Insights from the NJBIZ Construction and Development Panel

13 May, 2024
Construction site


A recent NJBIZ Construction and Development Panel brought together industry leaders and visionaries to discuss the most significant factors impacting real estate development across New Jersey.

Bohler Principal and Branch Manager James Thaon, PE joined Chris Erb, EVP/Head of Development, Russo Development, Donald Hoffman, Partner, EisnerAmper, Lisa Lombardo, Director, Business & Commercial Litigation Group, Gibbons P.C, and Michael Leondi, VP Construction & Design, Rockefeller Group on the virtual panel.

As interest rate fluctuations, geopolitical uncertainties, and technological advancements continue to shape the industry, the conversation highlighted key strategies, challenges, and opportunities for stakeholders to navigate this evolving landscape. Here are our key takeaways.

Navigating Uncertainty

The discussion emphasized the need to adeptly manage the risks inherent in real estate development, particularly highlighting how higher interest rates are affecting construction firms and developers. Panelists identified strategic approaches such as forming joint ventures and enhancing risk management processes to counter these market uncertainties.

Strengthening Partnerships and Project Approach

In an unpredictable environment, the importance of strong relationships and strategic planning was stressed. Panelists encouraged reinforcing current partnerships and having open discussions to tackle challenges together. Additionally, ensuring clear processes, particularly when dealing with municipal approvals, was highlighted as crucial for success in navigating regulatory hurdles.

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Technological Advancement

Although the construction industry typically relies on traditional methods, the panel discussed the significant potential of technology. Despite some concerns, speakers emphasized the crucial role of AI, digital twins, and robotics in improving efficiency and productivity. They urged investment in systems and governance to fully leverage these technologies for maximum benefit.

Talent Acquisition and Management

The need to attract and keep skilled workers became a major focus amid labor shortages and evolving employee trends. The conversation highlighted the importance of creating inclusive and engaging workplaces to maintain current talent, as well as implementing collegiate outreach strategies to attract young prospects early on.

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Adaptive Reuse and Market Trends

Considering the evolving market conditions, the panel discussed creative strategies like tearing down or converting vacant offices into multifamily units and repurposing aging malls.  Highlighting the industry’s ability to turn challenges into opportunities, talks on market trends emphasized the importance of resilience and adaptability to meet evolving demands and supply patterns.

In a constantly changing environment, these lessons offer valuable guidance for stakeholders navigating the ever-evolving world of real estate development. With challenges present and opportunities on the horizon, the NJBIZ Construction and Development Panel exemplifies the industry’s resilience, adaptability, and commitment to innovation.

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