In February, Babikian was promoted to vice chairman of CBRE — marking the first time a New Jersey office leasing professional achieved that title at the firm. “Jeff is one of the industry’s most respected professionals, having built strong long-term relationships with high-profile occupiers, investment clients and landlords throughout the region,” Jeffrey Hipschman, senior managing director of CBRE’s New Jersey operations, said in a statement at the time. “We are honored to have Jeff as part of our team and congratulate him on this truly worthy promotion.” Babikian, who is one of the most active brokers in the tri-state area, has been a consistent presence on this list. He represents a wide range of notable clients including the New York Giants, KPMG, Mercedes-Benz USA and more across the commercial real estate landscape both locally and nationally. He has won numerous industry awards including “Broker of the Year” several times and is a multiple time Colbert Coldwell Circle recipient, awarded to the company’s top 3% of brokers nationally. Babikian also serves on a number of boards and causes, including as an advisory board member of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate, a committee member of the Northern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts of America, active consultant to the Bergen County Economic Development Corp. and board director of the Ramsey Education Foundation.
As co-owners of the innovative Hoboken-based Ironstate Development Co., the Barry brothers continue to reimagine how people live, work and interact in a number of communities around the Garden State, such as Hoboken, Jersey City, Harrison, Montclair and Newark. An example of the brothers’ mindset is exemplified with their Urby brand which offers a new take on the modern apartment. Last month, leasing launched at Newark Urby. The property restored and modernized a historic 18-story Art Deco tower, preserving the original design elements with contemporary finishes and functionality. “We are thrilled to begin leasing at Newark Urby which will be a fantastic residential complement to the thriving, cultural hub of Newark,” said David Barry. “We look forward to connecting with the city’s energy and spirit while contributing thoughtful designs and engaging experiences to our residents.” The launch comes on the heels of several other Urby ventures, along with Ironstate’s extensive portfolio across the sector. The brothers are also actively involved in a number of other initiatives and ventures. Michael serves as the active trustee of the New Jersey Apartment Association and was appointed by the governor to the state’s Landlord-Tenant policy committee. David has been a significant investor in a wide range of innovative companies and lifestyle brands including Peloton and Rumble. He serves as co-chair of the Liberty Science Center’s board of trustees.
Last year, Bronsnick took over as executive managing director, managing principal, New Jersey Market at Cushman & Wakefield following nearly 10 years at SJP Properties. In his new role, Bronsnick runs the firm’s New Jersey business, which has held its East Rutherford office for more than 45 years. The Garden State office handles more than 700 sales and leasing transactions annually totaling more than 40 million square feet. DEI has been a priority for Cushman & Wakefield and Bronsnick with efforts to remove barriers to entering the industry as well as partnering with universities. “This business requires a lot of ramp-up time, regardless of what path you want to take and there’s not really a great playbook that exists in general,” he told NJBIZ. In addition to school partnerships, Bronsnick’s office has also teamed up with Newark All-Stars as part of its efforts. “I think everyone for quite some time now is doing a really good job of integrating this as a priority for themselves and you’re seeing it in the industry,” he said. “There are things that happen quite candidly – even some of the things that happen unofficially in a less programmatic way – just bringing awareness in the industry in general is, has been good.” Bronsnick has certainly lived up to his 2018 NJBIZ Vanguard series honor, which pegged him as an up-and-comer in the commercial real estate world.
Cocoziello founded Advance Realty Investors, which he also leads as CEO, in 1979. Working across residential, industrial, office, and mixed-use and retail, the Bedminster-based firm has 20 million square feet and 3,330 residential units owned and in development with an 8 million-square-foot industrial pipeline. In that pipeline are projects with partner Greek Development in Linden – where Peloton is among the signed tenants – and in Logan Township that encompass more than 4.5 million cumulative square feet. Advance tied up litigation in Bridgewater this past year, reaching a settlement for a new iteration of the contentious and delayed Center of Excellence development, which will finally move forward at the former home of Sanofi along Route 202/206 in the township. And though it would run you out-of-state tuition, just this month Penn State University said it would launch the Cocoziello Institute of Real Estate Innovation following a major gift commitment from Cocoziello and his wife Sharon. Cocoziello, a 1973 grad of the Smeal College of Business, will serve as inaugural board chair for the institute for a five-year term.
