Tenant Problem Solving
"In essence, we determine the difference between someone feeling hot or cold and the actual temperature being hot or cold, because if you rely on subjective judgements about this, it can send you all over the place," he says. "We developed forms, temperature charting graphs and processes by which we can separate heat and air from subjective perception. And we train our on-site managers on how to do this tactfully, yet assertively. If the tenant office manager knows that you are responding to a problem and that you can discern the difference between one of their employees being a problem versus the heat or air being a problem — and you are going to solve it if it’s the heat or air — there’s a confidence that’s built up and the office managers typically appreciate it. It maintains the relationship."
Brant Cali adds that tenants are never more than one or two people away from the top-most levels of company management, so that complaints and solutions are attended to quickly and knowledgeably. "Tenants know that they are dealing with individuals who ultimately are in charge of the company," he asserts. "That’s one of the reasons why we have remained local in our development interest — not only because the opportunities in New Jersey have been so vast, but because ii we cannot access our properties quickly, there’s a limit to how effectively we can personally manage them."
Despite its efforts to keep on top of tenant concerns and keep its buildings fully functional, Cali has found that in the current down real estate market, money is the prime consideration when it comes time for tenants to renew their leases. "I’ve had many tenants tell me that given an equal deal, they’ll always come to our buildings, but if its not equal with the competition, they might not stay," says John R. Cali. "Therefore, we contact most of our tenants at least two years prior to lease expiration and attempt to discern their future plans so that we have a realistic time frame to work toward their goals. In addition, we have a policy that existing tenants are always given priority to expand into any available space. We work very closely with existing tenants who need to change their space requirements in terms of layout or even to contract and take less space."
Liberty Hall II, the 150,000 sq.-ft. second building at Cali's Liberty Hall Corporate Center in Union, N.J.
Although it curtailed construction, Cali has several new buildings it is currently marketing, along with a major development site along the Hudson River waterfront in Jersey City, NJ. Leasing continues at Liberty Hall II, the 150,000-square-foot second building at Cali’s 50-acre Liberty Hall Corporate Center in Union, NJ. Designed by architects Swanke Hayden Connell Ltd., the four-story building features 37,500-square-foot floors, a 60-foot atrium lobby and distinguished Gothic architecture with a pre-cast concrete exterior and blue-glass facade.
Cali’s largest office development to date—the 622,000-square-foot International Financial Tower in Jersey City—was completed in 1989 and today is 80% occupied. Approximately 150,000 square feet on contiguous floors is still available, the Pershing Division of New York City-based Donaldson, Lufkin, Jenrette Securities Corporation pre-leased more than half of the tower for its new headquarters and Japan-based NTT Data Communications Systems Corporation has taken 137,000 square feet on the top four floors for its first-ever data center outside of Japan.
The 19-story building is pentagon-shaped to maximize views of New York City to the east. A multi-faceted facade features concrete panels and rose-colored granite aggregate. Office floors have been designed to accommodate state-of-the-art computer facilities and back-office operations, with slab-to-slab heights of 13 feet, six inches. An atrium entranceway rises 60 feet and is highlighted by a waterfall spilling into a reflecting pool. A 6,700-squarefoot retail component fronts on Grove Street.
International Financial Tower also boasts a number of tenant incentives since it is located within a state "urban enterprise zone." Tenants are exempted from state sales and use taxes, and receive employee tax credits, a reduction in unemployment insurance taxes, special services, training programs and priority state Funding consideration. The building also has direct access to the Grove Street PATH station, offering tenants quick and affordable mass-transit access to New York City. By auto, the tower is only a 15-minute drive from Newark International Airport, and provides near-immediate access to the New Jersey Turnpike, the Holland Tunnel, and the 1.2 million-square-foot Newport Centre Mall.
While it already has placed its signature on the Jersey City waterfront with International Financial Tower, Cali is the developer of one of the most important raw sites left in the overall waterfront development plan. As partner with shipping magnate D.K. Ludwig, through his firm, National Bulk Carriers Inc., Cali is poised to develop the 53-acre Harsimus Cove South site overlooking New York’s World Trade Center complex. The site can accommodate a mixed-use development of up to 8 million square feet of corporate space and up to 200 residential units per acre. In addition, there are 30 acres for marina development.
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