How do Independent Owners Stay Competitive with Institutional Owners

Jun 24, 2016

Thomas A. Vetter, SIOR, Senior Vice President

Tom specializes in the industrial sector in the Meadowlands Marketplace in Northern, NJ.

Independent owners of industrial assets in the Meadowlands market are at a disadvantage when there are institutional owners who have larger purses than them. The smaller owners may not be able to raise the ceilings or remodel to a potential tenant’s specs, but there is still so much they can do in order to compete with their institutional neighbor’s newly renovated building. The key is to maximize your investment.

Potential tenants are often lured by attractive branding and color schemes. (Think Prologis and Sitex Group). Just as in residential real estate, curb appeal (first impressions) are key. A freshly painted building will pay for itself in attracting the type of tenant that you are hoping to secure. On the interior of an industrial building, the flooring is often highly visible, so it’s extremely important to look for chipped, discolored and damaged floors. It is strongly recommended that owners have them patched, painted and sealed, if needed. This will have an immediate impact on your building and make you more competitive with institutional owners.

Another way that independent owners can stay competitive in the Meadowlands marketplace is to upgrade to energy efficient lighting fixtures throughout their building. This is a win-win scenario for everyone involved. You are being environmentally friendly, your tenants will be thrilled as they will save on their electric bill, and following the initial investment, energy efficient lighting really is the most sustainable way to keep your building lit.

If your asset has office space and you cannot afford to completely renovate it, consider my first point regarding a fresh coat of paint. Carpets should be steam cleaned or replaced, if necessary.

Independent owners who are having trouble competing with the more well-financed value-add institutional owners (who are increasing their market share) should at the very least feel confident that a marketplace boasting a 6% vacancy rate will continue to be a landlord’s market.

We at NAI James E. Hanson have been working with independent owners of industrial assets for decades. I strongly believe that my own experience within the Meadowlands marketplace can prove to be a valuable asset to anyone who would like to learn more about competing with their institutional neighbors.

You can contact me at any time by calling my cell at(201) 723-2059 or by emailing me at