Mack-Cali Realty Corp. has put together a new team to orchestrate a transformation at Harborside, its mixed-use office campus in Jersey City, N.J. The group of professionals, consisting of newly hired experts and internal leaders, will facilitate the repositioning, leasing and marketing of the 4.3 million-square-foot property along the Hudson River.
During the company’s second quarter 2020 earnings conference call on August 3, MaryAnne Gilmartin, board chair & interim CEO at Mack-Cali Realty Corp., said, “There’s a feeling that the lease-up strategy on the Waterfront is critical and that we are going to be focused on wins there in the coming months.” And now a newly assembled group is born to take on Harborside’s evolution and achieve those wins.
Edward Guiltinan, formerly of Rockefeller Group, has joined Mack-Cali as senior vice president, bringing to the table three decades of commercial real estate leasing experience. Robert Willis, a 25-year industry veteran and recent hire from HEI Hotels and Resorts, is spearheading the completion of key renovation projects at Harborside in his role as senior vice president, construction. Mack-Cali has also brought in a new leasing team with Mark Ravesloot of CBRE in place to head-up a group that includes CBRE’s Peter Turchin, Jeffrey Babikian, Robert Norton and Brett Shannon. Additionally, CBRE’s Mary Ann Tighe, CEO of the New York Tri-State Region, will consult on the overall project and provide further support in the form of strategic oversight.
Harborside is a multi-structure campus that encompasses modern towers as well as adaptive re-use buildings like Harborside 2 and 3, which were originally developed in the 1920s. In addition to Class A office space, the property features retail and dining offerings, fitness and wellness facilities and a daycare center. And there’s more to come as part of a comprehensive, multi-phase improvement plan, including a 1.2 million-square-foot expansion.
Changing with the market
The Harborside team is tasked with fulfilling Harborside’s transformation and attracting new tenants in the return-to-the-workplace climate, where the new normal requires new accommodations. “We’re seeing a movement toward decentralization and de-densification. Companies that are close in the urban core of Manhattan are looking at strategies even post-vaccine to decentralize, and I think that bodes well for the Waterfront,” Gilmartin said during the earnings call.
New Jersey recorded approximately 650,000 square feet of negative absorption in the third quarter of 2020, while the Waterfront submarket saw quarter-over-quarter improvement and logged nearly 90,000 square feet of positive net absorption, according to a report by CBRE. Additionally, the Waterfront submarket accounted for more than 44 percent of the office leasing velocity in the State of New Jersey in the third quarter.