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No. 4: Chris Paladino

Commercial Real Estate Power 50

– AARON HOUSTON

As president of the New Brunswick Development Corp., Paladino has set the standard for what it means to be a developer in New Jersey. Under his leadership, DEVCO has initiated, developed and managed nearly 5.4 million square feet in residential, commercial, academic and institutional activity valued at over $2 billion by focusing on a unique brand of public-private joint venture partnerships.

With Paladino at the helm, DEVCO and Pennrose LLC opened the $172 million, 23-story New Brunswick Performing Arts Center and residential tower in September — a partnership with Rutgers University, the George Street Playhouse, Middlesex County, the Crossroads Theatre and American Repertory Ballet.
Paladino is also in the midst of completing the $220 million Atlantic City Gateway project, a major development initiative of the Atlantic City Development Corp. in a public-private partnership with Stockton University and South Jersey Industries.

Local and state officials have been aiming to overhaul the city’s economy so that it is not solely dependent on casinos and gambling. The Great Recession led to the closure of five casinos, precipitating the near-bankruptcy of the city, and ultimately a state takeover in 2016.

Like New Brunswick, Atlantic City has attractive characteristics. New Brunswick is home to Rutgers University and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. Atlantic City boasts a seaside location and a now-recovering casino industry. But the resort city could be considerably more challenging given its array of financial and governance issues. Paladino, state officials and other business executives have their work cut out for them.

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