13 earn EY Entrepreneur of Year Award for New Jersey

EY announced the winners of its annual Entrepreneur of the Year for New Jersey last week.

The 13 winners (in 11 categories) will not compete in EY’s national contest, where winners advance to a world competition.

Debra von Storch, EY Americas Entrepreneur of the Year program director, praised the group.

“There are many successful entrepreneurs in this world, but to build something truly remarkable, you can’t let anything stand in your way,” she said in a statement.

Since its founding in 1986, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries throughout the world.

The winners for the Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 New Jersey Award include:

John Ther
Amarin Corp.

Neel Premkumar
Dyla LLC
West New York

Frank Dombroski
FlexWage Solutions LLC

Mike Bryzek and Rob Keve

James R. Maida
Gaming Laboratories International LLC

Michael Kane
Kane Brewing Company LLC

Joe Lorenzo
Lorenzo Food Group

Arthur Souritzidis
Momentum Solar
South Plainfield

Patrick Treacy
Onkos Surgical
Parsippany Troy Hills

Abby Taylor and Rob Giuliani
Playa Bowls

Jenny Cohen
Triangle Home Fashions LLC

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K&G Fashion Superstore leases 22K sq. ft. in Woodbridge

K&G Fashion Superstore, a men’s and women’s clothing store, has leased 22,000 square feet of space at the Woodbridge Crossing shopping center in Woodbridge, according to real estate investment firm PAG Investments.

K&G is joining other retailers at the center including Burlington, Big Lots, Modell’s, Party City, Fed-Ex, Miracle Ear, Sprint, Planet Fitness and Altitude Trampoline Park.

PAG Investments acquired the center located at 465 Green St. in February.

“We are very pleased with the leasing velocity which is a testament to the center and the greater Woodbridge market,” Gershon Alexander, principal at PAG Investments, said.

The lease was brokered by Sabre Real Estate Group LLC.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Woodmont Properties cuts ribbon on Woodmont Bay Club, a new luxury community in Bayonne

Real estate developer Woodmont Properties recently hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Woodmont Bay Club, a new luxury residential community in Bayonne.

The 220-unit, four-story community features studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom homes up to 1,500 square feet, Woodmont said.

“Woodmont Properties promised and delivered an incredible community,” Bayonne Mayor James M. Davis, who attended the ceremony, said. “We now have a thoughtfully-designed luxury community which not only enhances the beautiful natural landscape of Bayonne but directly benefits its residents, and — of course — the people of Bayonne.”

Executives from Woodmont Properties, including Eric Whitmondt, CEO; Lewis Zlotnick, president; Stephen Santola, executive vice president and general counsel; Steven Varneckas, senior vice president; Daniel Miller, chief financial officer; and Howard Irwin, senior vice president of construction, attended the event.

“We’re thrilled to officially open this sensational community, which not only offers a modern living experience but caters to residents’ desire to enjoy Bayonne’s beautiful landscape and green space just outside their doors,” Zlotnick said. “Woodmont Bay Club provides a unique blend of luxury amenities in a stand-out location, which offers convenient access to 140 acres of outdoor recreation including a three-mile waterfront walkway and scenic nature trails.”

The property features amenities including a shuttle to the PATH train; a sky lounge with water and park views; a club lounge; a strength and cardio center; business center; a private parking garage; game room; pet spa; golf simulator; a resort-style pool with a sundeck and spa; BBQ and picnic areas; 24/7 package concierge service; and more.

Woodmont Bay Club is within close access to routes 78, 1 and 9, and the New Jersey Turnpike.

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Murphy meets with Colombian Ambassador; discusses potential trip to Latin America

Gov. Phil Murphy met with Colombian Ambassador Francisco Santos Calderón this week to discuss the importance of the country’s economic value to New Jersey, as well as a potential trip to Latin America and opening the door for greater economic ties.

The meeting was attended by Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce chairman Luis De La Hoz, Choose New Jersey CEO Jose Lozano and other representatives from the state and the Economic Development Authority.

“We discussed if (New Jersey) is considering an office in Latin America, please consider Colombia,” De La Hoz said.

Companies including Google, Uber and Amazon already have laid the foundation for a Colombian office by opening their own Latin American hubs in Colombia.

In addition, De La Hoz, a Colombian-American, said the governor could plan a trip to Latin America next year, as well as plan to visit the presidents of the various countries at the United Nations General Assembly in September.

“We are pushing that he visit Latin America, especially Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico — not just because of the population, but because of the trade,” De La Hoz said.

