The improvements at Glenpointe, Alfred Sanzari Enterprises’ flagship commercial campus in Teaneck, include upgraded landscaping in the courtyard between the two office buildings, a space it calls the Green, as well as better lighting, plantings and seating in the common spaces. – Courtesy: Alfred Sanzari Enterprises
By Kathleen Lynn
On a recent Wednesday afternoon, a couple of office workers escaped their cubicles for a short yoga class at the Glenpointe complex in Teaneck.
“It’s OK if it’s not perfect, as long as you feel the stretch and it feels good,” the instructor, Amanda Scarcella, said as the women reached for the ceiling and then for their toes.
The yoga class is part of a new initiative by Glenpointe’s owner, Hackensack-based Alfred Sanzari Enterprises, to add tenant services and renovate common spaces at the well-known complex, which it built in 1984.
Ryan Sanzari, the company’s chief operating officer, said that Sanzari Enterprises embarked on the Glenpointe improvements more than a year ago, around the time the vacancy rate at the complex began to creep up (the rate is now about 14 percent, he said). Like many properties constructed in the office building boom of the 1980s, the complex was in need of updates, Sanzari said.
“Glenpointe was a bit tired, and we felt we were not distinguishing ourselves enough from the rest of the pack,” Sanzari said. “You have to stay in tune with the market. What are people looking for today? What are our competitors offering? That’s certainly relevant.”
So Sanzari Enterprises has spent several million dollars on improvements that include upgrading the landscaping in the courtyard between the two office buildings, a space it calls the Green, as well as better lighting, plantings and seating in the common spaces. It also opened a new leasing office and added lunch options with a company called Fooda, which brings in different food vendors almost every day.
Sanzari has also brought in a New York company called Better Spaces to run activities like the free yoga classes for tenants, along with ping pong tournaments, meditation sessions and even nature walks through the Teaneck Creek Conservancy woods next door. Not mention regular after-work events, including a recent Oktoberfest party.
The idea behind the changes: “When you walk inside a building where you work every day, you should feel good,” Sanzari said. “The last thing that anyone wants to do is feel negative going to work.”
Moreover, employers believe better workplaces help attract and keep good employees, a key concern in a time when unemployment rates are low.
Aside from the recent improvements at the office complex, the most visible change at Glenpointe is the August 2018 opening of a new dual-branded hotel building that contains a Hampton Inn and Suites and a Homewood Suites, which join a Marriott already on site. The new hotels overlook Interstate 95 and are easily visible to drivers speeding to and from the George Washington Bridge.
The company decided on a glass façade for the building to make it visually striking.
“It is the gateway to Glenpointe,” Sanzari said. “This needs to be special.”
The company had originally considered another office building for that site, but ultimately decided that hotels made more sense economically.
Now, Glenpointe’s 50-acre campus includes more than 650,000 square feet of Class A office space, a 26,000-square-foot fitness club and a total of 700 hotel rooms.
According to Jeffrey M. Schotz, executive managing director at Newmark Knight Frank and the leasing agent at Glenpointe, the hotels and fitness center help set Glenpointe apart from other office complexes.
“There’s no need to leave the complex,” Schotz said. “You can come in and work out, you can go to Starbucks or the café for breakfast, you can go to your office, go to the hotel and use the conference center, eat dinner at the hotel restaurant. You can make a full day at Glenpointe.”
Schotz also pointed to Glenpointe’s location, just four miles from the George Washington Bridge and at the intersection of interstates 80 and 95.
“You can go from here to San Francisco, or here to Florida, and not get off the highway,” he said.
If you’ve got less ambitious travel plans, NJ Transit buses stop at the property for the trip to either the George Washington Bridge bus terminal or the Midtown Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Asking rents at Glenpointe were $37.50 per square foot as of late September, Sanzari said.
Glenpointe was built in 1984, part of a building boom that created much of the Garden State’s suburban office inventory. The upgrades at Glenpointe follow recent trends in the market, as landlords update 1980s-vintage properties to attract and keep tenants, said Jason Price, Cushman & Wakefield’s director of suburban tristate research.
“Tenants nowadays seek out locations which are appealing to employees,” Price said. “Office buildings that have not been updated or upgraded in a while more than likely won’t be on any major corporation’s radar when it comes to seeking new space options.”
Sanzari Enterprises briefly outsourced the management of Glenpointe’s office complex to JLL, which was involved in the decision to bring in Better Spaces and Fooda, along with some of the other recent changes. Ryan Sanzari said JLL was “a valuable partner” during the improvements.
But the company then decided to bring management back in-house.
“It’s in our nature to manage our own assets. We’ve done it throughout our history,” Sanzari said, although the hotels are managed by Fulcrum Hospitality and White Lodging, because of the specialized nature of the business.
Sanzari, the third generation at Alfred Sanzari Enterprises, has undoubtedly brought a fresh perspective and a drive to modernize legacy properties such as Glenpointe.
But the 32-year-old didn’t start out wanting to join the family business. He majored in political science at Villanova University and spent a couple of years out of college working in political fundraising. He considered law school, but then took another look at the family business and thought, “Maybe I should give that a shot.” He got a certificate in real estate development and construction project management at New York University, then joined Sanzari Enterprises.
“I’m extremely lucky to work with my father every day,” he said of David Sanzari, the company’s CEO and second-generation leader. “It brings its challenges, working in a family business, but we’ve learned how to make it work.”
He says that, just as his grandfather held family members accountable, so does his father.
“He is not going to cut you a break because you’re his son,” Ryan Sanzari said. “It’s quite the opposite.”
Sanzari also likes working at the company because real estate work is so varied: “You’ve got administration, finance, negotiation. The next thing you know, you could be on a construction site or overseeing a tenant improvement project,” he said.
Aside from his real estate work, Sanzari is on the board of Care Plus NJ Inc., a northern New Jersey nonprofit that provides mental health care and substance abuse rehabilitation services.
Back at the Glenpointe yoga class, Scarcella told her students to take “a moment of gratitude for showing up, for pulling yourself away from your desk.”
After the class, Carol Dounn, office manager of a company called Photoscribe, which creates jewelry with engraved photos, said that she tries to take yoga every day.
“I have found it very de-stressing, if that’s a word,” she said. “It makes me a lot more pleasant. Just to get out of your environment and clear your head.”