Anthony Coscia, a partner with Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf LLP and chairman of Amtrak, led NAIOP New Jersey’s 35th annual Commercial Real Estate Awards Gala by receiving the group’s Industry Service Award.
By Joshua Burd
For every developer, lawyer, engineer or mayor honored at NAIOP New Jersey’s annual gala on Thursday, each was quick to pay homage to the very organization presenting the award.
Tony Coscia was among the first to do so, less than a minute into his acceptance speech.
“NAIOP has always been something that’s important to me because it not only represents leaders in the real estate industry,” said Coscia, a partner with Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf LLP and chairman of Amtrak. “But, as I’ve made a history of working on various things around the state, it’s always been NAIOP members who have been involved in the critical issues, things that are challenges that we have to work through, and it’s the membership of this organization that have always been there with governors and senators and business leaders trying to find those solutions. And that’s a credit to all of you for having created such a phenomenal organization.”
It was a theme that continued long after the highly regarded attorney, business leader and public servant accepted the group’s Industry Service Award, in an event that celebrated New Jersey’s commercial real estate sector and the association that guides it. They did so as part of NAIOP New Jersey’s 35th annual Commercial Real Estate Awards Gala, which drew a registered crowd of more than 800 to The Palace at Somerset Park in Franklin Township.
Those on hand included many of the state’s leading developers, owners and service professionals, as the chapter recognized five individuals and companies while unveiling its Deal of the Year awards in three categories, plus a special Judges’ Transformation Award.
“Our honorees truly represent the best of real estate and economic development,” said NAIOP New Jersey Chapter President Gus Milano, the president and chief operating officer of Hartz Mountain Industries. “They’re inspired by a commitment to excellence in transforming New Jersey communities, and all of them will have a lasting, positive impact on our state and our industry.”
Thursday’s Deal of the Year winners included:
- Office: Party City’s headquarters lease in Woodcliff Lake and the team of Party City, Cushman & Wakefield, Savills Studley, CBRE and Gensler, which guided the retailer’s 208,911-square-foot lease at 100 Tice Blvd. and a seven-year, $10 million tax credit under the state’s new Emerge program.
- Industrial: Target at Logan North, Logan Township and the team of Greek Development, Advance Realty Investors and CBRE for a successful 1.7-million-square-foot lease to Target Corp. in Logan, which gave way to a record-breaking, $265 million sale of the property to Torchlight Investors of New York.
- Mixed-use: The HalRay portfolio in Newark and the team of Hanini Group, Shift Capital, Colnvestment Partners, Murphy Schiller & Wilkes LLP and JLL Capital Markets, which were involved the sale of a three-building portfolio totaling some 800,000 square feet of office and retail space with a 901-space parking deck. The sponsors have planned around $40 million of capital improvements with the focus of social and economic impact in mind.
- Judges’ Transformation Award: The Jack and Sheryl Morris Cancer Center in New Brunswick, a partnership among RWJBarnabas Health, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Middlesex County and New Brunswick Development Corp., which are building the state’s first freestanding cancer hospital and associated facilities under a $750 million project.
Chapter leaders unveiled the awards after honoring five of the state’s leading professionals and organizations:
- Charles Klatskin Lifetime Achievement Award: Gene Preston, formerly of Dermody Properties
- Impact Award: David T. Gockel, CEO and president of Langan
- Impact Award: Onyx Equities, co-founded and led by John Saraceno Jr. and Jonathan Schultz
- Industry Service Award: Anthony Coscia, partner with Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf LLP
- Caren S. Franzini Public Partner Award: Linden Mayor Derek Armstead
Like Coscia, each honoree thanked a long list of associates, supporters and others involved in his individual success. But they also cited the importance of NAIOP New Jersey and the collective interest that it represents.
“Real estate is the glue that bonds us all together here in this room today,” Gockel said. “Equally important are the friendships and relationships we make along the way. If it weren’t for real estate developers, Langan may never have started its business in 1970 when a young entrepreneur named Bernie Langan set out to open his own business.
“A dozen years later, when I joined Bernie in 1982, we had 36 people in Saddle Brook and an office in Miami. Largely due to the loyalty of the real estate development community, many of whom are here in this room tonight, the company of 36 has grown enormously … to over 1,500 professionals and offices throughout the country.”