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NJBIZ unveils Real Estate Power 50

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#50. Douglas Wolfson (NR)
#50. Douglas Wolfson (NR)
New Jersey Superior Court, Judge
He’s No. 50. But some say he’s No. 1, considering the affordable housing issue that is in the courts. His rulings, some say, can impact the housing business for a generation. Here’s one insider’s take on the Superior Court judge: “There are 15 judges handling affordable housing issues; there is one judge handling point: Doug Wolfson. He understands land use law.” That’s why he is so important. Not everyone is knowledgable on such an important and complicated issue, one that has spent years in the courts and figures to continue to do so. “Everyone’s citing Wolfson’s decisions,” the insider went on. “And I can tell you there are four or five judges in chambers who are saying, ‘I’m not doing anything until Doug decides, and whatever Doug decides, we’re going to do.’ He’s the judge. Period.”
New Jersey Superior Court, Judge
He’s No. 50. But some say he’s No. 1, considering the affordable housing issue that is in the courts. His rulings, some say, can impact the housing business for a generation. Here’s one insider’s take on the Superior Court judge: “There are 15 judges handling affordable housing issues; there is one judge handling point: Doug Wolfson. He understands land use law.” That’s why he is so important. Not everyone is knowledgable on such an important and complicated issue, one that has spent years in the courts and figures to continue to do so. “Everyone’s citing Wolfson’s decisions,” the insider went on. “And I can tell you there are four or five judges in chambers who are saying, ‘I’m not doing anything until Doug decides, and whatever Doug decides, we’re going to do.’ He’s the judge. Period.”
G.S. Wilcox & Co., CEO and President
The founder of G.S. Wilcox & Co. has fans are everywhere. “She is every bit as active as a mortgage banker and mortgage broker as others,” said one observer. “All over the country, but obviously heavy in this part.”
NAIOP New Jersey, CEO
“He’s clearly the No. 1 lobbyist in this spectrum,” one insider said. And that’s good, said another. “NAIOP is really important. Think about how many people are there. He’s strong. I called him once and he didn’t agree with me, but he helped, because it’s his job. He’s a leader. Could you imagine dealing with the egos he has to deal with every day? Can you imagine? That’s his job.”
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, Vice Chairman and COO
He leads Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s New Jersey offices, but he continues to show his knack for the high-profile deal. The industry veteran represented Lowenstein Sandler in its new 170,000-square-foot lease in Roseland.
Cushman & Wakefield, Vice Chairman
The powerhouse at Cushman & Wakefield is a must-have on the list, according to many of our sources. Simply put: “One of the most important brokers in the state of New Jersey.” In the world of investment sales, he is “a big-game hunter” who competes on everything out there. See two major deals this year from his team: the $80 million sale of three Class A office buildings totaling 410,000 square feet in Morris County, plus the $61 million disposition of an eight-building, 1.2 million-square-foot, fully occupied industrial portfolio in Piscataway. There’s no sign that Merin is ready to slow down anytime soon.
Investors Bank, Senior Vice President
“He’s the face of Investors, which I think is the most active bank,” one insider said of the senior vice president. The former head of the builders association continues to score well as part of Investors’ three-man power-player set up, along with Chief Lending Officer Rich Spengler and CEO Kevin Cummings. The bank is one of most prolific in loans to the industry, but Touhey’s impact goes deeper than that. “Touhey is still the most knowledgeable guy out there. I think Tim is the guy for Investors more than the other two in this area. Tim plays politics. He speaks to gubernatorial aspirants; they want to hear what Tim has to say. That’s power.”
N.J. Apartment Association, Executive Director
“He is carrying the flag for a whole industry,” said one insider. “Dave is going to take the apartment association in a whole new direction because he gets the industry. There’s no substitute for time served.” That’s been evident since Brogan took over last year. “He’s having tremendous impact already.”
