JERSEY CITY-Founded just after the last turn of the century, D.F. Young Inc., a freight forwarder and customs broker, has been located in Lower Manhattan for 97 years, most recently at 17 Battery Place. Its location was near Manhattan’s West Side, where most of the Port Authority of NY/NJ’s shipping activity used to be, and near Wall Street, where most of the money was coming from.

But times have changed. Because of the e-age, “Wall Street” is almost anywhere you want it to be. And because New Jersey has more room, about 70% of all cargo activity in the Port of NY/NJ goes in and out of the Garden State. Couple that with Manhattan’s high rents and Lower Manhattan’s outdated buildings and inefficient building layouts, and D.F. Young decided to move to 1 Journal Square in Jersey City. The company will relocate early next year to the building, which is owned by Journal Square Plaza Urban Renewal Associates.

The hook isn’t the size of the deal–D.F. Young is only taking 14,000 sf. The angle is that Jersey City’s office market is attracting a more diversified tenant mix beyond Wall Street’s back office operations. It also signals the growing shift of port-related activity to New Jersey.

Because of more modern, efficient, column-free floorplates at 1 Journal Square, the company is actually moving its 100 employees to half the space it occupied at 17 Battery Place at rents of about $10 per sf less. In other words, the company is going from just under 30,000 sf at around $40 per sf to 14,000 sf at about $30 per sf.

“That is a huge savings,” says Greg Collins of Julien J. Studley, who helped broker the deal. The move should be fairly seamless, in his view, because most of the company’s employees are New Jersey residents to begin with.

The new location will be the company’s headquarters and New York-area regional office. D.F Young will also benefit from the incentives New Jersey has been lavishing upon relocating companies recently. In this case, they include Jersey City’s urban enterprise zone benefits and up to $1.50 per sf tax credit for moving costs.

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