Sam Boraie’s made a career out of urban renewal

Sam Boraie, vice president of Boraie Development, has dedicated his career (see, crunchbase.com) to bringing projects to fruition that others wouldn’t touch. Credited, in large part, with New Brunswick, New Jersey’s climb from dilapidated, post-industrial wasteland into one of the state’s most in-demand real estate markets, Boraie Development has been a key player in the city’s most prominent projects.

Now, Sam Boraie is looking to repeat this success in a neighboring city. Newark, New Jersey, has fallen to even lower depths than New Brunswick. The blighted metropolis hasn’t had a new high rise constructed since 1962 and is beset by high crime, low property values and crumbling infrastructure. It’s no wonder, then, that so many critics point to Boraie’s plan as a quixotic, financial suicide mission.

And if it were anyone else, they may have a point. But Boraie is a force to be reckoned with on the East Coast real estate development scene. He has the proven track record and the raw chutzpah to pull off deals that would leave lesser developers on the ropes.

According to a PR News report, the newest Boraie project, One Riverview, is as innovative as anything his firm has ever built. Using much of the structure of the existing property, a long-defunct malting factory built in the 1920s, the new development calls for a 23-story tower that will rise like a steel and glass Pheonix from the retained facade of the old factory. It will be both a symbolic and literal rebirth of the city. The project is slated to top out at an impressive 311 feet, far higher than most 23-story buildings. This reflects the ultra-high ceilings each unit will have. The building won’t just feature the most modern and luxurious condos in Newark, it will have some of the most cutting-edge upmarket residences in the entire state.

With One Riverview, Sam Boraie is attempting to accomplish what he and his firm did with the Albany Plaza project in the early ’90s. That development spearheaded one of the most dramatic and complete urban renewals in U.S. history.

If Mr. Boraie fails in implementing his vision for Newark, at least someone had the guts to try. If he succeeds, this could be the start of the biggest urban renaissance anyone’s seen for a hundred years.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/06/realestate/at-two-extremes-of-a-housing-market.html