N.J. Builders Association, CEO
“She is the Builders,” one insider said. “She’s in the room. She’s very knowledgeable about integral things. The (NJBA) is being revitalized under her.” Another source: “Carol (is) stepping into the middle of it and mixing it up. She’s a lawyer and a lobbyist, and she’s breaking a big barrier there.”
Matrix Development Group, CEO and President
“A very smart guy,” one industry veteran said of the CEO and president of Matrix Development Group, which continues to score big with industrial projects in the center of the state. Our insider praised the work and his slow but steady style.
Fidelco Group, Chairman
Nothing like a behind-the-scenes guy who almost everybody admires. Especially when they are versatile. “He’s never up front, but he is influential as hell,” one industry veteran said of the chairman of Fidelco Group.
KABR Group, Chairman
Not familiar with the chairman of KABR Group? You should be. “(He’s) doing a lot of deals that are very quiet in all asset classes,” one source said. “They have some multifamily, they’ve done some office. He’s a guy that most people don’t recognize. Others get a little more press, but he’s probably doing more deals than others.”
Forsgate Industrial Partners, General Partner
The Teterboro-based executive is part of a well-respected real estate family that has been in the game for decades, but at times under the radar. This year, though, Forsgate made quite a splash when it teamed with Russo Development to win the 718-acre Kingsland site in the Meadowlands.
Rockefeller Group, Senior Vice President
Many see the senior vice president of the Rockefeller Group taking a larger role in the firm’s plans in New Jersey. And they see it as well-deserved: “I think Clark’s a solid guy. On top of it, he’s a real human being,” said one industry colleague. And the firm has plenty in its pipeline after unveiling Goya Foods’ impressive new headquarters and the Summit Medical Group building in Florham Park earlier this year, including a 930,000-square-foot spec warehouse in Cranbury and a corporate suites project in Florham Park. Not to mention that he has taken over as New Jersey chapter president for NAIOP.
Tower Investments, CEO and President
Here’s one description (and perhaps a new title) for the Philadelphia-based builder: “You’ve got to say he’s the new guy for A.C.,” an insider said. The reason is simple: “He bought the Pier (at Caesars). He’s buying Showboat.” And making them work. “It’s doing fairly well for banquets and he’s got a whole bunch of restaurants in there,” one insider said. “He’s turning it around.” It’s an effort that figures to be rewarded. “Here’s a guy who stepped up. I guarantee Bart can get anything he wants in Atlantic City. He’s viewed as the savior. He’s the only one who wants to play there. He is the king right now to get things done in Atlantic City. If he said to the governor, ‘I need X,’ I’m sure the governor would say, ‘You got it.’ ”
JLL, Executive Managing Director
When it comes to New Jersey’s white-hot industrial sector, JLL is “the dominant force,” according to one industry veteran who has long been a fan of the work the firm does. Kossar is both an active broker in that space and the head of JLL’s New Jersey operations, where he leads a team of other top brokers in their own right. Insiders point to David Knee on the industrial side and Dan Loughlin on the office and life sciences side, who one observer called “the most active broker in the state.” All told, the firm has no shortage of high-profile assignments in New Jersey as it continues to grow its market share here.
Paul V. Profeta and Associates, President and Owner
How’s this description for a regular on the list? “He is incredibly more prominent than he’s given credit for,” one insider said. Yes, the West Orange-based real estate investor certainly has a long list of accomplishments to his name. “He has his incubator in Newark. He is funding small operations throughout the state,” one insider began. “He opened Profeta Farms. He owns buildings up and down the whole country. He is very influential at Rutgers. He’s out there.” And with little fanfare or help. No big staff here. “His organization is like five people. It’s amazing. He is a unique guy.”
Tucker Development Corp., CEO and President
The success of Tucker Development Corp. is evident. “Richard Tucker has had a good year,” one insider said. “He opened the ShopRite in Newark and he’s going to open up Hudson (Lights) next year.” He no doubt has had an impact in the state, especially in Newark, where he also built a Marriott near the Prudential Center. But here’s one question on everyone’s mind — and it’s been a question for years: How long will the Illinois-based developer do business in the Garden State? “I don’t know if he’ll do anything else in New Jersey,” is a thought echoed by several sources.
