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31 May 2018 (AFR) – Where technology has hurt property: empty office parks

(31 May 2018, AFR, p44, by Nick Corasaniti)

The era of suburban business campuses looks over – Perched off a busy road in northern New Jersey with sweeping vistas of a vast reservoir sits a new relic of the suburban panorama: the international headquarters of Toys “R” Us slogging through its final days after the company announced that it would be shutting down for good. The decline of the toy giant prompted wistful recollections across the country of the increasingly bygone era of brick-and-mortar retail, but concern in this town quickly turned to the exoskeleton that the company leaves behind a roughly  80-hectare plot with multiple office buildings scattered across the land that once housed as many as 1600 workers.’


‘In the 1980s, about 8 to 9 million square metres of suburban office space was built in New Jersey, accounting for 80 per cent of the state’s inventory, Hughes said. By contrast, only 50 per cent of the national suburban office inventory was built in the same period. New Jersey currently has more than 600,000 square metres of vacant office park space, according to CoStar, a commercial real estate company. In northern New Jersey, 23 per cent of office space is listed as available, which includes vacant spaces and buildings that are emptying out as leases end, according to Newmark Knight Frank, a commercial real estate firm.’

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