The company Klugmann founded and runs, Accurate Builders, has developed a strategic vision for consistently exceeding clients’ expectations. And in June, Accurate announced that it was taking that vision across the Delaware River. Klugmann unveiled two new projects in the Philadelphia market, its first in city, marking an expansion that will deliver 499 new-construction residences to the Northern Liberties and University City neighborhoods. A third site under contract is expected to bring at least 118 more residences to another of the city’s prime neighborhoods. “We are delighted to expand our development activity into the Philadelphia market and feel fortunate to have secured sites in such dynamic settings,” said Accurate President and CEO Klugmann in a prepared statement. “We look forward to introducing new residential options to these neighborhoods that will mesh into the overall context and culture of their surroundings.” Back in New Jersey, Accurate continues to produce signature properties in towns such as Montclair, Linden, Woodbridge and elsewhere. Perhaps most notably, the firm is pushing ahead with plans for a mixed-use development at the site of the former Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium in Newark. The project’s first phase, which received city approval early in 2022, will produce three buildings: a single-story structure de-voted to amenity and commercial space – 15,000 square feet for the former and nearly 22,000 square feet for restaurant and retail space in the case of the latter – will connect two, 18-story residential buildings, each with 299 units.
Kossar is the market leader for all JLL industrial business in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. With 30-plus years’ experience, Kossar has extensive experience in both the ownership and brokerage side of the business representing many major public, private, and institutional owners throughout the country. He handles major transactions all over the Garden State including in Somerset, Florence, Burlington, Edison, Newark, Union and more, and is a leader in the growing industrial sector here. “Industrial isn’t just e-commerce these days. Everyone’s trying to right-size their supply chain. Everybody’s trying to get closer to the customer, which goes super well for New Jersey,” Kossar told NJBIZ. In addition to his local leadership responsibilities, Kossar remains an active broker, representing the firm’s most important clients. He is a board member of the NJ chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks and is a member of the Investment Management National Forum at NAIOP. Kossar also serves on the advisory board for the Rutgers Business School Center for Real Estate.
The Kushner name is widely known and means a lot of different things to a lot of people. In New Jersey, Jonathan Kushner, the president of KRE Group, is known for luxury living developments in some high-profile locations. And potential tenants respond. For example, just months after leasing began, 351 Marin in Jersey City secured leases for 400 of its 507 units. The 38-story tower located in the city’s Powerhouse Arts District developed by Kushner Real Estate Group and Northwestern Mutual thus recorded the an unprecedented lease-up, according to an announcement about the milestone. “Achieving this level of leasing velocity is a testament to the enormous appeal of 351 Marin, its location, and the overall lifestyle offering available here,” Kushner said at the time. “It also speaks to the current mindset of residents amidst the ongoing COVID landscape who are no longer leaving city settings, but are once again embracing the convenience, culture, nightlife and energy of Downtown Jersey City.”
Richard LeFrak, Harrison LeFrak and Jamie LeFrak
For decades, the LeFrak family has been legendary in the metro New York-New Jersey market. The family firm is one of the largest landlords in the area and as CEO, Richard has responsibility for the development and management of its extensive real estate portfolio as well as management of its other lines of business and over 1,000 employees. Harrison and Jamie are continuing the family’s leadership of the firm. The company has long been committed to community development and long-term ownership. Newport, the its mixed-use development in Jersey City, shows how people can live, work and play on the Hudson River waterfront. Residential, office and retail space, along with a hotel and an on-site PATH station offer residents and tenants a variety of amenities. There’s even a beachfront to enjoy during the warmer months. And the firm continues to play a role in Jersey City’s growth, continuing to update Newport and bringing in new tenants.