Bridge Development Partners, Principal
It’s all about numbers for the industry veteran who is leading Bridge’s efforts in New Jersey. “On the industrial side, Bridge is specking in New Jersey at about 6 million feet; that’s significant,” said one insider. “It’s at all various stages of development, but the first building is up. When you’re at the corner of 78 and the Parkway — that’s the first one. It’s 200,000 square feet. There are three tenants that all want to take the space.” The source also notes Bridge’s recent purchase of the sprawling ePort site in Perth Amboy, one of another half-dozen major sites that Milanaik has in the pipeline.
RBH Group, Founding Partner and CEO
He’s rolling along in Newark with Teachers Village and Four Corners, and now the AeroFarms project, which many are calling transformative for the city — if not simply amazing in its attempt to bring garden-grown food to Newark. “He’s successful in Newark,” one insider said. “(Mayor) Ras Baraka will do anything he wants.” The next move for the founding partner and CEO of RBH Group isn’t as clear, at least not if it’s in Jersey. “He wants to do in New York what he’s done in Newark,” said another insider. One thing is clear: He has choices, thanks to his reputation. “People are throwing money at him and he’s running with it.”
Vision Real Estate Partners, Founder and Managing Member
Morreale, a developer whose profile seems to rise every year, gets a lot of respect for his work ethic and drive. He worked two large developers early in his career and then spent 10 years with Goldman Sachs, and then … “He had the chutzpah to go out on his own and I give him credit for it. He’s self-made. We’re very competitive (in this industry), but he deserves the accolades.” It’s tough to argue when you snag MetLife Investments for a major build-to-suit office deal, following the success of the Bayer HealthCare project in Whippany. Said another: “Every third year he’s going to have a deal that gets written about, but then is quiet for two years.”
Advanced Realty, CEO and President
There’s the work he’s doing in Harrison, but bringing Nestlé to the old Sanofi site he’s redeveloping in Bridgewater was one of the biggest gets of the year for the well-respected head of Advanced Realty. And we hear more may be coming. It’s reason enough for Cocoziello’s jump. “He’s had a complete phoenix,” one insider said. “He’s a player again. Bridgewater is going to make him again.” Some feel he’s already a made man, so to speak. “He has a pristine reputation in the corporate world with the CEOs; they think he’s a country club guy,” the insider said. “And he’s been able to have that image for 20 years — that’s what gives him his power.”
Kushner Cos., CEO
The real estate scion has emerged as a player in New Jersey over the past two years, with splashy acquisitions such as Pier Village, the Monmouth Mall and a few large apartment complexes. One source points to his bold, risk-taking style as CEO of the Kushner Cos.: “Jared seems like he just sees this big opportunity and is racing toward it.” Said another: “People keep talking about him, because he’s buying like crazy. Jared’s running everything and they’re all over New Jersey.” And doing it all while keeping an eye on politics more than ever is the norm in the state of New Jersey. Of course, that’s what happens when you are married to Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.
Normandy Real Estate Properties, Founding Managing Principal
The industry giant, who was honored this year by NAIOP New Jersey, is a longtime regular on the list and continues to be a true power broker. He would likely be higher every year, but so much of his work is out of state. His firm is a force, nonetheless. “He’s a player at a very big regional level,” one insider said. “He’s got juice.” Said another simply: “He should be on the list because they have such a big portfolio.” Another source gave props to his longtime partner David Welsh, who is “nose to the grindstone, getting deals over the finish line.”
Canoe Brook Management LLC, Managing Member
His legacy in the industry has long been secured. But that doesn’t mean he’s not still consumed with the future. As co-chair of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate Studies along with Jimmy Hanson, the former Roseland partner is determined to make sure others get the same chance. He helped recruit an all-star cast of board members and potential teachers, but he’s most proud of the group the school is attracting — a multicultural mix the industry is lacking. And he still has plenty in his pipeline through his work with Canoe Brook Management.
