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Power 50 (No. 10-6)

- Last modified: December 5, 2017 at 11:20 AM
#10. Sam Morreale (#17)
#10. Sam Morreale (#17)
Vision Real Estate Partners
Founder and managing member

Where people like Ralph Zucker can be seen as having success repositioning one project at a time, albeit, one of the largest office buildings in the state, the success of Sam Morreale and Vision Real Estate Partners, where he is founder and managing member, is in repositioning a steady number of office parks over many years. “They’ve pulled off some impressive deals that they acquired over the last couple of years,” an insider said. In recent years, Morreale and his team completed the sale of the last 14 acres of a joint venture with Rubenstein Partners, the 194-acre Alcatel-Lucent campus in Hanover, to Salus Government Properties, and secured Bayer Healthcare and Metlife Investments to develop almost 900,000 square feet of built-to-suit space. With the help of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Vision and Rubenstein have begun to see success at the Crossings at Jefferson Park in Whippany, where the joint venture partners completed the sale of more than 500,000 square feet to Barclays Investments. “I think Sam believes that if you reposition the right office asset and put in the right amenities… suburban offices can still survive,” another insider said. “I don’t necessarily think everyone agrees with Sam, but I think he is correct.” “He does the deal you don’t hear about. He is successful and continues to do deals and he will be here [for a long time] to come,” the insider said. And with the recent acquisition of the Warren Corporate Center, the joint venture under the leadership of Morreale, shows no signs of slowing down. “They are entrepreneurial in their spirit and nature and they were not satisfied with the same availability rate, or seeing the same rental rate,” another insider said. “They realized that something bold had to be done. Their philosophy was ‘Let’s not go with what we think is right, what’s the demand?’”
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Vision Real Estate Partners
Founder and managing member

Where people like Ralph Zucker can be seen as having success repositioning one project at a time, albeit, one of the largest office buildings in the state, the success of Sam Morreale and Vision Real Estate Partners, where he is founder and managing member, is in repositioning a steady number of office parks over many years. “They’ve pulled off some impressive deals that they acquired over the last couple of years,” an insider said. In recent years, Morreale and his team completed the sale of the last 14 acres of a joint venture with Rubenstein Partners, the 194-acre Alcatel-Lucent campus in Hanover, to Salus Government Properties, and secured Bayer Healthcare and Metlife Investments to develop almost 900,000 square feet of built-to-suit space. With the help of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Vision and Rubenstein have begun to see success at the Crossings at Jefferson Park in Whippany, where the joint venture partners completed the sale of more than 500,000 square feet to Barclays Investments. “I think Sam believes that if you reposition the right office asset and put in the right amenities… suburban offices can still survive,” another insider said. “I don’t necessarily think everyone agrees with Sam, but I think he is correct.” “He does the deal you don’t hear about. He is successful and continues to do deals and he will be here [for a long time] to come,” the insider said. And with the recent acquisition of the Warren Corporate Center, the joint venture under the leadership of Morreale, shows no signs of slowing down. “They are entrepreneurial in their spirit and nature and they were not satisfied with the same availability rate, or seeing the same rental rate,” another insider said. “They realized that something bold had to be done. Their philosophy was ‘Let’s not go with what we think is right, what’s the demand?’”
Somerset Development
President

Ralph Zucker, president of Somerset Development, makes the top of this year's list for two characteristics: vision and guts. While Bell Works in Holmdel has plenty of work left to prove it has been a definite success, Somerset Development is on its way to creating a case study of the repositioning of a white elephant. “The Bell Labs deal is transformational,” a former joint venture partner said. “It's his vision and he gets full credit for it. He negotiated beautifully with the seller. That deal and the leases it signed make it a very cool project.” Zucker was also commended for his development of the train station and surrounding area in Wood-Ridge by an insider. And in having taken two very different sites, Zucker has managed to prove he is able to succeed where others would be apprehensive to even venture. “Everybody laughed when Zucker took the site in Wood-Ridge,” an insider said. “Today, 15 years later, Ralph delivered on his promise to the town to build a train station out of his pocket. He cleaned the site, he started subdividing the land and selling parts. It is a phenomenal success story. He bought the Bell Labs site. He had a dream. Half of it is now leased. That is incredible. He has leased half of an Empire State Building. “He is without question a classic urban and suburban redeveloper.”
The Hampshire Companies
CEO and president

It is Jimmy Hanson’s ability to lead one of the biggest development firms in the state, and to continue to build upon his father’s work, that keeps him at the top of the Real Estate Power 50. “What’s great about Jimmy is he’s able to switch gears with the market and he’s nimble,” an insider said. “And that’s what is going to make Hampshire continue its run for another 20 years. The transition from Jon to Jimmy has gone smoothly because he’s flexible.” Hanson is chief executive officer and president of The Hampshire Companies. His leadership locally and abroad has attracted foreign investment. Hanson’s role as the co-chair of the board of advisors at the Center of Real Estate at Rutgers has helped the center to make significant strides in membership this year. “He’s very well-respected and he’s a very thoughtful guy,” an insider said. While Jon Hanson has an inherent presence at The Hampshire Companies, it is Jimmy Hanson who, according to industry leaders, has been able to take The Hampshire Companies to the next level. “This is 30 years of Jimmy having a vision to take what his father created and taking it to a higher and higher level,” an expert said. “The combination of the two of them is why Hampshire is what Hampshire is. They’re both brilliant. (Jon) knows how to make things happen. They’re both extremely hard working and very smart. Jimmy is thinking about the money and the deals, but they are working towards the same goal.”
Bridge Development Partners
Principal

Jeff Milanaik, principal at Bridge Development Partners, has been touted the leader of industrial development by some competitors in the year of industrial. And that might be as good as it gets. Bridge Development’s record-sale earlier this year of 4.2 million square feet to Duke Realty, a Midwestern REIT, included most of its portfolio of projects in various stages of development in Northern and Central New Jersey. But the firm’s development presence in the state is only expected to increase. “You’re talking about such a massive creation of profit in a very small period of time,” an industrial expert said. “And what is so amazing about it is the record pricing on [Bridge’s] buildings that are in various stages of development. And they’re not stopping.” Bridge Development has so much property in the pipeline right now, the expert said. “And they didn’t stop for one moment. Jeff, in Jersey, is the face of the company. This is his year.”
Russo Development
CEO

Russo Development president and chief operating officer Ed Russo is regarded by his peers as a top developer in all of the asset classes in which he and his firm are involved. Whether data centers, industrial, multifamily or mixed-use, Russo is known to deliver high-quality projects throughout Northern New Jersey. “The heritage of the firm was one of the early Meadowlands of super high-end industrial,” an insider said. “Their name is synonymous with quality and industrial and data centers.” But Russo has carved his own path, too. While his family was known to have developed industrial, he and his firm are working to deliver 3,000 units in Harrison, Union, Garfield and Kearny. “He's done an incredible job at getting his name out there, he's a very prominent developer,” one of his competitors in multifamily development said. “He is getting business done, he's getting a return for his friends and family and he is happy to keep doing that. And he's in his 40's.” Russo has also been selected to develop the 718-acre EndCap site with Forsgate Industrial Partners in the Meadowlands. And while they are years away from breaking ground, and even longer in delivering the first building, the site will only become more and more valuable as the industrial market continues to tighten in the region.

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