It’s safe to say that all of the leaders on this list know Greg Lalevee. If they don’t know him personally, they certainly know his work. Lalevee is both the business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825, and the vice president of IUOE’s general executive board. His members build the warehouses, office buildings and apartment complexes the real estate developers and brokers plan and sell. And Local 825 operators build the roads bridges and railways that get people and goods to and from all those places. As funds start flowing into the state from the federal government, Lalevee is one of the most prominent advocates of getting shovels in the ground and beams into the sky as quickly as possible. In a recent op-ed he wrote for NorthJersey.com, Lalevee took aim at critics trying to slow that process down or redirect its focus. “No doubt, it is important to look to the future and plan for needed changes,” he wrote. “But it’s just as important to look at the here and now. People eat and commute every day. It is how they live their lives and provide for their families. The ivory tower critics should keep this in mind.” And he amplified that theme in a recent interview with NJBIZ. “We all want to make faster progress,” he said. “So that being said, in infrastructure and designing, engineering, permitting projects – it takes time. … In a perfect world. If I got to write policy, I would waive most of the permitting stuff for infrastructure projects and move the money as fast as we can, because I think most of these things go through grant programs in the federal government, where if we don’t use it, other states can put chits in and try to grab it.” He may not write the policies, but the people who do pay attention to what Lalevee says.
In his role as senior managing director with Crow Holdings, Machemer is responsible for leading the company’s industrial development in the Northeast. Throughout his 20-year career, he has been involved in the leasing and development of more than 15 million square feet of industrial space, 1 million square feet of office space, and 250 residential units. Under Machemer’s purview, Crow has a number of major projects in development including redeveloping the iconic Marcal site in Elmwood Park with work beginning this summer on a 206,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art industrial building. “Crow Holdings Development is rooted in the spirit of partnership, and we have been proud to work closely with Marcal, the community, and so many stakeholders to help redevelop this iconic site,” said Machemer in May. “We recognize and appreciate the history of this site, and we look forward to bringing new economic activity to such a highly visible, prime location.” Work is also underway on a three-building, 1.2 million-square-foot industrial property in Carteret, which will serve as a logistics hub in Central Jersey. “Logistics and industrial real estate development continue to be economic drivers for any region, especially with the growth of e-commerce from consumers and importance of supply chain management for companies – and especially in Carteret, where a parcel of this size on the Turnpike presents a very compelling opportunity,” said Machemer in June.
In his role as CEO of NAIOP’s New Jersey chapter, the trade group for the state’s commercial real estate industry, McGuinness oversees the daily operations and programs of the association. In addition to working with the officers and board of trustees to carry out the group’s mission, McGuinness is a registered legislative agent who directs the advocacy program and manages the Developers Political Action Committee. He regularly testifies before and meets with lawmakers and regulatory agencies on matters of importance to the industrial commercial real estate development industry. McGuinness also helped lead the sector through the throes of the pandemic, assisting with adapting to the new normal that COVID-19 brought with it. The group’s mission statement says they are committed to improving the professionalism of the individual, the image of the industry and the quality of life in our communities. Areas of focus for the New Jersey NAIOP include advocacy for the organization so they can be identified as the voice of the industry in the state, education and communication, membership diversity and value so that the organization is truly representative of and responsive to the changing industry, and business development to continue improving opportunities across the industry.
As president of The Birch Group, a firm he founded, Meisner has led the expansion of a portfolio centered on suburban office properties. That includes more than 6.5 million square feet of value-add office assets in strategic markets. In just the last two years alone, The Birch Group has acquired nearly $1.2 billion in suburban office properties. In June, the firm introduced its rebranded and renovated property in Short Hills, now called The Collection at Short Hills, a four-building office portfolio with more than 800,000 square feet. “As one of the most affluent suburban office submarkets in the country, Short Hills is well-known for its established prestige, and we’re confident The Collection at Short Hills will not only continue to meet but also surpass the heightened expectations of the regional tenant base,” said Meisner at the time. “Investing in tailored approaches to asset management is a hallmark of our strategy.” In July, The Birch Group acquired Princeton Place at Hopewell for $70 million. The sale of the three-building office portfolio marked the second acquisition for the firm in the Princeton submarket, following its 2021 purchase of 600 and 700 Alexander Park for $47.3 million. “The Princeton submarket remains extremely attractive for us, in part due to its ability to draw from a deep and highly educated labor pool and accessibility to major metros including New York City and Philadelphia,” said Meisner. “With strong tenancy in place at these properties, we see this as a solid opportunity with tremendous upside that allows us to further execute on our strategy of building our portfolio of top-tier and high-performing assets in excellent locations.”
