2023 Commercial Real Estate Power 50: A – H

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Baye Adofo-Wilson

As CEO of BAW Development, Adofo-Wilson focuses on developing transformative, residential, and mixed-use projects in urban communities. A prime example of these type of projects – the more than $100 million Hinchliffe Stadium Neighborhood Restoration Project in Paterson, which the Silk City native has been overseeing. The work includes the refurbishment of the historic Hinchliffe Stadium, restaurant and event space, affordable housing, a preschool, parking garage, and more. “It’s a pleasure to see the culmination of our hard work finally realized. This project wasp a labor of love that would not have been possible without the diverse group of public-private partners who came together to breathe life back into this historic site,” he said earlier this year when the ribbon was cut on the resurrected stadium. “As one of Paterson’s most ambitious large-scale developments in many years, I’m incredibly excited about the future of this project for the city and the many lives that will be positively impacted by it.” Adofo-Wilson is also a lawyer – having joined Post Polak in Roseland as of counsel – with a practice that focuses on New Jersey Redevelopment Law and Opportunity Zones.

Jeff Babikian

Babikian has been vice chairman of CBRE since February 2022. His elevation marked the first time a New Jersey office leasing professional achieved that title at the firm. Babikian, who is one of the most active brokers in the tri-state area, has been a consistent presence on this list. His recent deals include the sale of a 4-acre industrial complex in the Meadowlands and the lease of a 115,000-square-foot logistics property in Kearny. Babikian represents a wide range of notable clients including the New York Giants, KPMG, Mer-cedes-Benz USA and others across the commercial real estate landscape both locally and nationally. He has won numerous industry awards including “Broker of the Year” several times and is a multiple time Colbert Coldwell Circle recipient, awarded to the company’s top 3% of brokers nationally. Babikian also serves on a number of boards and causes, including as an advisory board member of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate, a committee member of the Northern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts of America, active consultant to the Bergen County Economic Development Corp. and board director of the Ramsey Education Foundation.

David Barry and Michael Barry

At the head of Hoboken-based full-service commercial real estate development firm Ironstate Development Co., the Barrys – co-owners and brothers – have had an impact on some of the state’s most rapidly changing cities and downtowns. The company’s more than 20 developments can be found in Montclair, Hoboken, Jersey City and Harrison, where the planned 333 Somerset would add another 186 residential units. In addition to Ironstate, there’s Urby—a joint venture between David Barry – as president and CEO – and Brookfield Properties. Urby’s eclectic and grounded communities have sprung up in cities including Manhattan and Dallas, with developments underway in Miami, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Newark Urby is housed within a restored and modernized historic 18-story Art Deco tower in its namesake city that also includes the Rutgers-Newark welcome center. Earlier this fall, Journal Square Urby in Jersey City – which will include 317 units – topped out at 25 stories. And there’s a lot more Urby to come to Jersey City, an area that has had no problem finding occupants for its ever-growing housing stock. At Jersey City Urby along the downtown waterfront, two new towers were approved by the Jersey City Planning Board. Joining the existing 69-story tower, the height-matching structures will deliver another 1,606 rental residences and 32,000 square feet of retail space.

Adenah Bayoh

The founder and principal of Adenah Bayoh & Cos. is a force. The entrepreneur started early, so early in fact, she was one of the youngest IHOP franchisees in the U.S. when her Irvington location opened in 2008. And that’s a property, mind you, that Bayoh owns. In the restaurant world, her portfolio of IHOP restaurants stands at four. She’s also launched her own eateries: farm-to-table soul food restaurant Cornbread, with partner Zadie B. Smith, and vegan eatery Brick City Vegan. But this is a commercial real estate list, so consider: Among their locations, both brands – along with one of her IHOPs – have outposts at 915 Broad St. in Newark—an 84-unit mixed-use building co-developed by Bayoh that is within walking distance of Newark Penn Station. Earlier this year, affordable apartment complex 722 Chancellor opened its doors in Irvington. And Bayoh’s latest project has already made history. Southside View – a 40-unit, 100% affordable housing community property located in Newark’s South Ward – is the first woman-owned and Black-owned real estate development entity in New Jersey to receive a 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credit. Bayoh is also a sought-after speaker. Next month, you can catch her sharing her know-how at the inaugural The Newark Summit, which expects to draw more than 750 attendees to explore investment, placemaking, development and more in the Brick City. It’s a topic she’s well versed in, and with a particular bent toward doing more than just leaving things better than when they were found. “Newark is not just our city; it is a canvas of opportunity where business owners and industry leaders come together to paint their dreams with innovation and resilience, making it a premier destination for those who dare to redefine the future,” Bayoh said as a panelist during the recent Newark Forward event. “By showcasing the unique opportunities and vibrant ecosystem here, we can attract and inspire the next generation of leaders to invest in Newark, drive economic progress, and shape the city’s future.”