“The Dominican Republic has a larger population (in New Jersey), but because it’s an island, you cannot grow the trade (with them) and they don’t produce many products or services that we can trade with them.”

De La Hoz said agriculture and infrastructure, as well as health care, are sectors that provide the best opportunity for greater ties.

According to information from the Economic Development Authority, as of 2018, Colombia’s impact is $1.25 billion in trade of goods, and the country is the sixth-largest goods export market of New Jersey in Latin America.

The sectors New Jersey exports to Colombia most include essential oils and perfumes, nuclear reactors, boilers and machinery and other chemical products. New Jersey largely imports mineral fuel and oil from Colombia.

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Ørsted, PSEG selected to build off-shore wind farm off coast of Atlantic City

An offshore wind farm is coming to New Jersey. Finally.

Friday, the state Board of Public Utilities announced it has selected Ocean Wind, an offshore wind energy project proposed by Ørsted with support from Public Service Enterprise Group, to develop an 1,100 MW offshore wind farm.

Ørsted and PSEG officials say the farm will power more than half a million New Jersey homes and will contribute significantly to Gov. Phil Murphy’s ambitious renewable energy goal of supplying more than 1.5 million New Jersey homes with offshore wind power by 2030.

Construction on Ocean Wind, which will be located 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City, is expected to start in the early 2020s, with the wind farm operational in 2024, the parties said.  At 1,100 MW, Ocean Wind is expected to create over 3000 direct jobs annually through development and three-year construction cycle.

Ørsted will work with PSEG’s non-utility affiliates, which will provide energy management services and potential lease of land for use in the project development and execution phase.

PSEG, which serves 2.2 million electric customers in the state and has a long development partnership with Ørsted , has an option to become an equity investor in the Ocean Wind project.

“Today’s announcement firmly establishes a fast-growing global industry in New Jersey, which will create jobs and supply chain in the state,” Thomas Brostrom, CEO of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind and president of Ørsted North America, said in a release.

The battle to get approval for wind energy in the state has been fought for many years. Brostrom said today’s news is good news for the state long term.

“Ocean Wind will ensure that the state and its residents not only benefit from clean, renewable power, but that they reap the rewards of being an early player in the offshore wind industry as it grows in the U.S,” he said.

Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of PSEG Power, shared Brostrom’s enthusiasm.

“We are pleased that Ocean Wind has been selected by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to provide offshore wind power to the residents of New Jersey,” he said in a statement. “We have pledged our commitment and support of Gov. Phil Murphy’s clean energy agenda and we know that offshore wind will play an important role in providing environmental and economic benefits to New Jersey.”

In addition to powering homes and businesses across New Jersey, Ocean Wind will also bring significant investments to New Jersey, Ørsted officials said.

Ørsted will launch its Pro-NJ Trust fund in Cape May and Atlantic counties which will invest up to $15 million in grants to support local infrastructure investments and to support small, women, and minority-owned business owners who wish to become part of the emerging offshore wind industry.

Ørsted is also proceeding with plans to establish an Operation and Maintenance base in Atlantic City that will provide permanent, high-skilled jobs during the 25 plus years of lifespan of the project.

As part of its community relations outreach efforts, Ocean Wind will work with JINGOLI through the company’s Competitive Edge and Live Classroom programs that will identify and train Atlantic City residents and students who are interested in working in wind farm construction or in one of the permanent positions that will become available when the project is completed.

Ocean Wind presented a number of creative and significant initiatives within its bid document, that now awarded, will start in motion – beginning with the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the South Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council in December, calling for a Project Labor Agreement for offshore wind construction jobs that pay prevailing wage.

New Jersey has tremendous assets in its academic institutions and Ørsted already has signed MOUs with Rutgers, Stockton, and Rowan Universities.  Working with each of these universities, Ocean Wind will continue to support academic research, engineering programs and initiatives to further advance undergraduate and graduate students’ knowledge of the offshore wind industry.

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Murphy shocked the Legislature voted to extend current incentives: ‘I am awe-struck’

Gov. Phil Murphy said he was shocked the legislature passed a bill Thursday that would extend the existing tax incentive programs set to expire at the end of the month.

“I have to say … I am awe-struck, jaw-dropped, something, by the folks who voted to extend the economic development incentives,” he said.

“This is a law, it’s quite clear, that was written by special interests, for special interests.”

