Nexus Commercial Real Estate Property Management NJ
Most builders only see a project as another market opportunity. To them, it is all about investment cost, potential, and time. Even though these of parameters exist with the Nexus Properties project in Glassboro, it goes far beyond that. The CFO, Dante Germano, has a personal connection with the project. He had grown up in Glassboro and saw this developmental work as an opportunity to redevelop his town.
It was due to Germano’s Glassboro background that made Nexus get awarded the project. Even though Germano had been out of the town due to his career, he kept in communication with the leaders, and when the Company managing the Town redevelopment failed to deliver on the master plan, the contract was awarded to Nexus.
The main issue eschewed between the former developers was their inexperience in handling the new parking garage slated in the project. Nexus, on the other hand, were experts in creating parking solutions. Nexus Parking system was a subsidiary of Nexus, and with their experience as one of New Jersey’s finest parking partners, they were able to bring the experience needed to create a modern downtown.
The town of Glassboro has been plagued with various developmental challenges in the past. First there’s a town whose government wanted to look more like a modern town and there is a university community by the way whose student population affects the way the entire town will look like.
The Glassboro project started around the early 2000s, where the towns need a developed downtown and a nearby University’s need for better accommodation facilities for their students intertwined. The initial play of the university was to build structures that could house 884 students, but soon after that, two medical schools were added to the university, and it became a research institution. As a result of this, the population of students being admitted into the school exploded.
This sharp increase in the population of students created a problem for the community as students who were not able to secure a hostel facility had to resort to renting a place off-campus. This was a challenge that soon blew out of the control of the school management and they would need the support of the community.
When the project was handed to Nexus, there was an obvious need to expand the housing project to meet students’ demands. Before exiting from the project, the previous developers had built 1,165 students, hotel, and multifamily beds. The scope of the project had to be adjusted to 2781 under Nexus and to achieve this without having to expand further, Nexus decide to build six-story facilities for the students.
According to Germano, the works they are doing at Nexus will benefit both the university and the town. For Germano, he feels fulfilled that Nexus helped the client achieve his goal and, at the same time, making money in the process. Learning from the founder of the company who happens to be his father.
Positioned for Success
The reason behind Nexus’ success in the project is their experience and financial power born out of a 40 years journey in the industry. Before undertaking the Glassboro project, most of the contracts they have handled were usually between the range of $5-15 million, and the highest ever was a $22 million project.
Ever since Sussman founded Nexus in 1979, he created structures and systems and paved the way for the continual growth of the Company. The Company is still obedient to the management philosophies that were laid by Sussman.
Sussman had operated a steel service business before moving on to create Nexus. His success in the steel center made him acquire old warehouses and distribution facilities across the region. When he didn’t have much use for the facilities, he redeveloped the buildings into what is today known as Nexus Properties.
Sussman style was to hang on to development for a long period, rather than selling for immediate gratification. This strategy was part of what positioned Nexus to be able to handle the Glassboro project.
In 2010, Sussman decided to retire and left the Company in his children (Germano, Andrea, and Jeffery) to run. These children still stick to the philosophies of their father. Germano claimed that many times the sit together to rehearse some of their father’s principles.
Since Nexus is a family business, there is no much management bureaucracy involved in decision makings. This makes it easier for them to respond to opportunities. As they have learned from their father, they join heads together, brainstorming for a solution, and waste no time in implementing.
Jeffery Sussman handles the aspects of their work that deals with subcontractors while Andrea handles the aspects of marketing and leases. Germano claims that the subcontractors appreciate their level of direct involvement, and he says it boosts the confidence of the client in them. Their father, Sydney Sussman, taught them about the importance of owners’ involvement. During his time leading the Company, he was involved in every facet of the company decision-making to sign personally on loans against his lawyer’s counsel.
With a wealth of experience in a public-private partnership, through several years of managing the Glassboro project by partnering with New Jersey Transit, Nexus has met the demand of both Rowan University community and Glassboro town. This process also involves keeping them abreast of the progress of their project and any important updates. According to Germano, since both the town and university have a similar goal, it makes the job of Nexus much easier to perform, and they all have established a cordial relationship with each other.
Even though the student housing occupies a bulk of their work, the borough still priorities the building of multifamily units for the sake of permanent residents. This part of the job seems to be the most difficult for Nexus to strike a balance on.
The conflict in interest came to its climax in 2015 when Nexus Properties had just completed a 176,000 square foot, six-story building to accommodate 456 students and 57 multifamily units. Due to the shortage of accommodation for the students of Rowan University, the school management request that 22 of the 57 apartments should be converted for use by students. The magic challenge was that the request could only be approved by the Glassboro Borough council, who also had their interest to protect. It could have generated a lot of friction, but the council finally agreed to allow them to use the apartments for just a year. Germano noted that the borough realizes that it was the best decision to waiver the building for them.
Nexus maintains a healthy collaboration with its stakeholders, resulting in a huge success for the Glassboro. Germano noted that the ease of progress of the project is born out of the cooperation of the people. However, he noted that the Company needs to free up some of her liquidity and thus are not likely to do another $300 million project anytime soon again. They will prefer to focus on 50 million to 60 million range of projects.
Nexus has learned valuable lessons from the Glassboro project that will further help them in managing complex projects. The project also opened them up to a new niche of student housing. Germano further noted that the project opened them up to how a university is being run, even though on a smaller scale. It was a perfect opportunity for the three children to show how good a job their father did in mentoring them.