Wasseem and Sam Boraie

At Boraie Development, a New Brunswick-based real estate development firm, it’s all in the family. As principals, Wasseem Boraie and his brother Sam Boraie work alongside their father, Omar Boraie, who founded the company 35 years ago with the goal of revitalizing communities through transformative projects in cities like New Brunswick, Jersey City, Newark and Atlantic City. As the second generation, Wasseem and Sam continue to execute their father’s vision by working with innovative partners to bring state-of-the-art development to urban markets, with the firm making headlines in recent years for 777 McCarter in Newark –the largest residential tower in New Jersey, the project includes the backing of NBA legend and city native Shaquille O’Neal – and 50 Rector Park, the Brick City’s first market-rate high rise in 50 years. Now, Boraie Development is leading a $120 million project in New Brunswick, where a 30-story tower with 342 residential units is planned near the HELIX Health + Life Sciences Exchange, a three-phase, $731 million project helmed by the New Brunswick Development Corp.

Peter Bronsnick

As managing principal and executive managing director of Cushman & Wakefield, Bronsnick runs the commercial real estate firm’s New Jersey business, overseeing market activi-ties, engagements, operations and growth across its three offices in East Rutherford, Iselin and Morristown. For over 45 years, C&W has maintained a dominant presence in New Jersey’s commercial real estate market, handling more than 700 sales and leasing transactions annually, totaling more than 40 million square feet. Since his arrival at C&W in June 2021, Bronsnick has attracted 63 new professionals across all disciplines, further strengthening the firm’s already market-leading teams. Despite the economic downturn, the company continues to gain market share, with the aim of solidifying its spot as the top CRE services firm in New Jersey. To help reach that goal, Bronsnick has expanded C&W’s industrial and multifamily teams, as well as created a deliberate strategy to expand offerings in the middle market family sector. Regarded as a strategic, passionate and deliberate leader, Bronsnick is also known as a mentor, celebrating C&W’s top brokers while also guiding the next generation professionals toward success. With more than two decades of professional experience, Brosnick’s background also includes leadership positions at SJP Properties, RXR and Mack-Cali. He is also the recipient of NJBIZ’s Vanguard series honor in 2018.

Peter Cocoziello

“We have been reimagining real estate for over four decades and remain committed to excellence in each of our market segments,” Cocoziello says on Advance Realty’s homepage. “Our forward-thinking approach combined with deep-rooted experience enables us to create innovative, sustainable, high-quality assets and communities suited for to-morrow’s lifestyles.” Since he founded Advance in West Orange in 1979, Cocoziello – who serves as CEO – has overseen rapid growth with a focus on vision, creativity, adding value and forging trusted, long-term relationships with the investment, broker, tenant and local communities. Today, the privately held company owns, manages, or has invested in a 15 million-square-foot portfolio of properties diversified across all asset classes – while continuing to actively pursue investments that enhance value. Last month, Advance held a ribbon cutting for a new rental property, The Wyldes – a five-story, 399-unit property located next to the PATH Station in Harrison in the Riverbend District. “I welcome the Wyldes to Harrison,” said Harrison Council President James Doran earlier this month. “There are 400 units in this complex which brings us to a total of 4,500 new units in our community and we’ve welcomed every single person that’s rented or bought. You bring life to Harrison. I thank the developers for their foresight. The Cocoziello family has done a great job.”

Edwin Cohen and Eugene Diaz

Under the leadership of these two principals, Prism Capital Partners is showing no signs of slowing down. The firm has evolved into one of the state’s most active and respected developers – focusing on the adaptive re-use and repurposing of excess corporate facilities and turn-of-the-century industrial buildings. Two major multifamily projects have continued to progress with The Nell in Dunellen achieving 100% lease up in eight months and Wonder Lofts in Hoboken nearing sell-out. In May, Prism broke ground on Hackensack Meridian Health Ambulatory Care Center, an 80,000-square-foot-facility on the ON3 campus – located on the former Hoffmann-La Roche site in Clifton/Nutley. Since acquiring the property in 2016, Prism has focused on transforming the 116-acre complex into a world-class, multi-tenant lifestyle hub integrating office and R&D, educational, recreational, retail, hospitality and wellness facilities. Occupants include Eisai, Quest Diagnostics, The Ralph Lauren Corp. and more. Earlier this year, the firm was recognized for the development, winning two industry-awards: CoStar’s 2023 Impact Award for Redevelopment of the Year and Commercial Property Executive’s Influence Award for Best Development: Mixed-Use. “These two honors are a testament to the quality and impact of ON3,” said Diaz in June. “This campus serves as a prime example of transformational land use and creative visioning in suburban redevelopment, and we look forward to continuing to help these municipalities strengthen their local economies and create an enduring legacy of success.”

