[November 2016: Articles in the New York Post and on the website Inman identify Joe Forgione as one of two potential nominees for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in Donald Trump’s cabinet:
That’s big-time for small-town Maplewood! But then, as of November 28th, it was being reported that Ben Carson is the lead pick. Only a few days of infamy for us! We continue to struggle with the scope and scale of Mr. Forgione’s ambitions.
Some of the local reaction can be found on a recent Facebook post.
December 2016: We understand Joe is gearing up for two legal fights nearby. Asserting his rights under “Mt Laurel” to build a multi-family project in Glenridge, and suing in Parsippany to build an industrial site in a zone that explicitly excludes the type of project he has in mind. ]
Joe has built some buildings nearby, and some all around the tri-state area. He bought the PSE&G site last year, and obtained approval for a 235-unit apartment complex (on Boyden Avenue, across from Maplewood Swimming Pool). Then Joe sold the property, with those approvals, to Avalon Bay. That’s probably because Avalon Bay, an $24 billion dollar real estate investment trust (Jan 2016), has told developers in many locales nationwide that they want to buy “shovel-ready” projects. That’s what Joe had, so he sold it to Avalon Bay earlier this year. On the morning of May 22, 2015 Joe Forgione and some partners bought the PSE&G site, and sold it to Avalon Bay. Estimate profit for Joe and his partners was about $11 million.
While that was in the works, Joe was selected as the “preferred developer” for the Post Office site in Maplewood Village. That selection process was done by the “Economic Development Sub-committee”, whose recommendations were voted on by Vic DeLuca, Gerry Ryan, and Kathy Leventhal. In fact, last year on the town web site, Vic, Gerry, and Kathy were the only members of the Economic Development Sub-commmittee!
When Joe became “preferred developer” his proposal listed him as sole owner. Last week Joe asked for a name change because, as our Township attorney explained, it would allow Joe to save on capital gains taxes (he made money on the Avalon Bay deal, and just like everyone else, earning money means paying taxes).
But at the same time, Steve Kalafer was added as an additional owner. Funny thing about this is that Steve was understood to be Joe’s investor all along–so why, almost a year after negotiations started, did Joe want to add him as a legal owner, rather than just borrowing the money from him as in Plan A?
The town says its a good thing, because Joe and Steve are both going to personally guarantee the project, and they will be paying cash–allowing the deal to be done later this month. Why is an additional guarantee thought to be needed? And why is closing the deal this month particularly valuable to the Town? That has not been explained.
Joe and Steve got to own this property before they got approval to build their project. In fact, before they even had a review of the last minute design change they submitted in early November, 2015. Add to that the ownership by Steve Kalafer (court-appeal-hardened deep pockets) and a capital gains tax break–itself a war-chest available to finance the defense of the appeals researched by community members.
Sweet deal for a 15,000 square foot rock solid structure on prime real estate, just a hundred feet from a commuter rail station.
Here’s a bit more about Joe, the guy that wants to bring his experience and ideas to Maplewood Village:
First, In his words, as found at jmfproperties.com:
JMF PROPERTIES BUILDS GREAT STORIES.
Our unique expertise in transit-oriented development, combined with our rigorous
attention to detail, enables us to turn forgotten, under-utilized properties into thriving communities.
And by way of example, some recent projects:
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