Sam Boraie, vice president of operations for Boraie Development, is excited about his firm’s most recent project. The Aspire, a gigantic, mixed-use development will be marketed to a younger, more affluent demographic than some of Boraie’s past projects. But this is all part of a long term plan started by Sam Boraie’s father, Omar.
A lonely visionary
Omar Boraie, the patriarch of the Boraie family and founder of Boarie Development (bloomberg.com), came to the New Brunswick area in the 1970s as an immigrant from Egypt. The former chemist was excited to be in America, a land of nearly boundless opportunity, compared to his home country.
Perhaps it took a beginner’s mind, someone who wasn’t familiar with all of the old tropes of real estate development, to see the opportunities that were right in front of those who had spent their entire lives looking at them. Like a resident of Cape Canaveral, for whom seeing millions of pounds of metal being hurled into space becomes just another part of the daily routine, American developers took for granted the fact that much of the nation’s finest housing stock and historical architecture had been allowed to lie fallow at the core of burnt-out, devastated cities, from Detroit to Camden and New Brunswick.
Omar Boraie saw things differently. In the late ’80s, New Brunswick was little different from Camden, Newark and other hollowed-out urban cores that had been allowed to fall into a state of ruin. But Boraie had a vision. Manhattan real estate, even then, was inflating to proportions beyond all reason. If Boraie could attract high-end tenants by creating top-tier Class A office space in downtown New Brunswick, he might be able to set off a chain reaction of economic development that would never stop.
At first, Boraie and his son were laughed out of meetings with bankers. But eventually they secured financing. Albany Street Plaza was the first Class A office space built in New Brunswick in decades. It quickly filled.
Soon after, the Boraie’s followed up with luxury condos for those professionals working in the city. Today, New Brunswick is one of the hottest high-end real estate markets in New Jersey. For more info, check out Sam Boraie’s crunchbase page.