HFF, Senior Managing Director
The response was simple and straightforward when asked about the senior managing director of HFF: “Jose Cruz is the most prolific multifamily broker today,” the insider said. Works for us. And the insider went on: “In multifamily, the hottest asset class, he is the hottest broker. So he stays on the list.” Cruz’s success is his volume, said another: “There’s no one deal or two deals that are transformative, he just gets it done.” It’s why his stock in the state with the old guard keeps rising. His recognition is clear. “He is absolutely now one of the most important brokers in the state of New Jersey,” one insider said. Hard to say it much better than that.
Boraie Development, President
A long overdue honor: “Boraie needs to be on your list,” said one insider of the president and patriarch of Boraie Development. “They are in New Brunswick, they are in Newark, they are in Atlantic City. They’re still locals. Omar is an old-school talented person.” One that knows, after four decades in the business, it’s a slow haul. “They’ve obviously had a nice track record in New Brunswick,” one insider said. The latest success: He opened The Aspire, a luxury high-rise, to rave reviews. And the company is forging ahead in Atlantic City and Newark. “He’s very good at getting others to support him,” another insider said. “They are tough as nails and get things done.”
The Hampshire Cos., CEO and President
Long recognized for smarts, style — and fundraising ability, the question always has been: When does he step out of the long shadow of his father? Many feel that has long since happened in his role as CEO and president. “He’s finally surfacing,” one insider said. “He’s been in the shadows, very private — and liking it that way for many years, but he’s going to be a powerful person of his generation. Clearly it’s his time.” His resume sure says so. “He’s on the state investment council. He’s been on the Palisades Interstate Park Commission for 20 years and he’s the co-chair of the Rutgers real estate school (advisory board). The passing of the torch is happening.”
Kushner Real Estate Group, President
Kushner Real Estate Group continues to garner praise for its work in the Journal Square section of Jersey City. And while his father, Murray, is still top of mind for many in the industry, they just as soon say Jonathan is leading the charge. “Murray really enjoys, I think, the amount of responsibility that Jonathan has taken over and how people in the industry really respect and admire Jonathan and enjoy working with him,” one source said. “Murray is a top-flight developer who has built quality projects and is not really a risk-taker. I think if you look at Jonathan and what he’s doing, he’s changing the paradigm, so he’s much more of a risk-taker and bolder in his thinking.”
Fair Share Housing Center, Executive Director
“He needs to move up big time,” one insider urged. “The affordable housing issue is war. Kevin Walsh is the guy. He beat Christie three times in a lawsuit,” they continued. “The Fair Share Housing Center is a party in every lawsuit in every town in the state. They can’t keep up. And every time Kevin writes a brief, all the judges have to read it. He is driving the builders to see what they should do. He’s educating them. He’s the key guy in the entire state in affordable housing, and affordable housing right now is the name of the game in the residential world, whether it’s for sale or for rent. It’s a story you are going to write about for years.”
Otteau Valuation Group Inc., President
It really doesn’t matter where Otteau goes on the list, because when it comes to his specialty — valuation — everyone knows the Otteau Valuation Group is No. 1. “Otteau is still the leading demographer consultant in the state,” one insider said. The skill not only brings him business, and plenty of it, but speaking engagements. Plenty of those, too. “When he speaks, people listen to him,” another source said. “He really does a great job in telling where the economy is. He talks about the rental market being the only market that makes sense, but instead of just saying that, he’ll give all the statistics to back it up. He’s great. He mesmerizes the room.”
Prologis, Senior Vice President
He’s a newcomer on the list — and someone almost all of our experts feel belongs. “Pete runs Prologis … They are the largest industrial owner … They’ve got 35 million square feet here,” one insider said. The company’s size, one source said, makes Crovo a no-brainer. “Clearly, Pete is a power broker,” the person said. “He’s as powerful as anyone. It’s very clear that this is his show. Pete clearly belongs on the list.” At least for now. While Prologis figures to make a splash in the state for years to come, some wonder how long Crovo will be calling the shots. At least in the Garden State. “I think he’s being groomed to escalate,” another source said.
