Vision Real Estate Partners
Founded in 2013, Vision Real Estate Partners (VREP) is an outgrowth of ventures that founder and managing partner Sam Morreale has been involved in since the early 2000s. Headquartered in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, VREP specializes in the development and redevelopment of office, retail, industrial and multifamily properties. “We’re involved in full-service hands-on real estate operations,” Morreale explains. “We’re a vertically integrated company and perform all services in-house.”
Before forming VREP, Morreale was the co-founder of Vision Equities LLC and spent 10 years as a senior member of the Goldman Sachs Whitehall Operating Company, which owned and operated more than 15 million square feet of commercial real estate in the Northeast.
A growing portfolio
A recent large-scale project that VREP has been involved in is the acquisition and redevelopment of a former Bear-Stearns campus. The Crossings at Jefferson Park in Whippany, New Jersey, is a three-building, 525,000-square-foot corporate park on a 65-acre campus. “We have totally redeveloped the campus to include a major amenities package that we like to use to attract tenants who are seeking to attract and retain today’s new young and highly educated workforce,” says Morreale.
The Crossings at Jefferson Park project contains one particular amenity that VREP is proud to pioneer. The campus includes a fleet of BCycles, which is a transportation system used for commuting throughout the property. The bicycles are parked at a kiosk where the swipe of a credit or debit card allows users to rent a bicycle for a desired amount of time. The bicycle is then returned to either the same kiosk or another location for use by the next patron. “It’s great for creating a relaxed work atmosphere,” says Morreale. “People use them to go out to lunch, for pure recreation; some people will even use them to have a casual business meeting with other colleagues while they ride around the campus.”
In addition to the BCycle feature of the campus, The Crossings at Jefferson Park also contains 1.2 miles of on-site walking paths that connect directly to the local park and trail system. “This allows anyone to go both on and off-campus and utilize either the pedestrian or bicycle paths,” Morreale explains. VREP was also involved in the creative redevelopment of a campus powerhouse facility. “We are converting it into a very modern, chic coffee bar, lounge area, health and wellness center,” Morreale continues. “We’re also establishing it as a conference center where companies can hold large meetings.”
Creating a space for progress
More than just the bricks and mortar, VREP embraces the whole environment of a workplace. “We try to develop, redevelop, acquire and build properties that are sensitive to that whole new workforce environment,” Morreale explains. “We’re also embracing the type of things you see architecturally in the major universities. A lot of what we do with the development of these commercial spaces is similar to the environments the younger generations are used to working in.”
As a company that is LEED-conscious, VREP has been involved in several Gold and Platinum LEED-certified projects. “As we do redevelopment, one of the things that we focus on when we acquire buildings that have kind of gone through their lifecycle, we will look to renovate them and bring them up to today’s standards; not only with the air and light aspects but we try to achieve the highest LEED standards that are possible with each project,” says Morreale.
One example of this is a small project at the Mountain Lakes Corporate Campus in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. “It was a very mature, tired, functionally obsolescent property,” says Morreale. “We came in and redid the whole thing in brick and made major additions to the window line.” The building is now has multiple tenants and achieved a Silver LEED certification.
As a member of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP NJ) Morreale says that the association has done a great job with the state and with its members. “The development community has been extremely strong in this area and it’s getting stronger,” says Morreale. “NAIOP NJ has been a great advocate for companies like us to present opportunities to the state and we’re very grateful for that.”
As the company moves forward, VREP is maintaining a vision of gentrifying the suburbs. With the draw to the urban centers existent within the live/work/play environments, VREP remains insistent that there is still significant appeal to commercial development and redevelopment in the suburbs.
“Work environments are changing,” says Morreale. “The traditional office building with a traditional parking lot doesn’t work anymore. We think that things like what we did with The Crossings at Jefferson Park, where we created an environment and not just an office with a cafeteria is what’s important to focus on for the future.”
As the development and construction industry continues to grow in the Northeast, Vision Real Estate Partners will continue to be on the cutting edge of creating live/work/play environments.
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