Jose Cruz

As senior managing director and co-head of the New Jersey office for JLL Capital Markets, Cruz specializes in investment advisory across New Jersey, New York and Connecticut in addition to day-to-day oversight of the global commercial real estate company’s Garden State office. In recent months, JLL arranged the disposition of two warehouse properties in Piscataway—the $26.6 million sale of a 101,000-square-foot facility and the $21.2 million deal for a fully occupied multitenant property. The firm also handled the $18 million sale of the West Falls Plaza shopping center in Woodland Park. In addition, JLL said it closed the $115 million sale of the 440-unit Addison at Princeton Meadows, a garden-style multifamily community in the Princeton submarket. Across his more than 25-year career, Cruz has had a hand in more than $62 billion of office, industrial, retail, multifamily and land sales.

Morris Davis

Davis is the Paul V. Profeta Chair of Real Estate and the academic director of the Center for Real Estate Studies at the Rutgers Business School. In the spring, four undergraduate real estate students from Rutgers Business School won the top prize of $10,000 over three teams of MBA students in the University of Miami Real Estate Case Competition. The team – Kanika Chhibber, Aesha Mehta, Elisa Mills and Hemani Patel – was shortlisted for the final presentations against MBA students from the University of Miami, University of Chicago and Columbia University. Davis mentored the group, and marked the achievement. “The Center for Real Estate has graduated hundreds of students since its inception in 2015, and these four students are among our best,” he said. “Winning this competition is a significant achievement, and we are extremely proud of them.” Davis is widely published on issues related to U.S. housing – always a hot topic – and a media resource regularly interviewed by NPR Marketplace, Bloomberg Radio, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. At less than 10 years old, the center now enrolls hundreds of students with courses such as law, finance and capital markets full,, or nearly so on a consistent basis. Outside of Rutgers, Davis is an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and an independent director of the American Capital Agency Corp. Mortgage REIT.

Steven Denholtz and Stephen Cassidy

Denholtz and Cassidy lead Denholtz Properties as CEO and president, respectively. Denholtz relocated the 70-year-old firm to Red Bank in 2019 and since then he and Cassidy have overseen its growth locally as well as beyond state borders. In addition to its Monmouth County base, the vertically integrated commercial real estate investment and development company has a regional headquarters in Orlando and a portfolio including industrial, office and multifamily that spans Georgia, Tennessee, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Florida. In Red Bank, the firm has helped to attract businesses and residents since establishing itself there. Denholtz Properties’ fully leased, transit-oriented The Rail at Red Bank secured a final tenant for the its commercial component this fall. Along the Raritan Valley Line in Somerset County, Denholtz broke ground in May for The Rail at Bound Brook—located in a town, much like Red Bank, with old-school charm that is looking to harness momentum and make the most of its walkable downtown and accessibility. At the groundbreaking, Denholtz commented that the company was “excited to celebrate the first steps in writing the next chapter in Bound Brook’s impressive turnaround story,” a scenario echoing its hometown work. In the industrial space, Denholtz Properties was able to secure joint venture equity for the recap of a portfolio of 16 buildings across the Garden State and Pennsylvania over the summer. Even amid economic uncertainty, the company has maintained high occupancies at its sites: the more than 630,000-square-foot package was 99% leased.

David Gardner

In 2023, Larken Associates completed one of the most active development periods in the company’s history. Since 2020, the firm has added more than 1,000 residences to its portfolio. Even more impressive: five of them – representing about 800 units – were 100% leased before their builds were even done. At its helm as president and CEO, second-gen leader Gardner has built the small, family-owned real estate firm into a business with a portfolio of nearly 4 million commercial feet with 1,000 tenants across office, industrial, retail and mixed-use, as well as 2,500 owned and managed residential units across 19 communities—with 1,500 more residential units in the pipeline. The company has also adopted an entrepreneurial outlook when it comes to incorporating technology into its operations—more than keeping up with trends but instead leading them, most recently using AI to better serve and attract residents, as well as workers. “What we have found on the recruiting front is that people want to work for companies that are tech driven—and we are one of those companies,” Larken’s director of leasing, Jessica Heckman, explained to NJBIZ. “Us being in this space … puts us ahead of our competitors.” Gardner is focused on giving back, too. He leads Larken’s work with From Houses to Homes, a Guatemalan-based grassroots organization. He’s traveled to the county 12 times to help assist From Houses to Homes; in 2019, two Larken Associates teams made the trek to volunteer to construct homes; and in late 2022, the company resumed its volunteer trips, following a break due to the pandemic.

