EAST RUTHERFORD—With the exception of office leasing in Central New Jersey, the Garden State commercial market experienced a slow start to 2012, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc. The first quarter office and industrial research findings indicate that while tenant and investment activity remains modest, market fundamentals are steady and showing signs of slow improvement, according to Gil Medina, New Jersey executive managing director.

Following a year of the highest activity since before the recession, Northern New Jersey office leasing totaled just 932,447 sq. ft. during the first quarter. This represents a 31.2 percent year-over-year decrease. The largest new transaction occurred at 3 Century Drive in Parsippany, where health services group Emergency Medical Associates, LP leased 43,809 sq. ft. Additionally, satellite broadcaster Dish Network took 38,500 sq. ft. at 2 Executive Drive in Fort Lee.

On the other hand, central New Jersey experienced robust office leasing, with activity rising 29.5 percent year-over-year to 964,088 sq. ft., with particularly high levels of activity along the I-78 Corridor. In the state’s largest year-to-date transaction, automation software and cloud technology solutions corporation Synchronoss Technologies moved into a 75,581-sq.-ft. space at 200 Crossing Boulevard in Bridgewater. In Old Bridge, ICIMS committed to 47,104 sq. ft. at 90 Old Matawan Road.

Nearly 4.6 million sq. ft. in industrial leasing in Northern and Central New Jersey represented an 18.8 percent year-over-year decrease. Still, a number of notable transactions closed, particularly in the central counties. Among them, pet supply retailer Petco leased 781,300 sq. ft. at 257 Prospect Plains Road in Cranbury. In Robbinsville, computer and electronics retailer Systemax committed to 500,102 sq. ft. at 24 Applegate Drive.