David Wolfe, Esq., co-managing partner of Skoloff & Wolfe, P.C., in June led the amenities panel at the Jersey City Summit for Real Estate Investment. The summit focuses on gathering thoughtful leaders to help accelerate and build awareness for Jersey City, as well as regional projects, programs, and initiatives.
Speakers included: Juan Lent, vice president of Roseland, Mack-Cali; Nicole Meyer, principal from Kushner; Joseph Panepinto, president of Panepinto Global Partners; Jonathan Schwartz, partner and principal of BNE Real Estate Group; and Eyal Shuster, president and CEO of Shuster Group & DVORA.
COVID-19 modified how amenities are provided
The outbreak of COVID-19 transformed the way property owners provided amenities in order to still offer an enjoyable work-life to tenants. Panelists spoke about new amenities they offered and the importance of following safety protocols, including hosting virtual events and providing food and package delivery services. The owners also implemented reservation services so residents could safely schedule use of amenities such as outdoor grills, pools, and conference rooms.
Ms. Meyer discussed how Kushner highlighted previously overlooked amenities such as a convenience store for tenants at the entrance of the building. The store was fully stocked with products such as paper towels, tissues, bike helmets, and even bikes and electric scooters. The store quickly grew in popularity as a luxury that allowed tenants to access their everyday needs in a safe location without having to deal with traffic outside of the building.
Recognizing advancements in technology, communication, and location as amenities
Technology became the world’s biggest resource during the pandemic. Mr. Shuster brought attention to the app, Debora, calling it the “modernized property manager.” He remarked that processes that took 6-7 hours before the pandemic now take 45 minutes when performed through the app. By creating a seamless and speedy communication channel between owners and tenants it became an amenity by itself.
Mr. Schwartz also discussed BNE’s anticipated partnership with Amenibean, a morning coffee delivery service. Amenibean is a high-touch amenity service that BNE is looking forward to launching later in the year.
Panelists discussed the city itself as being a competitive amenity in comparison to nearby locations. Through initiatives brought by Steven Fulop, mayor of Jersey City, the city has introduced pedestrian plazas, pocket parks, and bike lanes that make the city more pedestrian and micro vehicle friendly. This increased accessibility has helped grow the restaurant business and nightlife in the city.
In addition, Jersey City has also commissioned local artists to create murals on over 50 walls around the city, and it hosts annual events such as the food truck festival which draw interest from all over the city and beyond. The panelists credited Jersey City for continuously innovating and making the city a magnet across from Manhattan for food, culture, and entertainment.
The panel concluded with encouraging words from Mr. Wolfe, who recognized the panelists for their contributions to the growth of Jersey City:
“A lot of this city’s success is driven by the thoughtfulness and execution of all of you, in terms of the builders and the developers and the management. I do spend a lot of time discussing the amenities for these buildings and it does take time, effort, and expense to launch them. It makes a huge difference in the quality of lifestyle to the residents and the city of Jersey City. The city is a great partner with all of us in helping projects move forward.”
About Skoloff & Wolfe
Skoloff & Wolfe is a recognized leader in the area of property tax law and has worked on significant transactions on the gold coast. For commercial property owners who would like to explore possible property tax relief or need assistance with property tax due diligence, contact Skoloff & Wolfe at 973.992.0900.