This article has been provided by RE-NJ.com.

By Joshua Burd

The state’s commercial real estate community gathered virtually on Wednesday as NAIOP New Jersey honored a group of transformative projects and industry leaders, including the family of a developer who helped found the chapter a half-century ago.

The association, which was marking its 33rd annual awards gala, paid tribute to the family of Frank Visceglia and the multigenerational leadership of Federal Business Centers, bestowing the Lifetime Achievement Award among several honors for individual and companies. The chapter also unveiled its Deal of the Year winners in three categories:

  • Office: M Station, SJP Properties’ mixed-use development in downtown Morristown that will create two high-end office buildings with ground-floor retail space and public plazas
  • Mixed-use: Lotus 315, a development in East Orange by Blackstone 360 that includes 180 luxury apartments and 33,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, all housed within a distinctive building with a sleek, ship-like design
  • Industrial: Bridge Point 78, Bridge Development Partners’ redevelopment of the 365-acre former Ingersoll Rand plant in Phillipsburg and Lopatcong, a onetime brownfield site, into 3.85 million square feet of modern industrial space.

In presenting the awards, NAIOP New Jersey leaders acknowledged the industry’s ability to press on during the COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing work with state policymakers to help pave the way for a safe, long-lasting recovery. They also thanked the honorees and other stakeholders for their flexibility as the association was forced to change dates and formats for a celebration that also marked the chapter’s 50th anniversary.

“This astonishing disruption will reshape commercial real estate, economic and social landscapes and public policy in unforeseen ways for years to come,” said Gene Preston, a regional partner with Dermody Properties, who serves as NAIOP New Jersey’s chapter president. “Be assured NAIOP will be working collaboratively toward practical solutions.

“The gala is a night for our extended real estate family to gather, reconnect and celebrate. Although we’ll miss shaking hands and hugs tonight, we look forward to better days ahead.”

This year’s honorees also include:

  • Impact Award: Eugene Diaz of Prism Capital Partners
  • Impact Award: RC Andersen LLC
  • Industry Service Award: Anne Strauss-Wieder of the North Jersey Transportation Authority
  • Caren S. Franzini Public Partner Award: Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner

Headlining the ceremony was the family of Frank Visceglia, one of the visionaries behind the nearly 2,500-acre Raritan Center development in Middlesex County, who is also considered one of the chapter’s founding fathers alongside Frank Heilmann, David S. Steiner and Alex Zall. The presentation also highlighted the Visceglia family’s ongoing role and commitment to NAIOP New Jersey throughout its 50-year history.

The family’s third-generation leaders, in turn, recounted the meeting by the four founding developers as they touted the power of the trade association.

“We came together on that momentous afternoon, we stayed together and here we are 50 years later,” said Nicole Visceglia, a granddaughter of Frank Visceglia Sr., who accepted the award alongside Peter Visceglia and Frank Visceglia Jr. “It is a powerful testament when our industry members put aside individual needs to work together as a whole to elevate the entire real estate industry, not only in New Jersey, but nationally.

“As much as our family has given to NAIOP New Jersey, we have received so much more through the lasting friendships we have made through the years.”

Wednesday’s program also included virtual appearances by Gov. Phil Murphy and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, in another sign of the association’s influence in the state. When it came time for the Deal of the Year awards, the recipients noted that such high-profile developments will be all the more impactful as the state looks to recover from the pandemic.

Peter Bronsnick of SJP Properties said as much as he accepted the award for M Station, which will bring around 340,000 square feet of modern office space to Morristown and has secured a 110,000-square-foot prelease from Deloitte LLP.

“A deal of this magnitude is transformative in the best of times, but even more critical now considering the impact of COVID-19 on our local economies,” said Bronsnick, SJP’s New Jersey region president. “Projects such as M Station are imperative for communities like Morristown that need successful commercial development to support their businesses, services, amenities and restaurants.”

He and other speakers also highlighted the crucial role of countless professionals and local municipal leaders involved in each project.

The parties involved in each of the Deal of the Year winners are as follows:

  • Bridge Point 78: Bridge Development Partners, CBRE, JLL and Hartford Investment Management
  • Lotus 315: Blackstone 360 LLC, Amboy Bank, Avison Young, International Office of Architects, ADG and Frank H. Lehr Associates
  • M Station: SJP Properties, Cushman & Wakefield, Gensler, Riker Danzig, Scotto Properties and Deloitte

Here is a complete list of this year’s finalists.