Liberty Property Trust, CEO
Many people feel Liberty Property Trust, a Philadelphia-based REIT, will be a major player in Camden’s future following the announcement of its $1 billion waterfront mixed-use project in September. “It’s a game-changer,” said one insider. And it is for a number of reasons. First, the project. “I think they do quality work. I think they’re one of those entities that whatever they want to do, they can do, because they’ve got a fairly deep balance sheet and pretty deep talent. So I think if they put their minds to it, they can really make a move down there on the Camden waterfront.” And then there’s the impact on the neighborhood. “I think that can only be good for the city.”
Triple Five
“It’s not like they’re not working,” one insider said of the head of Triple Five, the family business that is running the American Dream Meadowlands project. “They’ve spent a couple hundred million dollars already. I guess my question would be: It’s one project. It’s a big project. It’s like building Disneyland in the middle of Florida. I don’t know if that has a major impact on the rest of Florida’s real estate on Day One.” Of course, the project has been the biggest in the industry since it was conceived years ago. Now it’s about getting to the finish line. And since Day One figures to be in 2017, they drop a bit this year. But with a solid crop of tenants already announced, this number figures to go up fast next year. - (Photo / THINKSTOCK)
Prism Capital Partners, Principal
It’s a nice step up in rankings for the face of the Bloomfield-based firm — a jump one insider said is well deserved after landing the Roche deal in Nutley/Clifton (trust us, he does). “Gene Diaz is having a great year — again — with the project in Clifton and everything else they’re doing,” our insider said. “Gene’s ability to go across asset types, particularly with the redevelopment, is very impressive.” Said another: “He certainly goes way up; he’s got a mammoth project” — one that another source calls “transformative.”
Garden Homes, Principal
The head of Garden Homes, one of the state’s top real estate companies, is back in familiar territory — running an empire so big no one is entirely sure of its extent. This seems clear: His most infamous lawsuit and the troubles with his hobby (he also owns the Minnesota Vikings) appear to be behind him. “His brother Mark is running the Vikings,” one insider said. “Zygi has stepped up again. He’ll always be on the list and always should be.” Another industry veteran said that Wilf, “apart from New Jersey, is one of the most significant players in the entirety of the United States. You could put him anywhere on the list and no one would complain.”
Hartz Mountain Industries, President and Chief Operating Officer
An industry favorite for years, Milano has earned rave reviews since taking over the day-to-day control of the company last December. “He runs that business,” one insider said. “I didn’t expect him to be as impactful a leader as he is today. … He’s a strong leader who makes quick, strong, impactful decisions. It’s very impressive.” Another source echoed the idea that Milano is the right man moving forward. “Hartz has to continue to recreate themselves,” the person said. “I don’t know what Hartz does for their next story, but Gus is the guy to lead them.”
Sills, Cummis & Gross, Member
Here’s an interesting comment about the co-chair of the real estate department of Sills, Cummis & Gross, a man who is known for being so vocal on all issues with real estate: “He quietly represents significant players in the real estate spectrum — it’s just not public, because the attorney doesn’t need to be out there,” the insider said. “Year after year, he’s a ‘Steady Eddie.’ ” Zangari’s influence is felt throughout the state. Not just as a speaker, but as an organizer. In the end, though, business is business. And he’s one of the best when it comes to real estate. “His practice of law is making the deal on the handshake. I think he’s really far up there,” said another source.
Somerset Development, President
The leader in so-called new urbanism scores well in the cool category. “Obviously, Holmdel is really exciting, really cool,” said one insider of the Bell Works project. “But Holmdel is a big project. A lot of risk. A lot of money he’s spending every month. He’s planning restaurants and a spa, and some really cool things to be in a mixed-use office environment that will be unique throughout the state. If he delivers, you’ll move him up. But it’s a promise right now.” It’s also one of many Zucker has: “I can tell you — it’s not public — that he has a few more deals.”