As senior managing director and co-head of the New Jersey office for JLL Capital Markets, Cruz specializes in investment advisory across New Jersey, New York and Connecticut in addition to day-to-day oversight of the global commercial real estate company’s Garden State office. Recently, he led deals to close the $82.5 million sale of The Mark Parsippany, a luxury apartment community; represented Veris Residential in its $210 million sale of the three-building Waterfront Corporate Center in Hoboken; and successfully marketed the 129,000-square-foot, ShopRite-anchored Riverfront Plaza in Hackensack. This past year Cruz scored another type of acquisition, when Jeremy Neurer came on board the Capital Markets team from CBRE. At the time, the new hire said he was “both extremely excited and honored to be joining the premier team in the market,” citing “[t]he depth of the team, the platform and, most importantly, the culture in place,” a credit to N.J. leader Cruz. Across his more than 25-year career, Cruz has been part of more than $28 billion in office, industrial, retail, multifamily and land sales.
As CEO and president, respectively, Denholtz and Cassidy lead Denholtz Properties. In Red Bank, the hometown-firm’s presence is palpable — its redevelopment efforts have helped to build out downtown and draw businesses and residents. Case in point: The Rail @ Red Bank, located on the city’s West Side, which began leasing in the first half of 2022. In the second part of the year, the firm secured construction financing to expand The Rail concept with a transit-oriented property bearing the name set for Bound Brook. Rewinding again to the start of the year, Denholtz launched a joint venture in February with a goal of accumulating and developing more than $1 billion worth of industrial assets. So far, the firm has made progress: adding three properties in three different states, including in high value Newark. And since announcing the first tenant (a brewery) for its food-and-beverage-focused The Commissary at Fort Monmouth over the summer, the 53,000-square-foot building has hit 100% occupancy complete with the addition of a new concept from BarCo Brands (anticipated to open next spring). That has the company energized for phase two: a redevelopment of the former military base’s Warehouse District that will add three modern, spec-industrial buildings. With Denholtz at the helm, the company has grown to more than 60 employees and doubled the square footage it owns and manages, which now covers seven states. It has $1.2 billion in assets under management and 45 owned properties covering 5.7 million square feet. And the firm’s still growing: there’s a regional headquarters in Orlando and it’s also expanded its leadership team, bringing on a new general counsel, chief investment officer and CFO this year.
Larken Associates’ portfolio covers 3.5 million square feet and 1,000 tenants across office, industrial, retail and mixed-use in addition to its 22 owned and managed residential communities, comprised of approximately 2,500 units. As president and CEO of the Branchburg-based company, second-generation leader Gardner (currently chairman, his father Larry founded Larken in 1965) oversees all company activity, including acquisitions and dispositions, portfolio and asset management, fundraising and placement, business planning and development as well as overall profitability. And the company is active. In fact, it added an HR director at the start of the year to support its plans for growth. In 2022 Larken also added square footage to its industrial portfolio, breaking ground on the 150,000-square-foot Flemington Junction Business Center. With a community focus at the center of all the company does, #LarkenCares tracks its charitable work, which ranges from food drives, donations and flu vaccine clinics to a nearly decade-long partnership with From Houses to Homes that includes sending a teams of volunteers to Guatemala to help construct housing with the nonprofit.
