“That wasn’t supposed to happen,” NAIOP New Jersey CEO Michael McGuinness said as he approached the stage last Thursday at the organization’s 35th Annual Commercial Real Estate Awards Gala. But the declaration wasn’t made to identify an error — it was made to mark McGuinness’s surprise as he was recognized for 25 years with the statewide organization.
“LinkedIn has nothing on Mike,” NAIOP NJ President Constantino “Gus” Milano of Hartz Mountain Industries said, quoting a former coworker of McGuinness’s while commemorating his work with the organization. “He’s a walking rolodex. When you need information or access to a decision maker, Mike either has a direct connection or can make that connection with a phone call or two. Mike is respected in Trenton because he comes to the table with reasonable arguments, solid facts, rational solutions and support.
“Mike has never let the chapter rest on its laurels, no matter how successful we are,” Milano added. “He always strives to do better next year, even when faced with the challenges” of a Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This isn’t about me tonight,” the NAIOP chief executive officer demurred, expressing his gratitude and turning the spotlight back to the event at hand and the team behind ensuring its success.
And the night certainly seemed like a success, bringing together a who’s-who from the state’s commercial real estate industry, professionals packed the venue and its outdoor patios to celebrate this year’s award winners.
Charles Klatskin Lifetime Achievement Award winner Gene Preston
Impact Award winner David Gockel, Langan
Impact Award winner Onyx Equities
Industry Services Award winner Anthony Coscia, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf LLP
Caren S. Franzini Public Partner Award winner City of Linden Mayor Derek Amstead
See what the winners said in our slideshow below.
During the awards program, five previously designated winners were recognized before the 2022 Deal of the Year winners – and a bonus Transformation award – were announced.
The individual honors for this year’s awards were announced in January, but there were still some additional surprises during the jam-packed event, with Deal of the Year winners revealed in the office, industrial and mixed-use sectors. Submissions were evaluated by a panel of judges. Then, before winners were selected, finalists also met with the judges for in-person presentations.
The nominees for each category were introduced by Gala co-chairs, and the evening’s emcees, former Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno of Connell Foley, Peter Cocoziello Jr. of Advance Realty Investors and Robert Kossar of JLL. (The co-chairs were also members of the 2022 Awards Committee, which was rounded out by Milano and Preston.)
Winner: Party City Headquarters Operations Lease Involved in the deal: Party City, Cushman & Wakefield, Savills Inc., CBRE, Gensler
CSG 105 Eisenhower Headquarters Lease Involved in the deal Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC, Cushman & Wakefield, Gensler, SJP Properties, Vision Real Estate Partners
Accepting the award, Cushman & Wakefield’s Ben Brenner started off by thanking Party City, for putting “their trust in us to formulate a strategy and ultimately deliver a state-of-the-art headquarters through what you can imagine most extremely challenging times through COVID.”
The project – which consolidated Party City offices from California, New Jersey and New York – was one of the largest office leases of 2021, the first recipient of the state’s new incentive program, NJ Emerge, and “no easy feat.”
As Kossar pointed out while introducing the finalists, not one, but two of 2022’s Industrial Deal of the Year finalists hailed from the less-traditional off-shore wind industry. But the winner, “looks a little traditional,” he said just before revealing the recipient.
Winner: Target at Logan North – Logan Township Involved in the deal: Greek Development, Advance Realty Investors, CBRE
Ground lease for New Jersey Wind Port – Salem County Involved in the deal New Jersey Economic Development Authority, PSEG, New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Ernst & Young Infrastructure Advisors, Love and Long LLP, Ashurst, Hogans Lovells, Porozio Bromberg & Newman PC, Sills Cummis & Gross PC
Outerbridge Renewable Connector – South Amboy Involved in the deal Rise Light & Power, CBRE
“All this happened while we were battling through COVID shutdowns and struggling to find labor to come to the job,” Greek Development Managing Partner David Greek said. “As well as financing the bill. We actually started raising debt for the project the same day that Gov. [Phil] Murphy first sent his first work-from-home order, so it really could not have been more poorly done.”
But, he continued, they got through: “It took, you know, developers, three different brokerages, a large lender and a small army of designers and consultants to do what we did. I’m not gonna name every one of them, but thank you each and every one of you … we’re thrilled to receive this award and really deeply grateful to NAIOP and everyone here.”
Winner: HalRay Newark Portfolio Involved in the deal: Hanini Group, Shift Capital, Coinvestment Partners, JLL Capital Markets
RCINJ Jack & Sheryl Morris Cancer Center Involved in the deal New Brunswick Development Corp. (DEVCO), Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, RWJBarnabas Health, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, County of Middlesex
Valley National Bank at Speedwell Avenue Involved in the deal SJP Properties, Valley National Bank, Newmark, Gensler, Town of Morristown
Approaching the podium, Hanini Group Managing Partner Samer Hanini expressed surprise at being announced the winner. “It’s truly an honor to be recognized for what you love doing,” he said. “I know we all love real estate, we love doing these projects and we know how hard it is to do these projects.”
For the second consecutive year, the Deal of the Year judges were so impressed with one of the finalists that it received a special award. The 2022 Transformation Award went to the RCINJ Jack & Sheryl Morris Cancer Center. DEVCO Executive Vice President Sarah Clarke accepted the award.
“I can tell you that this is one of those projects where not only was the transaction incredibly [complex], but where the construction is equally as complex,” she said, bringing together nine project partners to acquire five properties to build the state’s first freestanding caner hospital. “We are honored to be part of a project that will have such a broad reach from the students who will attend the new school to those patients who will receive treatments as a result of research being conducted at the new center.”
Click through the sideshow for more from the 2022 NAIOP New Jersey 35th Annual Commercial Real Estate Awards Gala.