Page 20 - RE-NJ March 2022
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18 MARCH 2022
 Prism Capital Partners knew the building well, as did hundreds of thousands of daily motorists
who passed the massive, six-story warehouse just north of Garden State Parkway Exit 147.
But it was no less unexpected when, more than 15 years ago, a broker called to gauge the firm’s interest in buying the million-square-foot property.
“I had called the number on that sign once a year for 10 years and no one
“We knew exactly what we he
was referring to. It was the only million-square-foot complex on the Garden State Parkway for industrial, considering you can’t drive trucks on the Parkway. What we didn’t know when we said we’d buy it was how good a conversion candidate the building would be.”
Prism’s Ed Cohen added: “It was outstanding — all of the right proportions, which you can’t tell from the outside — but as soon as we walked into it, we said, ‘This is unbelievable.’ ”
By 2013, the historic former General Electric Co. building was home to 361 luxury rentals, marking Prism’s first completed multifamily project and
the launch of a portfolio that’s since added nearly 1,000 units. Its growth
in the asset class has been creative, methodical and resourceful. Look no further than the acclaimed project now
known as Parkway Lofts and other industrial-to-residential conversions
in West Orange and Hoboken, which the firm has balanced with a growing pipeline of ground-up, midrise buildings in towns such as Woodbridge and Dunellen, which boast strong demographics and transit-served downtowns despite being lesser-known locations.
Prism also has roughly 650 units under construction
or set to break
ground in 2022,
with transactions
in the works
that could yield
another 1,000
units, under a
long-held plan to
expand beyond
traditional commercial buildings.
“Multifamily assets are more enduring,” said Diaz, who leads Prism alongside
Cohen, also a principal partner. “Once they get rented, they basically stay rented unless you’re an absolute buffoon in terms of how you manage your property. So since we were an incredibly management-oriented organization and we really care about the assets, part of the move into multifamily for us was also a longevity issue. We wanted to hold onto some assets longer-term. We knew that these are the types of properties that enable you to do it.”
Founded in 2002, Prism focused initially on assets such as 399 Jefferson Road, a 178,000-square-foot office building in Parsippany that it has renovated, sold and reacquired over two decades as part of a value-add strategy. The firm also repositioned several other commercial buildings
in its early years, while it plotted its entrance to the multifamily space.
“If you went to other markets and looked at their multifamily product, they were a much
Historic buildings, untapped downtowns driving growth of Prism residential platform
By Joshua Burd
 would ever call you back,” said Gene Diaz, a principal partner with Prism, which viewed the Bloomfield property as an option for the type of upscale,
Ed Cohen
 Gene Diaz
loft-style apartments that it was seeking to build.
 Avenue & Green, a 232-unit apartment building in Woodbridge, is the latest addition to Prism Capital Partners’ luxury residential portfolio. The firm has delivered nearly 1,000 multifamily units since 2013, building its platform with a creative, methodical and resourceful approach to development.
higher quality than what had here in New Jersey,” Diaz said, adding: “We figured we could increase quality on the margin without spending a lot of money and therefore drive rents — and part of our theory and process is that people will pay more for unique spaces.”
It was in 2005 that Prism bought the 14.5-acre site of what would become Parkway Lofts, leading
to three or four years of planning and entitlements before it had to pause
for the Great Recession, the principals said. But it completed the adaptive reuse project in fall 2013, unveiling 361 apartments, upscale amenities and a 377-space parking garage before ultimately selling the
Courtesy: Prism

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