Building Bergen: Developer’s Summit

With over 250 attendees, “Building Bergen – Developer’s Summit,” on April 25, was once again a successful opportunity for prominent business leaders to network and gain insight into the challenges facing real estate development in Bergen County. The event was sponsored by Winne Banta, Berkshire Hathaway Abbott Realtors and Bergen Community College, Bergen Biz and the Inter Chamber Consortium also lent their resources to the successful event.

The program consisted of two panel discussions, moderated by Winne Banta’s Khoren Bandazian. The first panel of professionals highlighted the issues and challenges facing their clients on zoning applications. Joseph Basralian and Bruce Rosenberg spoke of the legal issues they frequently face. Steve Novak of Lakeland Bank discussed how a lender reviews a prospective project. Francis Reiner from DMR Architects and Michael Semeraro from Langan Engineering discussed the need for proper planning prior to submitting an application. Robert Abbott and Roger Parker of Berkshire Hathaway Abbott Realtors spoke about trends in the real estate market. Extensive discussion focused on tax and other economic incentives that can drive development in a particular area. It was clear the panel agreed that the most important steps a developer can take to ensure approval of its project are preparation and having the right team working on the application.

The second panel of developers discussed the issues they face when analyzing a potential project. Sean McGowan from Meridia Properties highlighted the continued market interest in multi-family properties. Nicholas Dinallo of Terminal Construction addressed the challenges facing the completion of projects. Christopher Minks, general counsel for Russo Development, discussed handling objectors to their applications and design and amenities that customers are seeking. Eric Rubin of Normandy Real Estate partners highlighted the changes clients are looking for in the development of new office space and the growth of “smart office” technology. George Gnad from Avison Young Capital Markets discussed what investors and lenders are seeking in the review of project investment decisions.

Building Bergen is a continuing series developed by Winne Banta and Berkshire Hathaway Abbott Realtors to highlight and discuss the challenges facing the business and real estate community in Bergen County.  With the additional sponsorship and participation of Bergen Community College, together with Bergen Biz, the event has grown into an anticipated forum where local business and real estate decisions-makers come together to tackle issues facing them all, which making new business contacts.