From the Record:
Gross Printing had been doing business in a Sunset Park, Brooklyn, industrial park for several years when co-owner Samson Gross noticed that the company’s landlord was bringing in hipper tenants — breweries, artists and gourmet food companies.
Then, Gross said, the landlord told him his lease would not be renewed. The landlord wanted tenants that could pay $35 a square foot; Gross was paying about $7. So the company began looking for new space, finding its way last year to Clifton, where Gross Printing now leases a 32,000-square-foot building on Brighton Road. The place costs a little more than Gross Printing’s old quarters at the Industry City complex in Brooklyn, but much less than the company would have paid if it had stayed in the city. And Gross, who prints brochures, magazines and packaging, is happier with the location.
“It’s just a nicer place,” said Gross, who owns the company with his wife, Hindy. “The infrastructure in this part of New Jersey is by far better for my type of business than anything available in New York City. New York City is impossible. Customers can’t park their cars for a minute without getting a ticket. To drive five blocks can take half an hour. Frankly, I don’t know how I did it for so long.”
The path of corporate exodus from New York City to New Jersey is well-worn, but real estate brokers and others say that the pace has quickened recently. Companies that need industrial or warehouse space are getting priced out of New York City and its boroughs — especially Brooklyn — as developers scoop up industrial space for new uses.
“Buildings there are being redeveloped and repositioned, whether it’s for residential or retail,” said Tom Vetter, a broker specializing in the Meadowlands with NAI Hanson in Hackensack.
And the trendier Brooklyn and the other boroughs get, the harder it is for industrial users to afford to stay there.
“Companies aren’t just coming over here because of cost. You’ve got some other reasons: proximity to the port, proximity to New York City, transportation networks, real estate expenses,” said Blake Chroman, senior vice president of Sitex, which owns more than 2 million square feet of warehouse space in North Jersey.
The migration from New York has helped push New Jersey’s industrial vacancy rates to their lowest point in 15 years, according to Cushman & Wakefield. The real estate firm said the industrial vacancy rate was 6.4 percent statewide in the fourth quarter of last year, down from 8.2 percent a year earlier. In Bergen County, the vacancy rate was 7.5 percent, and in Passaic, 5.7 percent. By comparison, the office vacancy rare has long hovered in the 20 percent range.
Among the companies that have moved operations to New Jersey from the five boroughs are Goffa International of East Rutherford, a stuffed-animal importer formerly located in Brooklyn, and M&J Innovation of Norwood, a company that provides installation and other services for trade shows. M&J Innovation was previously in the Bronx.
In addition, the food company Blue Apron recently moved its distribution center from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to Jersey City. And Streit’s Matzoh sold its 90-year-old building on the Lower East Side in Manhattan and moved some operations to a site it already owned in Moonachie last year. However, Streit’s plans to consolidate operations in the Rockland County, N.Y., town of Orangeburg, according to Alan Adler, director of operations.
Moving across the Hudson River carries some risks. Clients don’t always follow. And workers who are used to commuting by public transportation sometimes decide they can’t face the trip to a suburban workplace.