N.J. construction at a standstill

    Industry groups predict there will be no significant movement in building projects for two years.

    It’s not a good time to be a builder in the Garden State. The New Jersey Alliance for Action forecast Thursday that construction activity will remain sluggish for two more years.

    Phil Beachem, president of the group that advocates for infrastructure projects, said these are trying times for the industry. He does not expect construction activity will pick up anytime soon.

    “We have a private-sector economy that’s dependent upon financing and permitting which has been a hindrance in both cases,” said Beachem. “We have a public-sector construction economy that’s dependent on money being available and that’s problematic at this point as well.”

    Mike McGuinness, chief executive of NAIOP, the commercial real estate development association of New Jersey, offered a similar assessment of the housing industry.

    “We have a lot of commercial mortgages coming due in the next two years. There will be a lot of foreclosures, a lot of workouts, a lot of stressed properties,” said McGuinness. “There’s just no appetite, no demand at the moment.”

    Beachem said New Jersey officials could help stimulate the construction industry by reforming regulations and replenishing the Transportation Trust Fund.

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