then their maintenance, fuel and insurance costs are greater, as well. Undoubtedly, these expenses will be passed on in some way, shape or form to us. In addition, longer distances will result in later delivery/arrival times.
Our goals should be to:
A. Provide a location that allows these businesses to operate freely and efficiently
B. Enable townships and property owners to maximize their real estate’s potential
C. Minimize the impact on our residents
If we can strike a balance that does this, we will all benefit going forward.