In his role as executive vice president, New Jersey at Cushman & Wakefield, Merin is always at the center of the action and the big deals. In fact, over the past three decades, Merin has been involved in more than $34.2 billion of property sales, including $18.1 billion of office transactions, $2.8 billion of retail sales, over $4.5 billion of industrial property sales and $3 billion of multifamily properties. According to the firm, Merin and his team have also completed 35 million square feet of corporate dispositions totaling over $5.4 billion nationwide. Just last month, he helped arrange Veris’ $420 million agreement for Harborside 1, 2 and 3 in Jersey City. “The sale of 101 Hudson is a historic transaction, made even more significant due to the challenging investment sales environment, with deals of this size and caliber rarely closing in any markets across the country right now,” Merin said. “After months of hard work, we are thrilled to have arranged this momentous transaction on behalf of Veris, with this being one of the largest single-asset office sales in New Jersey history.” When he’s not making huge deals, Merin is an active community member. Earlier this month, he was honored at the Fall Benefit for the All Stars Project of New Jersey, which is a nonprofit organization that provides free afterschool development programs for youth in poor and underserved communities. “I am extremely proud of my colleague Andy Merin and his dedication to the All Stars program,” said Peter Bronsnick, managing principal of New Jersey for Cushman & Wakefield, and a fellow Power 50 honoree. “Andy has been a passionate supporter of the All Stars Project since 2013, creating a real impact for people seeking opportunities throughout the Tri-State area. Cushman & Wakefield cares deeply about creating equity in the workplace, and we are honored to participate in the All Stars’ internship program to create new possibilities for these inspiring next-gen professionals.”
Since 1966, Hartz Mountain Industries has grown from a small organization to an established regional real estate presence with a focus on industrial and multifamily assets up and down the East Coast including New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Atlanta, Charlotte and Florida. With Milano as president and COO, the company focuses on building complex developments, quickly and economically with in-house architectural, construction, design, engineering, legal, marketing, leasing, property management and financial teams. In March, Hartz sold 15 Exchange Place in Jersey to American Equity Partners for $48 million. Another recent project for the company is Hamilton Cove in Weehawken, a luxury rental community with 573 apartments with a three-tower collection that launched in the teeth of the pandemic. “Our goal was to create a best-in-class residential community that people would be drawn to,” said Milano. “We put a tremendous amount of thought and effort into the design and amenities at Hamilton Cove, which is a testament to the building’s desirability.” Milano also serves as president of NAIOP NJ, the trade group that represents the commercial real estate sector in the Garden State. He touts NAIOP’s efforts for helping to halt legislation targeting the warehouse and distribution sector, ensuring most construction work could continue during the pandemic, and much more. Current priorities include legislation to allow for third-party construction inspections, ensuring that climate change and Energy Master Plan regulations are feasible and opposing unreasonable mandates targeting the warehouse and distribution sector.
Milanaik joined Bridge Development Partners in 2014 when he opened the firm’s New Jersey office, bringing over 30 years of experience in commercial real estate. As partner for the Northeast, Milanaik oversees all regional acquisition and development activities. According to Bridge, he was previously president of Heller Industrial Parks Inc., one of the nation’s largest privately held own-er/developers of industrial real estate. In addition to developing the company’s vision and overseeing its direction, he was responsible for day-to-day operations. Milanaik increased Heller’s industrial development activities to expand the portfolio by more than 10 million square feet to a total of 16 million square feet in six states. He left Heller in 2013 to start his own firm, CrownPoint Group LLC, a real estate investment and development firm focused on the acquisition/development/repositioning of industrial and multifamily properties.
