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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ron Ladell, Senior VP of AvalonBay Communities, was recently named No. 1 on the 2016 NJ BIZ list of the 75 most influential people in NJ real estate.

A 2015 artist’s rendering of the proposed complex at 1775 Teaneck Road (Credit: AvalonBay Communities)

Teaneck—AvalonBay Communities, a publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) on the New York Stock Exchange, owns or operates 283 apartment complexes comprising over 80,000 apartment homes in 10 states and the District of Columbia. And now it owns one more, in Teaneck.

After having its variances approved last spring by the Teaneck Town Council, the company now fully owns the World of Wings property at 1775 Windsor Road. The company is preparing to build a complex there comprising 248 rental apartment homes. As per Teaneck’s request, 10 percent of those homes will be set aside for affordable housing, which will be administered by a third-party administrator funded by AvalonBay. There are currently planned to be 20 studio units, 101 one-bedroom units, 107 two-bedroom units and 20 three-bedroom units.

Real estate and corporate attorney Ron Ladell is a senior vice president for AvalonBay, charged with managing the company’s real estate development activities throughout New Jersey. He has been intimately involved with the Windsor Road property since the beginning, while also overseeing the construction of communities in Maplewood, Princeton and Boonton. In addition to the about-to-begin Teaneck project, Piscataway and Edgewater are also set to begin construction in the next few months. Over the past few years, AvalonBay has built communities in Bloomfield, Union, Roseland, Somerset, Wharton, Bloomingdale, Woodridge, Hackensack, North Bergen, West Long Branch, Tinton Falls, Lyndhurst and Lawrenceville, and has also purchased communities in Aberdeen, East Rutherford, Hoboken, Plainsboro and Watchung.

Ladell’s focus is on developing residential and mixed-use communities in high-barrier-to-entry markets. While noting that the process of getting the variances approved through the Teaneck Town Council so that the site could be zoned for multi-family residences (enabling AvalonBay to purchase it from World of Wings) was, at times, contentious, Ladell told The Jewish Link that the company was pleased overall with the rezoning and the site plan. “The large majority of Teaneck residents were in support of our project, but a small minority of people were able to be very vociferous with regard to their concerns. We were able to deal with those concerns and are happy that the majority of both the governing body and the planning board ultimately agreed,” he said.

“We are pleased to be able to build a high-quality rental development in a town where there is a clear demand for our product,” Ladell added.

One of the main reasons the Teaneck council and the planning board favored the deal was because World of Wings, as a non-profit museum, paid about $200,000 into Teaneck’s property tax coffers, while AvalonBay estimated in one of its initial statements that it will be paying about $1 million. Bringing more property taxes to the township has been a primary goal of several of the Teaneck town councilmen, including Elie Katz, the current deputy mayor. Last year, Katz shared that World of Wings, the third-highest taxpayer in Teaneck, was facing a financial crisis and was about to go into a tax appeal but, instead, went into an option contract with AvalonBay. “This basically saved the town,” he told The Jewish Link in 2016.

Now, in addition to the Glenpointe Sanzari development project in southern Teaneck, which will bring a dual-branded Hilton hotel close to Teaneck’s intersection with Route 80 and the New Jersey Turnpike (hotels also pay a per-night occupancy tax to Teaneck), the Teaneck Square project near the corner of State Street and Queen Anne Road is also in construction phases, as well as another project that has just begun demolition at the southeast corner of State Street and Queen Anne Road. That project had been approved for apartment construction but has been long-stalled by the developer. Also approved is a 232-apartment complex at the former Verizon building, at 1500 Teaneck Road.

One of the most “contentious” question during the Teaneck variance debate with AvalonBay was fire safety, considering that AvalonBay experienced a stunning property loss (there was no loss of life) of a 1,000-person residence in Edgewater to fire the previous year. “It has been approximately two years since that Avalonbay Edgewater fire, which took place on January 21, 2015. As of today, AvalonBay is the only New Jersey developer that has voluntarily decided to enhance fire-suppression systems and fire-safety standards. We are doing those enhancements by utilizing NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 13 systems as opposed to NFPA 13R systems and utilizing masonry fire walls for these buildings. Neither of those enhancements are required by the applicable fire code. Furthermore, Teaneck made specific requests regarding fire safety, all of which we agreed to,” he said.

Ladell is certainly no stranger to contentious, complicated real estate deals. He has been named to NJBIZ’s “power list” of the 75 Most Influential People in New Jersey Real Estate each year since its inception. He ranked number one in 2016, essentially naming him “the most powerful person in New Jersey real estate,” according to NJBIZ’s statements.

Ladell shared a few details on the amenities planned to be included in the Teaneck property, which will have four stories of apartments next to a five-story parking garage. It will include a two-story fitness center with state-of-the-art Technogym equipment and Fitness on Demand, a resident lounge with free Wi-Fi capability and dining entertainment areas, three outdoor courtyards with barbecue grill stations and numerous seating areas, an outdoor heated pool, an outdoor dog run and a Package Concierge package acceptance system that allows residents to pick up their packages 24/7. The covered parking garage will provide residents direct access to their floor.

“We are in the process of securing permits and removing asbestos to demolish the building. The demolition will take a few months. How long it takes will depend on how efficient and responsive Teaneck is,” he said. By summer, vertical construction is expected. Construction of the parking deck will likely happen later in the summer.

Those interested in learning more about AvalonBay properties are invited to visit avaloncommunities.com.

By Elizabeth Kratz