Tim Greiner

Greiner is executive managing director of JLL’s New Jersey office market brokerage group, leading and managing more than 50 office and retail leasing brokers – including retail leaders David Townes and Alana Friedman, who moved over from Cushman & Wakefield earlier this year – as well as providing corporate representation for acquisitions and dispositions. Over the past four years, Greiner and his team have helped procure more than $500 million in tax credits under the Grow NJ incentive program. According to JLL, the team averages 115 transactions a year for major players in the market. Over the summer, Greiner’s team was tapped to lease Onyx Equities’ 46-acre, 11-building Summit East campus. His client representation also includes serving as national transaction manager for Novartis and in that role as well as account lead for Panasonic Corp. of North America. Greiner’s work has been recognized with two NAIOP Deal of the Year Awards, a Corenet Deal of the Year Award for economic development leadership, and a 2022 NJBIZ Leaders in Real Estate, Construction and Design Award. For the latter recognition, Greiner detailed his proudest professional accomplishment from the past three years, another Onyx endeavor – the transformation of Gateway Center in Newark. In a tumultuous office market, Greiner leads with insights into how the workplace is evolving with success. “As a huge proponent of Newark, it is great to see our occupier clients consider New Jersey’s Gateway Center as a place to re-energize their workforce and get them back to the office,” he recounted. “Our leasing team … have executed over 30 lease transactions with Gateway Center now getting some of the highest rents in the state of New Jersey.”

Matthew Harding

In his role as chief executive officer of Levin Management Corp., Harding has helped the North Plainfield-based 70-year-old commercial real estate firm build a diversified, re-tail-focused leasing and management portfolio that includes 125 properties totaling 16 million square feet in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Harding has been affiliated with Levin since 1986, joined the firm’s in-house team in 1996 and took the helm as CEO four years ago, spearheading a significant, sustained expansion for the company. After completing a record 1.2 million square feet in leasing activity in 2021, Levin kept the momentum going last year, closing more than 1.4 million square feet in new leases, renewals and extensions, and license agreements. Commenting on LMC’s strongest-ever leasing performance portfolio-wide, Harding credited “industry momentum,” as well as the firm’s “talented leasing team,” and said he expects the strong performance to continue as retailers remain focused on responding to shifting consumer priorities and expectations. Leasing activity over the past year shows continued expansion among national brands and franchisees – like discount retail, fast-casual eateries, fitness concepts, entertainment centers, pharmacies and home furnishing stores – along with momentum among independent retailers. To support LMC’s business growth, the firm has also focused on building its internal resources, including several strategic promotions and new hires within its executive leadership, leasing and corporate administration teams, as well as recognizing employees for accomplishments with multiple company-wide and individual accolades throughout the year. In addition, Harding sits on Levin’s board of directors, serves as a director of Provident Financial Services Inc. and Provident Bank, and is a member of the board of trustees of Gill St. Bernard’s School. Known for his expertise in the areas of property repositioning and renovation, Harding also regularly shares insight on emerging industry trends, challenges and best practices with media outlets.

Jesse Harty

In the spring, Harty left his role as senior vice president and market office for New Jersey and New York at Prologis to join CBRE. In his prior post, he played a key part in helping the industrial real estate giant expand in the in-demand region to its current 240 buildings and 52 million square feet, which serve approximately 450 customers. That success and experience will factor well in his new position as head of the logistics operator division for CBRE Investment Management’s Americas Direct Real Estate Division. Now, Harty is responsible for overseeing the logistics transactions and asset management groups, 19 team members that comprise approximately $9.4 billion in assets under management, as of Dec. 31, 2022, according to CBRE. “Jesse’s strong, consistent track record in developing, executing and managing the growth of industrial portfolios in some of the top U.S. logistics markets will be invaluable as we continue to expand our investment footprint within this sector,” President of the Americas Real Estate Division Robert Perry said when the hiring announcement was made. Harty is also active in the local professional community, and currently serves as vice president for membership & communications with NAIOP New Jersey. In 2022, he was recognized with the Pillar Award by that organization during its annual President’s Awards & Hall of Fame ceremony.

Jeff Heller

Heller is a principal and executive director at Avison Young. When the Toronto-based commercial real estate brokerage opened its first New Jersey office in Morristown over a decade ago, the firm brought on Heller as managing director to help expand its presence in the tri-state area. Under his leadership, the branch set its sights on continued growth, aggressively building its project management division via hiring and acquisitions. Earlier this year, Heller turned the reins over to Eric Stone. At the time, Heller said he was “de-lighted to pass the torch to Eric, whose proven leadership experience will further advance Avison Young’s growth trajectory in New Jersey.” As a 35-year-commercial real estate veteran, Heller has acted as an advisor and agent to a wide variety of corporations, investors and owners throughout the world, consummating hundreds of thousands of trans-actions with a net aggregate value in excess of several billion dollars.

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