Plansmart NJ stranded asset symposium

These are my unformatted notes from yesterday’s Plansmart NJ symposium on repurposing and revitalizing NJ’s financially stranded real estate assets.

NJ is the most exited state in the U.S.

The state’s population is growing rapidly while the number of owner-occupied housing units is dropping.

Influx from NYC to North Jersey offsets the loss of income and jobs in other areas.

Dramatic change in demographics in NJ communities from 2005 to 2015

There is 40% vacancy rate for commercial properties in Hunterdon County.

Commercial property values plummeted.

Tax base must be revenue driven.

Government must focus on economic redevelopment.

Jobs follow people.

Tourism is our sleeping giant.

Flemington is a model redevelopment community.

There is still a lack of public private partnership.

Tax exemptions under NJSA 40A:20-1 can be valuable.

  • Pilot program increases revenue to municipality.
  • Redevelopment bond

What happens to the prior property tax lien when an asset is repurposed?

What if local government does not respond to request for redevelopment of abandoned asset?


Planners need to educate local government on redevelopment issues.

Sometimes revenue potential seems “too good to be true” to government.


Perception that developers do not need financial assistance is false.

The world is changing and there is a new set of rules.

We are not saving properties; we are transforming them.

The driving factor for government is revenue, revenue and revenue.

Local zoning laws must change for redevelopment to work.

Laws and zoning are falling further behind new technology and millennials’ expectations.

It takes time for education, buy in and consensus building before change occurs in government.

Some don’t want change. Some don’t recognize that the economy  has fundamentally changed.

Some municipal leaders don’t want new students.

There is still much miscommunication between planners, developers and government.


Energy – micro grid implementation feasibility study is included in current state budget.


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