Moving On From a Bitter Pill
April 10, 2013
By Gabby Warshawer

It has been nine months since pharmaceutical giant Roche Holding AG announced it would close its sprawling 119-acre campus in northern New Jersey, causing the loss of Roche’s remaining 1,000 jobs at the site and blowing a potential $14.5 million hole in the local tax base.

That has been enough time to reassure officials that there is interest from developers to find new uses for the 2-million-square-foot campus that straddles the township of Nutley in Essex County and the city of Clifton in Passaic County along busy Route 3.

“This is the biggest thing to happen to North Jersey in 25 years,” said Matthew Watkins, Clifton’s city manager. “The suitors are standing there waiting and it bespeaks the interest in the site and mitigates concern that it will be a vacant lot,” he said.

...Commercial brokers say the property is likely to appeal to a developer who wants to build a mixed-use project—chiefly with multifamily housing and retail components. “The location on the highway makes it attractive for retail and residential,” said Gregg Najarian, a senior managing director with real-estate services firm Studley Inc.

Mr. Najarian said that building office space on part of the land might make sense in the future, but the market in the area currently is saturated with vacant offices. Still, he said the site—about 12 miles from Manhattan—might be appealing to technology companies as well as small or midsize law firms.

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