Ironstate Development Co., President
The work he does with Hoboken-based Ironstate, a family business he runs with his brother Michael, is indisputable: “I think he’s terrific on the residential side,” one source said. “If you look at what’s going on in Hudson County, the number of units that these guys have in production is staggering.” The location is the only issue. “Except for Hoboken and Jersey City, they are in New York City. They are (no longer) New Jersey-centric.” Of course, they do have this with their new project, URL Harborside, which is not your traditional building. “In Jersey City, he’s doing the coolest thing that’s being built,” one admirer said.
Interstate Properties, General Partner
The head of Interstate Properties is a regular on this list. And he regularly places somewhere in the teens. But when real estate power players need backing, he's always No. 1 on the list. “He's not the power guy; he's the guy behind a lot of people,” one insider said. “People go to him; this gets to the definition of power.” Here's another description: “Besides all the things that you see they are on, they are the private money behind almost every project that gets done. They are always in the background. And when you are looking for power brokers, the guys in the background are usually the ones with the checkbook.”
New Jersey Economic Development Authority, CEO/President and Chief Operating Officer
It’s easy to talk about all the changes. The EDA drops from No. 1 to No. 10 — and Melissa Orsen has stepped in to replace Michele Brown. But when you talk about the EDA, insiders always go back to the one constant: Tim Lizura. “Tim’s everywhere. He is the guy. He is so talented,” insiders gushed. But for how long. The idea of change was on the mind of many. “They have an unlimited bank book and Christie supports them,” one insider said. “The next Democratic governor likely will not empower them the way this one has.” Whether Orsen and Lizura will be around for the next governor also was raised — especially in the case of Lizura. “I’m afraid we’re going to lose him one day,” another insider said. “Why should he stay in government? He’s done his time. He’s been doing this for over a decade.” Our insider feels Lizura would be highly coveted in the private sector when he finally chooses to go. “It’s great to do public service and if he does it for life, it’s going to be wonderful,” they said. “But one day, they’re going to lose him.”
Windels, Marx, Lane & Mittendorf, General Partner
The praise was universal with Coscia: “When you want to get something done: Turnpike Authority, Port Authority — when you want to get something done within the state, you go to Tony,” one insider said. The reason, our insider said, was easy to pinpoint. “I think he’s respected on both sides of the aisle,” the person said. “There is something sustaining in that. “You don’t get any more conservative Republican than the Hanson family and on a big recent project, they hired Tony Coscia,” the insider continued. “That tells you everything you need to know.” That ability may soon be needed, said another. “There is going to be a solution to the tunnel project into New York City,” the source said. Coscia is the one to make it happen, many feel. “He is the intelligent guy in the room to get this done,” one insider said. “He’s been doing this transit stuff for 20 years. He’s the guy. You’re talking about the biggest infrastructure project in the history of the United States, 20 billion bucks, and he’s going to be the key guy on it.”
Mack-Cali Realty Corp., CEO/ President and Chief Operating Officer
No one is quite sure who the face of Mack-Cali is going to be — and there's no reason both Rudin (aka “new Mitch”) and DeMarco can't share the role. One thing is certain: Mack-Cali is going to be a player. “They're going to be very, very active,” one source said. “They're going to be disposing of hundreds of millions of dollars of real estate, they're going to be buying real estate, they're going to be repositioning real estate — so they're going to be players. “Whether they succeed or not is yet to be seen.” That is the goal. And as the state's biggest REIT, it's not an easy one. Mack-Cali needs to be measured in its approach, said another longtime follower of the company. “Clearly, the direction of the company is going to change and they're going to do it methodically,” the insider said. “But they are not going to tell us how they are doing it because they are a public company and everyone is looking at them, so they just can't raise their hand and say, “We're going to sell all of these properties.'”