Minoia is the founding and managing partner of Montville-based Diversified Properties, which boasts a portfolio of more than $500 million and a track record of having developed assets valued at more than $1.5 billion. In recent weeks alone, the firm began construction on Irondale at Wharton, a 60-unit luxury multifamily community on the site of a former restaurant, and completed Phase Two of Summit Court, a luxury multifamily community in Union less than a mile from Kean University, the Morris Avenue corridor and the Union NJ Transit Station. And the firm pays attention to its backyard. In March, Diversified sold 4.3 acres of undeveloped land at the Mars Park Corporate Center in Monvtille to the Morris County Park Commission. The acreage will be used to expand access to the Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area, 1,675-acre park. “As Montville residents ourselves, we are honored to help make one of its most beautiful destinations more accessible,” Nick Minoia said at the time. “We hope that this sale will allow more people than ever to experience what makes Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area so special and ensure it can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike for years to come.”
Laurent Morali and Nicole Kushner Meyer
The pair took over the leadership roles at Kushner Cos. last year with Morali being elevated from president to CEO while Kushner Meyer was tapped to fill the president position of her family’s firm. They oversee the company’s wide variety of residential, commercial, retail and hospitality ventures around the Garden State, including apartment complexes in areas such as Colts Neck, East Hanover and Fair Lawn, the Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, Pier Village in Long Branch, Wave Resort in Long Branch, and One Journal Square in Jersey City, which broke ground in June. The $1 billion mixed-use development will be comprised of two 64-story glass towers with sweeping views of the area that will create more than 2 million square feet, including residential, retail, amenities, parking and open space. “This project is bar none the most significant project we have in Jersey City and probably the most significant project in New Jersey,” said Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop at the groundbreaking. “It’s 900 units in the first phase, it’s 64 stories tall and we’re already close to 100 feet above the flood plain level so you talk about the size of this building and what it’s doing to the skyline is really significant.” These New Jersey ventures are in addition to the firm’s increasing presence in the Southeast and Sunbelt regions. At the end of 2021, Kushner’s portfolio was valued at more than $15 billion. “We look forward to working with our team to continue our company’s legacy of achievement and success,” the pair wrote on the Kushner Cos. website.
Morris has been in the real estate development business for more than three decades, founding Jack Morris Construction when he was 18. He now serves as president and CEO of Edgewood Properties Inc. which owns, operates and manages commercial and residential real estate around the country. But perhaps his crowning achievement was itself recently crowned. Earlier in November, the Jack and Cheryl Morris Cancer Center going up in New Brunswick celebrated its topping out. The $750 million, 520,000-square-foot facility will be the state’s first free-standing cancer hospital when it is completed, likely in 2024. The center was named in recognition of Jack Morris’ philanthropy. It will include advanced oncology care services from the Rutgers Cancer Institute and RWJBarnabas Health. The hospital will accommodate inpatient and outpatient treatment, research laboratories, retail space and ancillary services. At 12 stories, plus a penthouse, the building will be one of the tallest stand-alone properties in New Brunswick. Inside, a four-story open atrium; winding, ribbon staircase and steel box-truss pedestrian bridge will connect the facility to the original Rutgers Cancer Institute.
As chair and CEO of Hugo Neu, Wendy Neu’s flexibility in adapting Kearny Point to tenant needs is a model for other developers. Small businesses and entrepreneurs can work in the solo offices of the Annex; and tenants previously situated in a coworking space could relocate within the building during the pandemic. Neu is also an advocate for business and environmental integrity and leadership, working within the industry and with environmental and social justice organizations. She has chaired the Government Relations Committee for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and was a founding member of the Coalition for American Electronics Recycling. Neu also serves on the Product Stewardship Institute’s Advisory Council. Among the many organizations that have recognized that work are the NY/NJ Baykeeper and the New York League of Conservation Voters. Neu is also a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council and a co-chair of the Environmental Entrepreneurs initiative on the East Coast, the NRDC’s legislative advocacy arm.
Nia took over as CEO of what was then called Mack Cali Realty Corp. in March 2021 and has overseen a complete transformation of the company, now known as Veris Residential. Following a protracted proxy fight with activist investor Bow Street, the company began selling off its suburban office portfolio to focus on the multifamily residential market. Most recently, Veris agreed to sell Harborside 1, 2 and 3 in Jersey City for $420 million and as of October, the multifamily sector accounted for 98% of its revenue. But change is still in the air. The company is now the target of a hostile takeover bid from Kushner Cos., an offer Veris has rejected as inadequate and insufficiently funded. Nonetheless, the company’s directors have said they are “committed to evaluating any proposal to realize the substantial value that has been created at Veris Residential.” And that could mean another change or series of changes for a company that has been a mainstay of the state’s real estate market.
