East Orange, N.J. – The East Orange Property Owners Association (EOPOA), which recently marked its first full year as an industry-unique membership organization, is credited with piloting three integral City of East Orange ordinance amendments during the past 12 months. Established in late 2015, the association is a consortium of private commercial real estate investors, developers, lenders and professionals committed to partnering with East Orange officials to advance the city’s revitalization efforts.

The ordinances amended the Code of the City of East Orange pertaining to vacancy decontrol, dangerous dogs and incorporating background checks into the licensing of dwelling superintendents. All have been successfully enacted into law.

“Each of these very important ordinances was facilitated by a public/private partnership approach employed to enhance the quality of life for apartment-building owners, employees, and tenants as well as single-family homeowners alike,” said Peter Shapiro, the association’s president/board member and the managing member of Shapco Property Management (SPM).

In addition to Shapiro, EOPOA’s leadership includes Vice President/Board Member Isaac Frankel, managing partner of Creative Capital Group, LLC (CCG); Treasurer/Board Member Abraham “Avi” Brender, president of ASB Investments; Secretary/Board Member Phillip Evanski, a managing member of Equis Realty Partners; and Board Members David Oropeza, managing director of Gebroe-Hammer Associates, and Marc Watkins, CEO of Rockledge Ventures, LLC.

Since its inception, EOPOA has been committed to collaborating with city and economic development officials to improve the city’s regulatory environment. As a group of like-minded property owners, the association seeks to enhance the opportunities for growth, lower the barriers to entry and attract new, established investors as well as experienced property owners and developers to the city.

While the dangerous dog and background checks will have an almost immediate impact on the safety and well-being of all residents and visitors to the City of East Orange, the vacancy decontrol ordinance is expected to be another catalyst for transforming outdated multi-family properties. “Decontrol allows property owners – once a unit has been vacated under the ordinance’s very detailed eligibility requirements – to implement capital improvements and market-rate rents in an effort to modernize the city’s apartment-housing stock while preserving affordability for long-term, in-place tenants,” said Frankel, who has been actively involved in East Orange’s renaissance during the past 18 years.

In addition, EOPOA’s members are committed to raising awareness and reducing tax burdens by spreading them over a larger base while increasing valuations and enhancing the quality of life for apartment-building tenants and single-family homeowners alike.

Last September, the not-for-profit group also hosted the “State of the City of East Orange: Revitalization and Investment Initiatives” as part of its Second Annual Membership Meeting. The keynote address focused on embracing and capitalizing on urbanism. Guest speakers were East Orange Mayor Lester Taylor III and Richard Spengler, chief lending officer of Investors Bank.

Thanks to the vision of EOPOA members, private investment, local officials and specifically Mayor Taylor, East Orange is well on its way to becoming New Jersey’s newest, most dynamic destination. As the mayor noted in his 2017 State of the City address last week, private capital investment in the city has grown from $100 million three years ago to over $400 million today.

“EOPOA’s investment and legislative initiatives complement the pro-growth philosophies of Mayor Taylor and his administration. Collectively, we share a common goal – to make East Orange great again,” added Evanski, whose company specializes in debt and equity investments in apartment properties.

EOPOA is comprised of members with interests in the emerging East Orange submarket as they pertain to multi-family properties of 25+ or more units. While owners of smaller multi-family dwellings are welcome, the group welcomes new members with ownership/management interests in larger buildings as well as industry professionals specializing in the legal, accounting and lending sectors. To become a member of EOPOA, contact the association at (973) 866-5081 or eastorangepoa@gmail.com.