“Every Real Estate Transaction is like a jigsaw puzzle. ALL the pieces must fit perfectly in-place and harmoniously coexist for the project to be successful”
New Jersey has some of the strictest environmental laws in the nation regarding land development, which requires coordination among many governmental agencies regarding wetlands, stream encroachment, tree preservation, endangered species, site runoff and compliance with the Highlands Act. We have successfully navigated many complex environmental issues on numerous occasions and do not believe that land development and respect for the environment are mutually exclusive. We are not producing any more land and we owe it to future generations to ensure that sound planning and appropriate construction techniques are implemented in every instance.
(West Windsor, Pistol Creek, Fairfield and Clark Commons).
It is imperative that we work with existing neighbors to address any legitimate concerns they may have. We are coming into a host community and it is important that we maximize the benefits and minimize the impact our project might have on the surrounding neighborhood. For that reason, we routinely set-up meetings with neighbors for the purpose of discussing the proposed project. Every effort is made to improve our proposed project and incorporate any comments or concerns these neighbors might have. Unfortunately, NIMBY (not in my backyard) is a prevalent attitude with many of the projects we develop and it is sometimes difficult to address the needs/concerns of all neighbors in all cases. This is especially true when a large vacant tract of land is proposed to be developed and the residents adjoining the site have become accustomed to living adjacent to an open or forested field. (Bridgewater, South Plainfield, Hillsborough, Pistol Creek and Clark Commons).
We have been involved with several sites that were deemed to be contaminated and in need of remediation. Working closely with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (and in some cases the EPA), we have successfully coordinated the remediation of these properties allowing them to be used productively while enhancing the tax base of the host communities. In addition, our efforts and on-going involvement with these “contaminated sites” have helped protect the health, welfare and economic well-being of surrounding property owners. (South Plainfield, Bridgewater, Hillsborough and Clark Commons).
Tenants are our customers and we embrace the philosophy that “the customer is always right”. We do everything we can to meet the specific and individual needs of our tenants and give considerable thought to ensuring that the mix of tenants within any project we develop not only meets the needs of the residents within the host community but also complement each other. Our objective is to ensure the long term viability and success of any project we develop. A proper tenant mix, and offering reasonable terms and conditions to those tenants help ensure that success. We have consummated deals with local “mom & pop” tenants as well as some of the most recognizable names in retailing, including but not limited to, Costco, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Home Depot, Kohl’s A&P, Woolworth, Pathmark, Lowe’s, Sears, CVS, Good Year, Pep Boys, McDonald’s, Whole Foods, Home Goods, Petco, Michael's, Ulta, L.A. Fitness, Party City, Modell's, Hallmark and Dress Barn.
While our primary focus is on the development and acquisition of new projects from the ground up, we have had the opportunity to be involved with several projects of historical significance. In all instances, we have gone to great lengths to ensure that the historical integrity of any existing buildings are properly documented, archived, renovated and whenever possible, preserved. (Englewood, Bridgewater and Hillsborough)
Although we do not actively seek out partners for any of our projects, we have nonetheless formed joint-ventures and partnerships with individuals and large real estate companies on numerous occasions. We have consistently demonstrated our ability to be creative in how deals get structured in order to ensure the maximum economic benefit for all involved. There is no set formula and every transaction is analyzed on the specific characteristics of that deal. Given our attention to detail and intimate knowledge of the markets in which we develop, we have always been the managing member of any entity formed. We have never relinquished voting control on any project and our partners’ primary role has generally been to provide us with better access to the capital markets. We do not build, manage, develop or lease for third parties. Some of the entities we have been fortunate enough to partner with over the years are Hekemian & Company, Kimco Realty, Poskanzer-Tulp, Frankel Insurance, Diversified Realty, Devcon Development, the Ciasulli Family and Titan Capital.
The need to provide affordable housing is both a legal and moral obligation, which we fully embrace. However, sound planning and logic should prevail when assessing the nexus between any proposed project and the actual housing needs of the host community. We have always strived to find the right balance between meeting the affordable housing needs and obligations of the host community and the financial viability of undertaking the project being proposed. Unfortunately for all involved, on several occasions we have been forced to pursue appropriate remedies through the courts regarding resolution of affordable housing issues. We have successfully won every case. (Hillsborough, South Plainfield and Belvidere).