SJP Properties, Founder, Chairman and CEO
He’s an annual Top Ten pick who is a former No. 1. And he’d be high on anyone’s all-time list: “He could call it quits right now and be a legacy forever in our industry,” one insider said. It’s a legacy that’s still growing in the state. He opened the new Prudential Financial skyscraper in Newark earlier this year to rave reviews. So where do you place him on the list this year? Some said … New York City. “I don’t know that he’s coming out of the ground with anything here,” said another insider. Not that he’s going away. He’s still working on a stunning residential project in Fort Lee and is active in Bridgewater with Valeant, while remaining a huge contributor to the real estate school at Monmouth University. And many feel it’s just a matter of time before he strikes again here. “No one should expect him to do something next year,” another admirer said. “Next decade? Yes. But having said that, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out there is something on his drawing board.” - (Photo / AARON HOUSTON)
Woodmont Properties, CEO
You won't see him associated with the grandest deals — but those in the industry know they can find him just about anywhere else. “The beauty of Eric is he can do non-multifamily. He has his industrial arm,” one insider said. “He's one of the guys who is not doing the Camden, the Holmdel-type deals, but he's doing two deals a year, getting them approved and building them. “Eric is trying to get his company to reach the next level of expertise and expectation.” Our insiders feel he's doing just that. In the past year, he has broken ground in Metuchen after opening other projects in Hanover and Cranford. And he's doing it with variety. Woodmont Properties plays in many sectors. “Not only does he have his whole industrial group, which is relatively new and successful, not only does he have his whole office group, they have a huge residential business,” one insider said. And, with Edgewood, a country club, too. It's his first Top-Ten ranking.

Russo Development, CEO
He is both widely admired and widely respected — now more than ever as he continues to grow his company's portfolio. Insiders point to Russo's steady pace of projects in the red-hot multifamily sector and a major score in the industrial space earlier this year, when his firm and Forsgate Industrial Partners won the 718-acre Kingsland site in Lyndhurst. And many feel the best is yet to come for the second-generation developer.
AvalonBay Communities Inc., Senior Vice President
As if getting land use approvals in New Jersey wasn't enough of a headache, Ron Ladell was given the ultimate test this year with the fire at AvalonBay's Edgewater property. But many observers say he met the challenge head-on and came out stronger than ever. Barely a month after the blaze, the company announced that it would bolster fire safety measures in two upcoming projects. Many insiders weren't surprised at how he navigated this latest landmine.
The Hampshire Cos., Founder and Chairman
His son, Jimmy, has long since taken the reins at Hampshire, but Hanson still has more than enough to keep his hands full with two of the most challenging economic development projects in the state. He is still Gov. Chris Christie’s point man for Atlantic City — however daunting a task that might be — and he is chipping away in bringing the American Dream Meadowlands project ever closer to the finish line. With another two years left of the Christie administration, Hanson still has a major role to play.
New Brunswick Development Corp., President
His work in New Brunswick speaks for itself, and he has all but mastered the art of urban renewal by integrating business, higher education and health care. Now for one of the heaviest lifts in economic development: trying to replicate that success in Atlantic City. Whether the resort town can be turned around remains to be seen, but state officials and observers feel Paladino and his team are ready for the challenge.
Conner Strong & Buckelew, Executive Chairman
Camden might be a city with a troubled past — in a part of the state that sometimes gets overlooked — but that has never stopped George Norcross. This year has been no exception. In fact, 2015 was a banner year for the state incentives that are filling the city’s development pipeline and could help fuel its economic revival. And insiders say the South Jersey power broker, as he always seems to do, played a major role in making it all happen.


From Newark to Camden and everywhere in between, New Jersey's real estate industry is a powerful part of the state's economy. And in this prominent industry, there are some names that rise to the top when it comes to power. Here they are: NJBIZ's Power 50 most influential people in the real estate industry.

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