TreeTop Development Opens Office in Newark, N.J. to Strengthen Presence in the Essex County City

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Armed with an aggressive approach to strengthen its presence in the Newark, N.J. housing market, TreeTop Development has expanded into the Essex County City's downtown district and opened a new office facility at 550 Broad Street.

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We've already purchased one property and anticipate the acquisition of two more rental complexes by year's end. Thus, it was a logical move to establish an office within the City which allows us to remain close to our Newark portfolio, monitor market conditions and offer housing products that address community needs and enhance surrounding neighborhoods.

Armed with an aggressive approach to strengthen its presence in the Newark, N.J. housing market, TreeTop Development has expanded into the Essex County City's downtown district and opened a new office facility at 550 Broad Street.

The Manhattan-based real estate developer made its initial foray into Newark early this year with the $22 million purchase of Parkwood Place -- a 293-unit rental apartment complex located on Mt. Prospect Ave. in the Forest Hills section -- and is expected to build upon its portfolio with the acquisition of two additional portfolios in the City later this year. Once the acquisitions are complete, TreeTop will own more than 800 rental apartments within the City of Newark.

"The resurgence of Newark as a residential destination is well underway and there's a significant need for quality rental apartments that serve both the luxury market and the City's local middle-class residents," says Adam Mermelstein, a TreeTop principal. "As a result, we are actively pursuing opportunities that will be valuable additions to our existing residential portfolio of for sale and rental properties.

"We've already purchased one property and anticipate the acquisition of two more rental complexes by year's end. Thus, it was a logical move to establish an office within the City which allows us to remain close to our Newark portfolio, monitor market conditions and offer housing products that address community needs and enhance surrounding neighborhoods."

TreeTop has recently competed more than $1 million in renovations for Parkwood Place -- a gated complex in the Forest hills section of north Newark. -- including upgraded building systems, common areas, unit interiors and site landscaping.

"While the buildings are in very good condition, we made key renovations to create a significantly better living environment," adds Azi Mandel, another TreeTop principal. "These included capital improvements such as landscaping, new entry doors, new elevators, restored original terrazzo floors and remodeled lobbies, vestibules and corridors.

"Inside the apartments, we refinished hardwood floors, upgrade bathrooms, install ceramic tile in kitchens and replace kitchen countertops and appliances as needed. The end result is rental homes that give people more than they can afford and improve their quality of life."

TreeTop also recently complete the acquisition of the MLK Portfolio, 256 rental apartments which encompass an entire full city block along Martin Luther King Boulevard. The purchase will serve as a significant step in the revitalization of Martin Luther King Boulevard leading from University Heights to the Lincoln Park Arts District.

"The MLK Portfolio is noteworthy in the ongoing rehabilitation of the neighborhood -- where 3,000 subsidized apartments and new market rate townhomes are either being built or restored," says Mr. Mermelstein. "The buildings are currently 30% vacant and in need of interior and exterior upgrades to bring it inline with the progress being made on the surrounding blocks.

"Without the MLK Portfolio, the revitalization leading up to the City Courthouse could not be completed. It will also provide much needed housing for nearby Universities."
The developer purchased the property with investor Kenneth Pasternak and plans up to $5 million in large scale renovations, including updated bathrooms, new hardwood flooring, new kitchens and new landscaping and site work.

"The MLK Portfolio will offer a viable alternative by providing a higher quality residential product that is complete with the latest in amenities and appliances and offered at monthly rental rates Newark's middle-class employees can afford," Mr. Mermelstein points out. "It will be an ideal destination for government officials, civil servants and more."

Scott Assouline of Meridian Capital Group placed the loans for two of the buildings -- 777 MLK and 775 MLK -- with Joe Fingerman and John Ziernan of Signature Bank. Financing for the remaining buildings was arranged by Mr. Assouline through Charles Baker of New York Community Bank.

In addition to Parkwood Place and the MLK Portfolio, TreeTop is expected to purchase a portfolio of nine rental buildings in north Newark bordering Branch Brook Park. The developer will also conduct extensive renovations to the buildings and property.

"The goal at each of these portfolios is to improve the overall housing stock in Newark," Mr. Mandel indicates. "We want to provide rental apartments residents are proud of in City they take pride in calling home."

Dave Oropeza and Joel Schwartz of Gebroe-Hammer are serving as brokers in the both transactions.

For additional information on TreeTop Development, please call 212-400-8860 or visit http://www.treetopdev.com.

About TreeTop Development, LLC:
Led by General Partners Azi Mandel and Adam Mermelstein, Manhattan-based TreeTop Development, LLC is a multi-faceted real estate concern with a focus on developing luxury condominium buildings in key urban centers throughout the New York Metropolitan area. The company also actively acquires existing rental properties in the region with an eye towards modernizing living spaces, common areas and building systems before returning them to market.

Contact:
Robert Kelly
CAHN Communications
rkelly @ cahncomm.com
201-876-3100

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