SJP Properties started the year with a full-circle moment. The firm developed the three-building Waterfront Corporate Center along the Hudson River in Hoboken over 10 years with the work completed in 2014. This past January, SJP partnered with David Werner Real Estate Investments to acquire Waterfront Corporate Center I, marking its return to full ownership and management of the 1.5 million-square-foot complex. In a time when office sector experts are trying to suss out exactly what the long-term effects of the pandemic are on where and how people will work, the firm Pozycki leads as founder, chairman and CEO has been tapped to handle some high-profile efforts in the space. SJP Properties is working with Scotto Properties to transform a series of vacant structures in Morristown into a brand new headquarters for Valley Bank that is expected to bring more than 600 professionals to downtown. In Newark, this year the company also debuted portions of McCarter & English’s reimagined 100,000-square-foot space at Gateway Center, which seeks to match the new realities of work. And, the firm is signing tenants as well. Like Siemens’ agreement for 65,000 square feet of space at Metropark, which includes a customized buildout by the SJP’s internal outfit, and a 20,000-square-foot lease that will allow a biopharmaceutical company to make the move across Somerset County to Somerset Corporate 1 in Bridgewater.
William “Billy” Procida
This year, Procida Funding & Advisors’ 100 Mile Fund, which focuses on financing developments generally located within, yep, 100 miles of the New York-metro area (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut), doubled in size to $200 million. Since its inception in 2011, the fund has posted more than $1.1 billion in originations with $669 million in repaid loans. In Northvale, it provided a $14.5 million construction loan for Paris Square, leading to completion of the 10-building, 111-unit, 50-plus active adult community over the summer. “This is exactly what Procida Funding does,” Procida said at the time, “we stay local by investing in our backyard and we were successful on this project because we put together a local dream team who we knew would do a phenomenal job.” The local approach of the Englewood Cliffs-based firm and its president and CEO is also on display in Paterson, where it has overseen financing to the tune of more than $60 million for development and redevelopment projects over the past decade. This year, it made another pivotal move in the Silk City – its first as developer – revealing a proposed $40 million mixed-use project in partnership with Asset Realty at the former Miesch Manufacturing mill that would restore the century-old industrial complex and bring 127 apartments to the city’s Great Falls Historic District.
One of the state’s most active developers, Russo leads the business his father founded in 1969 as president of Carlstadt-based Russo Development, which specializes in industrial, data center, residential and mixed-use projects. Since taking up the post, Russo’s focus has been on strengthening core competencies and in-house capabilities in addition to expanding across all property types. The firm made its entrance to the Newark residential market in 2022 by breaking ground on the 297-unit Vermella Broad Street property. That brand also celebrated a grand opening in Garwood for phase one’s nearly 300 units with phase two of the project under construction across the street. Meanwhile, The Print House in Hackensack – the former home of The Record and Russo Development’s first Opportunity Zone investment – also demonstrated progress this year, reaching 80% leased on its residential component in a matter of months. But maybe the biggest news from the past 12 months is Russo Development’s being tapped as part of the team undertaking the transformative transit-oriented development project at Metropark Station. At the time, Russo praised the Murphy administration for its creation of public-private partnerships to drive redevelopment across NJ Transit’s portfolio as “not only an imaginative way to catalyze value creation but … visionary in the way it will ultimately enhance the rider experience statewide.” In that effort, the firm is working with Onyx Equities again. At the end of 2021, the partners announced they’d bring big changes to a former 62-acre portion of Norvartis’ East Hanover headquarters with the development of 826,000 square feet of industrial space. Outside of his own company, Russo is also an active member of the business community and a member of organizations including NAIOP, Urban Land Institute, the Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce, and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.
