As chair and CEO of Hugo Neu, Wendy Neu’s flexibility in adapting Kearny Point to tenant needs during the pandemic 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. In March, Neu presented a 25,000-square-foot Employment & Training Center presented to the New Jersey Reentry Corp. The facility includes nine classrooms and conference spaces where NJRC participants will receive training in six major certification skill sets: Solar Technology; Construction; Cisco networking; automobile mechanics; health care maintenance; and GED/high school diploma. “In a sense, my career has come full circle,” Neu said at the time. “My first job was working in a prison. This is a new beginning. This training center symbolizes hope, not only for the NJRC program participants, who will receive training, but for all of us.”
Otteau is the managing director and chief appraiser for the real estate advisory firm the Otteau Group, with one of its three offices based out of Matawan. In his 20 year tenure, Otteau has provided real estate expertise to government bodies up and down the roster, ranging from zoning and planning boards, to state and federal court. He also teaches real estate valuation at Monmouth University as an adjunct professor. The group strives to keep its clients up-to-date on the whirlwind of commercial real estate by providing analyses and pricing skills.
A 2021 honoree in the NJBIZ Leaders in Finance awards program, the CEO of Procida Funding & Advisors, takes a local approach with his 100 Mile Fund, financing commercial real estate development within 100 miles of the New York metro market, throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. He established the fund in 2011 and last year it provided a $39.85 million construction loan to Forte Real Estate Development for The Washington Lofts, a 242-unit mixed-use apartment building development project in the Borough of Carteret. Procida also closed a pair of Paterson deals with Charles Florio, construction loans worth $7.275 million and $2.25 million. According to Florio, those deals will indirectly create thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in growth for Paterson, a city sorely in need of economic development activity.
Profeta is a heavy-hitter in Newark, offering key insights on business, commercial real estate and economic development and making sure local residents have greater economic opportunity. He heads the Paul V. Profeta Foundation, which helped the New Jersey Institute of Technology announce in May that it would launch two new education and research centers focused on real estate and entrepreneurship. He’s focused on revitalizing the state’s largest city, including through the launch of the Profeta Urban Investment Foundation in 2008 to help Newark minority-owned businesses get started. The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at the Rutgers Business School in Newark works in tandem with the foundation. State and local officials regard Newark as a potential bellwether for equitable economic development; that is, revitalization that avoids gentrification and benefits local residents in economically struggling communities. The massive $14.5 billion economic incentive program approved in January includes many such endeavors, and Profeta will be among the boots on the ground making sure they help the residents and businesses most in need.
David Sanzari and Ryan Sanzari
Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020, Alfred Sanzari Enterprises has long been a highly respected commercial real estate firm. The company’s deep office, industrial, retail and medical office portfolio is home to iconic properties such as Court Plaza in Hackensack and Glenpointe in Teaneck. Led by David as CEO and Ryan as president, the firm has adhered to its foundational ideals while evolving to meet the challenges of the future. Named to the NBIZ Next Generation of Leaders list in 2021, Ryan has helped guide the firm’s growth, spearheading a number of innovative initiatives, technologies and strategies to enhance and streamline the firm’s operations as well as its portfolio, particularly on the residential and hospitality fronts. As the company looks toward the future, Sanzari will bring his expertise, vision and leadership to the role of president, a position to which he was elevated this year.
The founder of Circle Squared Alternative Investments never stops. Developers from all over the state reach out to the firm when seeking an equity partner. Along with playing matchmaker, Sica helps the developers bridge commercial and bank loans to private equity to get things built—anything from hotels to medical office buildings to multifamily buildings. People may be fleeing the nation’s biggest cities, but many are opting away from country living and instead seeking smaller, walkable cities. Residents want to feel that they have access to what they need for their families, but with more wiggle room. Sica also owns Montclair’s uber-chic MC Hotel, named one of the top 10 hotels in the Mid-Atlantic by Conde Nast Traveler in October 2020. In addition, he is the co-producer of a movie about the life of Francesca Cabrini, who built a multinational charitable empire and became the first U.S. citizen to be canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.
As vice chairman and COO of Newmark Knight Frank, Simson is one of the state’s leading brokers. He has been named as the firm’s top producer in the country twice – in 2010 and 2012. Simson’s status is evident in the transactions he handles, mainly large deals for big companies and institutions like Allergan, Memorial Sloan Kettering and Realogy. He’s represented landlords as exclusive agent for leasing or investment sales for more than 200 million square feet of office space. Most recently, his firm was tapped to handle leasing at 1 Giralda Farms, a four-story, 154,417-square-foot Class A office building in Madison. The deal brought BNY Mellon, Mariner Wealth Advisors and Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf to the New Jersey suburb.
Stein is the founding managing member of PCD Development, which plays a major role in the efforts to revitalize the heavily polluted Hackensack River. Through its development arm, PCD has 6,000 residential units in the works, as well as 700,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, throughout the New York City metro area. In June, PCD began leasing The Atwater, a luxury apartment building in Bogota along the Hackensack River. Other redevelopment projects focused on Morristown.
Stolar founded Pinnacle Cos. in 1984 and has since built more than 8,000 residential units and over 3 million square feet of mixed-use development. His 2008 expansion with workout development group Pinnacle Solutions U.S. has taken over projects totaling over 1.5 million square feet with banks, private lenders, developers, land owners and municipalities to develop properties or to reposition, restructure, resuscitate and restart stalled or failed projects, according to Pinnacle’s website. He has his hands in work all over Montclair, including Lackawanna Plaza, set to include over 150 residential units; retail spaces in the old train station; a Lidl grocer and Wellmont Development with 200 units and 40,000 square feet of retail and office use each; and the redevelopment of the historic Wellmont Theater.
