NEWARK, NJ—Public Service Electric & Gas, New Jersey’s oldest and largest utility, is making its presence felt in the Garden State’s real estate market in a big way. PSE&G, a $6-billion company ranked 263rd among the Fortune 500, has formed PSEG Area Development LLC. The unit will provide economic development services as well as a range of fee-based real estate services through its PSEG Sitefinders LLC subsidiary. In other words, the utility is getting into the real estate brokerage business.

The move is essentially part of the utility deregulation scenario. “Energy deregulation has significantly reduced the size of our regulated utility operations and prior sponsorship of our economic development initiatives,” says Tim Comerford, president of PSEG Sitefinders, a licensed brokerage. “Moving these activities into the unregulated arena will allow us to generate revenue to subsidize our no-fee programs.”

For openers, Sitefinders has hooked up with Allied Realty of Fairfield, NJ in a formal alliance that will find space and sign up companies locating or relocating within the state. It’s the first of what are expected to be a number of alliances that geared to put ting PSE&G on the Garden State’s commercial brokerage map. In touting the alliance, Allied partner Ron Kraft specifically cited “PSE&G’s stature.”

In the past PSE&G, historically only an indirect real estate player, would have handed off a hot corporate prospect to a local real estate broker. Now, however, it will share commissions with its burgeoning network of brokers, which could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, according to observers. The company is currently seeking proposals from brokers to become part of the network.

Directly or indirectly, PSE&G’s real estate role traces back reportedly to the Great Depression when New Jersey had plenty of vacant urban industrial buildings and PSE&G helped to fill those buildings with tenants in order to increase its own electrical power business.

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