Real Estate Brokers:
We greatly value and cherish the close working relationship we have developed with the brokerage community over the years. Although we are actively engaged in all aspects of acquiring, leasing and selling projects, we do not participate or share in brokerage commissions involving any of the projects in which we have a direct ownership or financial interest in. On occasion, we have provided third party brokerage and consultation services when specifically requested to do so; however, this is a negligible part of our business.
Government Approvals/Zoning Issues:
In almost all cases, properties that we have been involved in developing are not zoned to allow our intended use. This requires us to have close coordination and cooperation with Local, County, State, and/or Federal entities in order to ensure that the project we want to build is acceptable to the various authorities having jurisdiction over the site in question. We whole-heartedly believe in a collaborative effort and have successfully prosecuted many approvals which were not in compliance with existing rules, regulations and/or development guidelines and ordinances. We have developed in small, rural communities consisting of less than 2,400 residents to major cities consisting of several hundred thousand residents. We have worked closely with local planning boards, design review committees, the Army Corp of Engineers, EPA, NJDEP, Federal Highway Administration, The Council on Affordable Housing, and the Highlands Commission, just to name a few.
When developing a site, the concerns of all interested parties need to be addressed and satisfied to truly achieve success. Cooperation and conciliation on the part of the developer are very important; however, we will not be bullied or dissuaded from pursuing a viable project as a result of politics, irrational arguments or an economic agenda which is contrary to the needs of the community-at-large. There is no place for politics in Sound Land Use Planning and Development.
As important as the purchase price might be to an Owner/Seller of property, that same party also needs to know that the person they contract to sell their property to will be there at the Closing. Although not formally considered a partnership, the objectives and interests of the Owner/Seller and Purchaser must be the same. They must share the same desired outcome and their respective interests must run parallel. Without the transfer of ownership from one to the other, no one wins. We have successfully worked with and acquired properties from single property owners to Fortune 100 Companies. Furthermore, we have NEVER been involved in a transaction that was pursued past any applicable Due Diligence Period and failed to Close. We have a 100% success rate; however, we must admit that sometimes the desired outcome took considerably longer than originally anticipated.
We have continuously identified the most efficient and creative way in which to fund our projects so as to maximize return on investment while minimizing risk. We have never avoided accepting personal responsibility for any funds borrowed and have never defaulted or been delinquent on a loan. Financing has never been an impediment to undertaking or completing any transaction we have chosen to get involved in and we have creatively structured joint-ventures, pre-sales, lender participation and/or seller financing when appropriate. We have the expertise and financial wherewithal to undertake residential, commercial and/or retail projects of any size. Our transactions have ranged in market value from as little to $500,000 to as much as $125,000,000.
Given the litigious society we now live in, a myriad of legal issues are involved in every real estate transaction. We personally oversee and get directly involved with our legal team in every aspect of the legal process. Every effort is made to resolve issues amicable and to the mutual benefit of all interested parties; however, we are not afraid to pursue legal remedies if warranted. We have unfortunately been embroiled in dozens of legal disputes throughout the years and have successfully prevailed in every instance.
In many instances, there are existing businesses located in communities in which we wish to develop a new project. These businesses have legitimate concerns about the impact our proposed project will have on them, especially if they are situated in an “older”, “neglected” or downtown location. It is incumbent upon us to assuage their concerns and educate them to the benefits they stand to derive from our proposed project. Our overall objective is to compliment the goods and services available to residents in the communities we develop within without causing economic harm to existing businesses.
There have also been instances where we are competing with other developers and property owners for a finite amount of tenants in any given marketplace, or, for approvals from local governing bodies. In those cases, it is important that we distinguish our project from the competitors’ by emphasizing our superior location, ease of access, quality of construction, amenities and/or competitive pricing. Unfortunately, it is a well known fact in the Real Estate Development business that competitors have a tendency to object and interfere with the approval process, or, have others do so on their behalf. (Bridgewater, Hillsborough and Clark Commons).