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Developers transforming old NJ office buildings to attract millennial workforce

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Millennials are fleeing New Jersey more than any other generation.

One way to try and keep the younger generation in New Jersey, many companies are transforming old, dilapidated office buildings to cater to the changing needs of the millennial workforce.

James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School for Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, says that’s the real office market dynamic of today.

“Companies are resizing, moving themselves around so they can get those environments.”

Ross Chomik — managing partner at Vision Real Estate Partners, a Mountain Lakes-based real estate development and asset management company that focuses on redeveloping projects — says the goal is to “take the atmosphere that this younger workforce is used to being in their college environment and trying to bring that to their work environment.”

What we are really doing, says Chomik, is taking these old buildings and really catering to the changing needs of the tenants in the market today and those “changing needs are being dictated by the young workforce.”

That means transforming these old, outdated office buildings to take on the shape of a more modern office complex with multiple amenities, says Chomik. That could mean simply adding glass to the exterior or updating lobbies and bathrooms.

But he says higher-end amenities are also needed, such as cafeterias, fitness centers, locker rooms, conference rooms, outdoor patio space, even bike trails, green roofs and basketball courts.

Hughes adds that the buildings, particularly on the Hudson River waterfront, are a dramatic reconfiguration on the inside.

Most of the transformations happen in the suburbs, says Chomik, where major office campuses have been successful mainly because of the population that’s driving it.

Another hot spot is is at major intersections of main highways in New Jersey.

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