After Glover helped launch Audible’s Global Center for Urban Development two years ago in the company’s headquarters city of Newark, the initiative established programs to benefit thousands of the neediest residents in New Jersey’s largest city. Newark Working Kitchens, which pays primarily Black and Latino-owned restaurants to prepare meals for Newark’s low-income seniors and families, has served over 1.5 million meals, as well as helped over 30 local eateries stay afloat. In September, Audible launched a new meal delivery service app, NWK Delivers, as a way to expand the work of the program as offices continue to reopen following the pandemic. Before joining the ranks at Audible, she spent several years at the nonprofit Newark Alliance. Glover’s background includes the redevelopment of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where she served as vice president of external affairs for the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp.
As managing partner of Greek Development, Greek is responsible for new development and acquisition opportunities, as well as expanding the 80-year-old vertically integrated real estate firm’s core business of industrial development and building its ever-growing services. To keep up with the increasing demand for warehouse and logistics space across New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the firm is continuing to keep pace by bringing on new hires and adding more office space for its workforce. Greek Development has developed more than 27 million square feet of primarily industrial space, a portfolio that includes high profile properties such as the 3.2 million square foot Logan North Industrial Park and the 4.1 million Linden Logistics Center. In June, NAIOP gave its Industrial Deal of the Year award to Greek Development, Advance Realty Investors and CBRE for successfully leading a 1.7 million square foot facility in Logan to Target.
Founded in 1976 by Jon Hanson, one of the most well-known developers in New Jersey, The Hampshire Cos. is one of the nation’s leading privately held, fully integrated real estate firms and investment fund managers. Since 2004, Hampshire has been led by a third generation, with Jimmy Hanson II as president and chief executive officer. After taking on the role, he has leveraged the firm’s real estate development experience to become a prominent fund manager, raising and deploying over $1.5 billion in equity. The Morristown-based firm has more than $2.4 billion in assets currently under management and a development pipeline throughout the East Coast across the multifamily, self-storage, industrial, and retail sectors exceeding $1.2 billion. It has also helped bring to fruition some of New Jersey’s largest developments, American Dream Mall and the Atlantic City Gateway Redevelopment project. Hampshire also formed a joint venture to redevelop the former Bergen Record site in Hackensack into The Print House, a luxury apartment complex.
As president of the largest independent commercial real estate firm in New Jersey, Hanson has pushed his team to differentiate itself in one of the most competitive and in-demand industrial markets in the United States. As a result of the Teterboro-based firm’s commitment to delivering remarkable client service, NAI James E. Hanson has remained the go-to brokerage team for companies looking to buy, sell or lease space in the tri-state area for the past five decades. Within the last 10 years, associates have completed more than $3 billion in transactions, covering millions of square feet.
After joining Levin Management Corp. in 1996 and becoming chief executive officer in 2019, Harding has helped the North Plainfield-based commercial real estate firm build a diversified, retail-focused leasing and management portfolio that includes 125 properties totaling almost 16 million square feet in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. As LMC celebrates its Platinum Anniversary this year, the firm is embracing a period of active growth and portfolio diversification. In 2021, the firm completed a record 1.2 million square feet in leasing activity, with the momentum continuing well into 2022. Harding believes the firm’s achievements are due to “having a close-knit team all working together under one roof and the leadership of an executive team with a 265-year combined tenure.”
As Prologis’ senior vice president and market officer for New Jersey and New York, Harty has been key in helping the world’s largest industrial real estate owner expand its footprint in the tri-state area. As the San Francisco-based real estate investment trust’s portfolio in the area has grown to 44 million square feet across 200 properties, so has it workforce. Within the last three years, its local team has doubled to about 65 employees. In 2022, Harty was named treasurer/secretary of commercial real estate development association NAIOP New Jersey.
As a 35-year-commercial real estate veteran, Heller has acted as an advisor and agent to a wide variety of corporations, investors and owners throughout the world, consummating hundreds of thousands of transactions with a net aggregate value in excess of several billion dollars. When Toronto-based commercial real estate brokerage Avison Young sought to open its first New Jersey office in Morristown 10 years ago, they brought on Heller as managing director to help expand its presence in the tri-state area. Under Heller’s leadership, the branch has set its sights on continued growth, aggressively building its project management division via hiring and acquisitions.