Page 21 - RE-NJ March 2022
P. 21

    asset to Clarion Partners.
Notably, Prism stabilized Parkway Lofts with rents at $2.73 per square foot, well above the $2 that appraisers projected for the building, Diaz said.
That strategy continued in West Orange, the site of a well-chronicled project in which Prism restored, converted and expanded a former Thomas Edison factory complex, creating 334 luxury apartments at
the edge of the downtown. The plan also dates back to around 2005,
when Diaz and Cohen met with the township’s then-mayor about the long- vacant site, but was similarly slowed by the housing crash, the need for labor-intensive historic preservation measures and litigation by a contingent of local residents.
Today, Edison Lofts is 99 percent leased, as Prism enjoys a similar response to a third adaptive reuse project. The firm in 2018 joined as a partner in the conversion of Hoboken’s historic Wonder Bread factory on Clinton Street, alongside Angelo Gordon and Parkwood Development Corp., having been recruited by
the latter due to its experience in
Bloomfield and West Orange. With construction nearly complete, Wonder Lofts through late February had sold 53 of the 83 condos slated for the 112-year- old structure.
All the while, Prism has targeted suburban, downtown and transit- oriented locations to help feed its residential
pipeline. Bob
Fourniadis, the
firm’s senior vice
president for
residential, has
led that effort,
resulting in
projects such as a
232-unit, ground-
up complex in Woodbridge known as Avenue & Green, where it was more than 80 percent leased through late February.
The building shares a common thread with Prism’s adaptive reuse projects, Diaz said, noting that “we like locations that have good solid demand drivers and labor employment growth.” The same is true for Dunellen, where
it’s building 252 apartments, and in the Millington section of Long Hill
Township, the site of a fully approved plan to build 140 rental townhomes. Both locations are also directly across from NJ Transit stations.
That’s not to say that the team is rushing to buy sites. Cohen noted
that the firm is especially strict in its underwriting and is loath to overpay for a development parcel, especially in a time when property is scarce and the cost of acquisition has skyrocketed.
“It has to make sense for us to want to have something,” Cohen said. Being diversified and experienced with commercial assets also enables Prism to be deliberate when selecting sites, with Fourniadis adding that “you don’t want to go crazy buying land at the top of the market.”
Undoubtedly, Prism is also playing
the long game when it comes to
ON3, its flagship project, where it has repopulated the iconic 116-acre former Hoffmann-LaRoche campus in Nutley and Clifton with a host of health care, life sciences and office users, with retail and hotel components still to come. The firm at one point proposed building hundreds of residential units as part of a plan to create a densified,
holistic destination, but those plans are uncertain amid a recent dispute with Nutley township officials over traffic concerns and the site’s undeveloped portions.
Prism declined to discuss the prospect of residential development at ON3, but the firm has proven it can navigate local opposition and government hurdles. It has successfully done so
in West Orange and in Bloomfield, where the pandemic has stalled key state environmental permits needed to build 168 for-sale townhomes alongside Parkway Lofts, despite securing final site plan approval for the project three years ago.
The firm has also bided its time in Long Hill, where it is redeveloping the longtime site of a 150,000-square- foot warehouse that it managed and maintained while it secured local approvals.
“Here you have a building that was 70 percent occupied when we bought it, it’s throwing off rent, so we can just sit with and have it carry itself while we get creative with it,” Fourniadis said. “And that’s exactly how we’re building it and how we got the zoning.” RE
 Bob Fourniadis
        lenders capital REALTY SERVICES
(917) 208-3300

   19   20   21   22   23