RANDOLPH, NJ- An eye opening presentation on the status of the commercial real estate market in Morris County was the topic of discussion at the Randolph Chamber of Commerce monthly lunch meeting on Thursday, Sept. 18.  

New chamber members and their businesses were also introduced and welcomed to the group.  The new members are Walter Cmielewski of Eloquent Studios Photography, Dan Hopler of Randolph Martial Arts Academy, Jennifer and Kevin Mahoney of Doody Calls, and Helen Elbaum of Newmark Associates.

James Jones and Lindsay Santamaria from the Morris County Economic Development Corporation led the discussion for the members and guests.

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The Economic Development Corporation helps to bridge the gap between business and government at the municipal level.  They help businesses grow, open their doors, or maintain their business, while also working with local government and advising the two collectively on best practices for future success.

Jones reviewed some positives about Morris County, such as it being the second wealthiest county in the state, with the second lowest unemployment rate.  Morris County consistently ranks at the top of quality-of-life lists, and therefore is a place that many major corporations call home.

However, currently the commercial market faces some struggles.  Most of the major office space was built in the late 80s and is very “dated”.  Because of age and design, many buildings cannot support the more open modern office layout.  Therefore, vacancy rates are at a very high level versus historical averages.  

Jones explained that despite commercial struggles, the industrial real estate market is extremely strong with virtually no vacancy.  The EDC feels strongly that by looking at “other use”, or redevelopment of some of those old office properties, the commercial market can strengthen itself as well.

Jones wrapped up the meeting by explaining that Morris County is still among the best places to do business, as it has always been, and still is, a strong community that can adapt.  

On a local interest level there was mention that the Ledgewood Mall has been foreclosed on, and there are discussions taking place about some proposed redevelopment plans for the site that are in the works.  

The next chamber meeting is a multi chamber networking lunch on Thursday, October 16 at 11:30 AM.  The meeting is at LaStrada restaurant in Randolph.  The speaker will be US Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, representative for NJ’s 11th congressional district, which includes most of Morris County.

Members and guests are welcome to attend.   For information go to www.Randolphchamber.org