Murphy spoke at a news conference to address the $38.7 billion budget, also passed by the legislature Thursday, which aligns with much of the governor’s agenda, but doesn’t give him the millionaire’s tax he wants.

When asked by a reporter if, by allowing the existing tax incentives to continue to be approved while the deadline looms, Murphy was implicitly condoning the special interests that created the law, the governor rebuffed.

“The good news is … is that we put new sheriff’s in there,” Murphy said.

“I’m prepared to play the string out for the next nine days because I have complete confidence in (Economic Development Authority CEO) Tim Sullivan, Kevin Quinn, the chair, new compliance officer.”

The state has nine days remaining until it must pass a balanced budget.

Murphy was joined by Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio to reiterate that the millionaire’s tax will help boost the state’s coffers in a way that will help credit ratings agencies renew their faith in New Jersey’s fiscal future.

“I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but I’d be derelict in my duties as treasurer if I don’t use every opportunity to urge fiscal responsibility,” Muoio said.

“If a recession hits, and the bottom drops out, like it did during the dot com recession, to the tune of $2 billion to our revenue, or worse, like it did during the Great Recession when we lost nearly $5 billion in revenue — that’s what a rainy day really looks like.

“And we won’t be able to rely on structural savings or phantom revenue projections to get by if that happens.”

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GSI analysis: N.J. lags behind U.S. with loss of 7,600 private sectors jobs

Garden State Initiative has released an analysis of New Jersey’s newest job numbers, and said the state is still lagging behind the United States with its loss of 7,600 private sector jobs in April.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the state lost 7,600 jobs in April while the public sector added 800 positions.

Additionally, the report shows the state’s workforce shrank by 2,300 in May to 4.4 million, remaining below 2008’s average annual workforce of 4.5 million.

“Our state is an outlier from the positive national trend of adding private sector jobs to the economy,” Regina M. Egea, president, Garden State Initiative, said. “Coupled with a workforce size that remains below when the last recession occurred in 2008, everyone in New Jersey needs to be concerned about how our lack of competitiveness is hurting our state’s economy.”

Due to the state’s shrinking workforce, GSI said, the state’s unemployment rate declined by 0.1% to 3.8%.

The BLS report indicated job losses in seven out of nine major private industries:

  • Professional and Business Services (-3,500);
  • Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-2,300);
  • Education and Health Services (-1,900);
  • Other Services (-1,400);
  • Manufacturing (-500);
  • Leisure and Hospitality (-300);
  • Information (-100).

Job gains were reported in the Construction (+800) and Financial Activities (+800) sectors.

The gains in the financial sector were welcomed by GSI, it said, since it had reported year-to-date losses of 8,100 positions in April.

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CBRE report: Warehouse sector’s historic construction rate backed by e-commerce demand

The warehouse sector’s construction rate has hit historic highs in the U.S. due to e-commerce demand, according to a new report from CBRE.

The report said conditions in many markets suggest that new supply can be leased up before construction is complete or shortly thereafter.

Current in-progress warehouse construction in the U.S totaled 255 million square feet at the end of the first quarter of 2019, with 7 million square feet under construction in New York/northern New Jersey.

CBRE said that since 2015, warehouse construction numbers have steadily been climbing as companies expanded their e-commerce distribution networks.

Approximately 70% of warehouse space under construction is being built on speculation, CBRE said. The national vacancy rate for warehouses is 4.4% as demand has outpaced new supply in recent years, marking an increase of 19.2% in rent since 2015.

In the New York/North Jersey market, warehouse vacancy rates hit 3.4% (below the national average) and rents have increased by 4.8% over the past four years.

“In northern New Jersey, e-commerce continues to create a huge demand for new distribution space,” Kevin Dudley, first vice president, CBRE. “As online grocery sales continue to grow and given the state’s prime location to major consumer markets and local ports, we anticipate the warehouse vacancy rate to remain low, while rents steadily increase.”

CBRE’s report also identified the Top 5 markets for spec warehouse construction that offer below-average vacancy rates and strong rent growth.

They are:

  1. New York/northern New Jersey;
  2. California’s Inland Empire;
  3. Los Angeles;
  4. Seattle;
  5. Las Vegas.

To see the full report, click here.

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Prism to redevelop Woodbridge site into mixed-use, transit community

A joint venture between Prism Capital Partners and Northwestern Mutual Insurance Co. has purchased a 5-acre parcel in Woodbridge, Prism announced Thursday.

With full approvals, Prism, acting as operating partner, will redevelop the site into a mixed-use, transit-oriented community with 232 apartments and 12,000 square feet of retail space.

