In this week’s edition of The CRE News Hour, we go on-site at the NAIOP I.CON East conference in Jersey City to chat with Jeff Milanaik of Bridge Development Partners about multistory industrial properties, including Sunset Industrial Park, which Bridge is developing in Brooklyn, New York. We talk with Bruce Schanzer of Cedar Realty Trust about how to build mixed-use properties that address the urban food desert problem in some of the country’s economically challenged cities, and we introduce Aleksandra Scepanovic, who started Ideal Properties Group after immigrating to the United States from the former Yugoslavia, where she had a prior career as a journalist covering the war between Serbia and Bosnia.
About the Guests
Jeff Milanaik, Partner, joined Bridge Development Partners in 2014 when he opened Bridge’s New Jersey office. Jeff is responsible for Bridge’s acquisition and development activities throughout the Northeast Region. Since joining the company, he has successfully completed transactions on nearly 9 million square feet of industrial real estate with a value in excess of $2 billion.
Jeff previously served as President/Partner of Heller Industrial Parks Inc., one of the nation’s largest privately held owner/developers of industrial real estate and holds over 30 years of experience in commercial real estate. In addition to developing the long-term vision and direction of the company, he was responsible for running its day-to-day operations. Jeff increased Heller’s industrial development activities to grow the portfolio by over 10 million square feet to a total of 16 million square feet in 6 states. Jeff left Heller in 2013 to start his own firm, CrownPoint Group LLC, a privately held real estate investment and development firm focused on the acquisition/development/repositioning of industrial and multi-family assets.
Jeff holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology and received degrees from several real estate programs at Harvard University. He currently serves on the National Executive Board of NAIOP and is a member of the Board of Trustees of NAIOP-NJ, and is past President of NAIOP-NJ. In addition, he serves on the Advisory Boards of the DiLella Real Estate Center at Villanova University, Rutgers Center for Real Estate, and the New Jersey School of Architecture – NJIT. Jeff is also a member of SIOR and IOREBA.
Aleksandra Scepanovic is Managing Director of Ideal Properties Group, a leading residential real estate firm specializing in premier Brownstone Brooklyn and Manhattan neighborhoods including Park Slope, Carroll Gardens and Brooklyn Heights, as well as Williamsburg, Gowanus, Chelsea and other sought-after locations.
The firm was founded in 2007 by Scepanovic and her partner Erik Serras, who identified a need to build a technologically innovative infrastructure for sales and rentals in key Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Scepanovic is responsible for business development at Ideal. Since founding the company, she has helped develop its foundation and technological edge, set its mission and implement a clear vision. Today, Scepanovic continues to formulate Ideal’s strategy, identifies and monitors the markets, works at upholding the company’s values, oversees hiring and marketing, and assists her partner in setting Ideal’s direction and building its culture by creating an exciting and supportive environment for brokers to work.
Earlier in her career, Scepanovic worked as an editor and media analyst in her home country of former Yugoslavia. Her firsthand experience of reporting from the war zones of the Balkans robbed of their beauty, and the country’s horizons riddled with broken “Swiss cheese-like” buildings, left her not only longing for peace, but also with a belief in architecture as a symbol of perseverance and the human need to rebuild and move on.
She came to New York with a strong desire to design and create, which led her to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology. The program awakened her inner eye for detail, and invigorated her passion for architecture and interiors. She incorporates this experience into the real estate industry, and continuously utilizes her project management skills and designer’s eye to take her business to the next level.
With offices in Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Park Slope, Williamsburg and Chelsea and a staff of over 250 highly-trained real estate brokers and salespeople, Ideal is rapidly expanding across Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Schanzer has been President, Chief Executive Officer and a director of Cedar Realty Trust since June 2011. Prior thereto and since 2007, Bruce was employed by Goldman Sachs & Co., with his last position being a managing director in their real estate investment banking group. From 2001 to 2007, he was employed by Merrill Lynch, with his last position being vice president in their real estate investment banking group. Earlier in his career, Bruce practiced real estate law for six years in New York. Bruce received a B.A. from Yeshiva College, where he is now a member of its Board of Trustees, an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, and a J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review.