NAIOP NJ's Michael McGuinness

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ- A top U.S Commerce official told NAIOP members at their annual meeting that, “The aim is to rebuild this economically productive and densely populated region in a more resilient and more coordinated way,” after Hurricane Sandy. He pledged that will be a top priority with the Obama administration.

Speaking with afterward, NAIOP’s Michael McGuinness says members of his organization also see opportunities to come from revisions to land-use policies, municipal budgetary policies and overall emergency preparedness  procedures.

“With every disaster, opportunities come,” says McGuinness, the CEO for the organization, which lobbies for commercial real estate interests.

“It will be critical that the federal relief – the $50.5 billion that President Obama authorized Tuesday night LINK, about half of it to be deployed to New Jersey – is used judiciously to fortify our infrastructure and improve our energy structure without burdening ratepayers,” McGuinness says.

“As an advocacy group, we also have to be very vigilant about seeking responses in the legislature that don’t ignore other glaring problems- which include high unemployment,” he adds.

At the Tuesday evening session at the Sheraton Plaza conference center here, Verizon’s New York area president Jim Gerace discussed ways to implement contingency plans for communications during  disasters, and described the need for greater use of non-corrosive fiber lines and wireless.

Many companies, offices and industrial facilities suffered damage to basement technology and copper wiring after Sandy’s surge waters encroached.

NAIOP finds its own “opportunity” to compile a new manual of best practices, contingency plans and recommendations on infrastructure as a result of the devastating storm, McGuinness says.

Another burgeoning issue discussed at the session is the “very complicated” issue of landlord/tenant insurance responsibilities in a post-Sandy environment. The Christie administration issued new flood area maps last week. McGuinness says that in counties hard-hit by the storm -especially Hudson, Bergen, Union,  and Middlesex- a big concern has become: “What will it take to  fortify buildings so that they will be eligible for insurance?”