The site, which is the former Lucas Chevrolet dealership, is located at the corner of Rahway Avenue and Green Street. Demolition work is slated for July.

“The demand for transit-oriented multifamily remains robust in New Jersey, and this property is ideally situated for luxury, fully amenitized apartment homes,” Eugene Diaz, principal partner,  Prism Capital Partners, said. “We are pleased to start demolition work and anticipate construction of the building to begin this fall, following the completion of site work.”

Cushman & Wakefield‘s New Jersey capital markets team, comprised of Andrew Merin, David Bernhaut, Gary Gabriel, Brian Whitmer, Kyle Schmidt and Ryan Dowd, led the joint venture purchase. Northwestern Mutual Insurance will serve as the construction lender.

“It is exciting to be part of arranging the partnership of one of the most creative, cutting-edge multifamily developers and a top-tier institutional investor. They both saw the opportunity to create a unique mixed-use project to be located in one of Northern New Jersey’s more transformative towns,” Merin said.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Viggiano’s in West Cape May: A Hearty Taste of Family Favorites and More

Exterior of Viaggio’s on Sunset. Photo by Lynn Martenstein

The seventh of 11 children, Mark Viggiano grew up surrounded by family and food. “Mom cooked for us, put everything in the middle of the table and we passed it,” he said.

Add servers, seating for 100, and chef Viggiano in the kitchen today, and you have Viggiano’s on Sunset, West Cape May’s hottest new restaurant, and Viggiano’s second location (the other is in Conshohocken, PA). Word-of-mouth has quickly vaulted this inviting Italian family restaurant to go-to status for many locals and visitors. Given that the BYO eatery just opened last month, and is still waiting for basics like printed menus, its popularity is proof that it’s the real deal.

Since eating is believing, my husband and I had dinner there with friends last week. We were greeted warmly—kind of like family—and seated at a tableclothed banquette in an open, airy dining space that, until last fall, was two adjacent properties amid the rainbow-hued storefronts at 109 Sunset Boulevard. The restaurant’s décor is rustic-modern with high ceilings; wooden floors, tables and chairs; and natural light beaming in from wall-to-wall windows.

Inside Viggiano’s. Photo by Lynn Martenstein

Our exuberant server walked us through the southern Italian menu, explaining that entrées come in two sizes: “piccolo,” a serving for one, or “grande,” a plateful for up to four. A large chicken parm and large pasta, for example, easily feeds a family of four—or two people coming off a fast.

Our party mixed and matched an appetizer and several piccolo-sized dishes. We started by splitting the crab-stuffed portobello mushroom for $12.95. A creamy crab cake served on a grilled mushroom that marinated for days in a vinaigrette provided four great tastings and promised more good things to come.

Veal Parmesan. Photo by Lynn Martenstein

I ordered the small veal parmesan for $21.95 as my entrée. This classic dish is a litmus test for me on whether I become a regular at an Italian restaurant. I’ve already booked a return visit.

Chef Mark doesn’t bread or fry his veal or chicken dishes. He flours, seasons and sautes them instead. My serving included three pieces of veal pounded thin that were covered in a delicious marinara sauce topped with parmesan cheese, and shredded and fresh mozzarella. I also ordered the broccoli rabe for $6.95 to share. Sauteed with garlic, white wine and olive oil, the side was a good complement to the veal.

My spouse got the individual chicken piccata for $18.95. Sautéed in lemon sauce, white wine, butter and capers, his chicken was moist and tender but the sauce could have been zestier and heavier on capers. When asked, our server promptly brought him more capers.

Veal and shrimp. Photo by Lynn Martenstein

A tablemate ordered the smaller-sized veal and shrimp for $23.95, which he thoroughly enjoyed. A pomodoro sauce of sun-dried and crushed whole tomatoes, garlic and butter nicely accented his surf-and-turf combo.

We could easily have made a meal of the crusty bread brought to the table. We ate two loaves over dinner, dipping pieces in either the house olive oil or the restaurant’s addictive slow-cooked marinara sauce.

“We’re all about the whole experience at Viggiano’s,” said chef/owner Viggiano. “While the food is important, it’s also about the warmth, service, lighting, employees and family.”

Viggiano’s has definitely come up with a winning recipe. It also has plenty of free parking, is handicapped accessible, and is BYO, with a liquor store conveniently located right across the street.

Viggiano’s on Sunset, 109 Sunset Boulevard, West Cape May; BYO

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