Recognizing the growing demand for its involvement in major real estate projects across the state, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority created a new division in July to specifically focus on development and appointed Santos to lead the team. As part of his responsibilities, Santos is focused on large projects, as well as overseeing the NJEDA’s continued partnership with the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority. Before joining the agency in 2019 as chief of staff, Santos was senior vice president for economic development at the Newark Alliance. His background also includes serving as vice president for planning and policy at the Newark Community Economic Development Corp.
David Sanzari and Ryan Sanzari
For over 75 years, Alfred Sanzari Enterprises has been one of the most highly respected commercial real estate firms in New Jersey, managing a portfolio of over 6 million square feet comprised of office, industrial, retail and medical office tenants. Led by David as CEO and Ryan as president, the family-run firm handles several iconic Bergen County properties, such as Glenpointe in Teaneck, Court Plaza in Hackensack and the Alfred N. Sanzari Medical Arts Building in Hackensack.
John Saraceno and Jon Schultz
Since Saraceno and Schultz founded Onyx Equities LLC 18 years ago, the firm has acquired more than $3 billion worth of real estate assets throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut and executed over $400 million in asset repositioning projects across all property types. Most recently, Onyx has been making its impact felt with the massive transformation of the Gateway buildings in Newark connected to Penn Station. Since acquiring three of the four buildings in 2018, Onyx has been working to transform the complex into a hub of business and cultural activity. In June, the firm received NAIOP’s Impact Award, which recognizes those who have made a significant impact on New Jersey’s commercial and industrial real estate development industry.
As vice chairman and COO at Newmark Knight Frank, Simson is one of the leading brokers/advisors in New Jersey. Along with being named twice as the firm’s top producer in the U.S., Simson’s achievements have placed him every year in the top 100 nationwide. For over 35 years, he’s advised many large corporations, such as MetLife, Pfizer, Memorial Sloan Kettering and Allergen, in strategic planning. He has also represented landlords as exclusive agent for leasing or investment sales for more than 200 million square feet of office space.
Since joining Matrix Development in 1981 at age 24, Taylor has grown the firm from a sole investment into one of the most successful full-service real estate investment companies in the industry. Under his watch as president and CEO, the company has extended its reach throughout New Jersey and into New York and Pennsylvania, developing more than 35 million square feet of commercial, industrial and residential properties. Matrix has also expanded its portfolio beyond its commercial and industrial suburban investments to include mixed-use urban initiatives, and added business lines such as Matrix Residential Properties, Matrix Golf & Hospitality, Matrix Construction and Matrix Asset Management, which the firm says helps its ability to weather economic shifts. Taylor serves on a number of charitable endeavors and gives back to the communities in which he works through several nonprofit efforts he supports, including the Matrix Foundation. Some of Taylor’s professional affiliations include chair of Hands Together, chairman emeritus for the State of New Jersey’s Real Estate Advisory Board, as well as chairman emeritus for NAIOP NJ.
Gebroe-Hammer Associates closed out 2021 by besting its all-time-high sales benchmark set in 2019, recording full-year results of $2.02 billion. At the close of Q3 in 2022, the firm reported more than $1.35 billion in sales across 79 deals and more than 6,500 units – creeping up on that current record-high figure as the end of year closes in. That success is spearheaded by Uranowitz, president of the Livingston-based brokerage focused on multifamily investment sales, who’s been on board since Gebroe-Hammer was founded 47 years ago. And to him, “The stars remain aligned for multifamily.” Beyond hitting – and surpassing – its own transaction benchmarks, the firm also consistently outpaces a competitive set of larger institutional brokerages in the sector.
After years of working alongside his father, Witmondt took over leadership of Woodmont in 1999 and expanded its redevelopment, infill, multifamily and industrial activities. Under his leadership, the boutique residential, office and industrial developer has transformed into a regional powerhouse, with the Fairfield-based company’s value increasing from $200 million to more than $650 million. As part of its focus on transit-oriented residential communities in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, Woodmont has developed, built and manages more than 5,000 apartment units and plans to develop an additional 3,000 units in the next three years. And in an effort to further diversify the company and capitalize on an emerging asset class, Witmondt established Woodmont Industrial Partners, which has bought and sold more than 5 million square feet of industrial space in less than five years.