Peter Sudler is president and CEO of the Sudler Cos., a privately held real estate development company founded in 1907. Based in Chatham, the Sudler Cos. owns millions of square feet across New Jersey and around the country, including Florida and South Carolina. The firm’s office parks and properties are situated near some of the most heavily traveled corridors across the state. They include new buildings at the 250-acre business park in Lakewood — just off Route 70 and the Garden State Parkway — and boast 1.5 million square feet of light industrial and warehouse space. A 225-acre mixed-use development corporate park in Cranbury, near exit 8A off the New Jersey Turnpike — saw the demolition in 2019 of a 500,000-square-foot office building to make way for big box distribution space leased by WB Mason and RUGS USA. In January, Sudler Cos. said ts 8,000,000-square-foot industrial portfolio set all-time marks for leasing velocity with 1.2 million square feet in renewals and new leases, bringing the portfolio to more than 98%-leased over the course of 2020.
As president and CEO of Matrix Development, which he joined in 1981, Taylor has expanded the firm from its sole investment in CenterPoint into a successful full-service real estate investment company. Matrix has developed more than 35 million square feet of commercial, industrial and residential properties, expanding across New Jersey amd into Pennsylvania and New York. Taylor’s success has made him someone the real estate world looks up to, and he has the accolades to show it. He’s been the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from NJ-NAIOP and National Developer of the Year from NAIOP; and he’s Chairman Emeritus of the state Real Estate Advisory Board.
Trautner is one of the most respected real estate attorneys in the state with deep expertise in redevelopment and land use, eminent domain, affordable housing, community associations and real estate litigation. During the pandemic, clients across the real estate industry relied on his experience as they sought to navigate a complex and evolving legal and business landscape. In addition to his role as a real estate partner with Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC, Trautner serves as co-chair of the Urban Land Institute Northern New Jersey, one of the state’s preeminent real estate organizations, where he has helps the nonprofit provide a diverse array of programming and insight.
As president of Gebroe Hammer Associates, Uranowitz has spearheaded the firm’s consistent results. In July, for example, the firm said its multifamily business produced $917 million in apartment-property transactions by that point–doubling sales over the same period in 2020. Uranowitz joined the firm at its inception 45 years ago and since launching his commercial real estate investment brokerage career, he has set new industry records for sales and number of units sold. Notably, Uranowitz worked to attain a $25.35 million disposition in 2020 of Hamilton House in Weehawken, a 99-unit fixture within the township’s desirable Town Center/Downtown District; the $19 million off-market sale of West Bank Apartments in Nutley, where he had a 40-plus year relationship with the seller and original developer, Westbank Apartments LLC/Avalon Apartment LLC which built the 108-unit midrise in 1962.
Under CEO Eric Witmondt’s leadership, Woodmont Properties’ success in developing both residential communities and commercial properties is derived from a blend of innovation, integrity, the selection of superior locations, and quality design. Witmondt turned a boutique residential, office and industrial developer into a regional powerhouse, with the company’s value increasing from $200 million to more than $650 million during his tenure. After years of working alongside his father, Donald, Eric Witmondt took over the leadership of Woodmont in 1999 and expanded its redevelopment, infill, multifamily and industrial activities. The company, which owned no apartment units before naming Eric as CEO, now owns more than 3,000 units at 13 luxury apartment communities throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The firm continues to seek opportunities for downtown, transit-oriented development in communities across New Jersey. 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. In March, the firm said that it sold a 130,565-square-foot industrial facility on Long Island to BlackRock Real Assets on behalf of one of its institutional clients for $30.7 million.
Zangari, a member of Newark’s Sills Cummis & Gross and chair of its real estate department, is also a founding member of the Rutgers University Center for Real Estate, where he serves on the executive committee, and a member of the board of trustees at George Washington University’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis. Zangari is the go-to guy to talk to about investing in Opportunity Zones. Last year, he helped client Blue Onyx launch an adaptive reuse project in Paterson, which he dubbed “a city on the upswing,” from acquisition and financing to land use, tax abatements and public incentives. Zangari chairs the tirm’s Public Policy and Governmental Affairs Practice Group, assisting developers, hospitals, banks, casinos and other regulated industry clients on a broad range of legislative and regulatory matters.
Zucker, the president of Somerset Development, is no stranger to the NJBIZ list of real estate heavy hitters. As the owner and developer of Bell Works, he’s played a major part in the effort to transform the once- decrepit property into a gleaming city-style office complex. Most recently, in July Somerset announced announced plans for Campus at Bell Works New Jersey, a flexible workspace operation. Campus will occupy 72,000 square feet at the Holmdel facility, catering to the growing number of medium-sized businesses and enterprises in search of flexible, termed leasing solutions as teams return to the office. The 1.9 million- square-foot office space, sitting on 473 acres, played host to the renowned Bell Labs until the company vacated the suburban office park in 2007. During the pandemic, state and local officials, developers and business executives grappled with how to revive the hundreds of malls, shopping centers and office parks scattered throughout the state, standing nearly or completely empty. The Bell Labs complex nearly went the same route. But now, with office options ranging from a handful of desks to thousands of square feet, Bell Works may be poised to meet this new demand and become a standard-bearer for the post-COVID office environment.