GreenPen Investments focuses on revitalizing housing in Jersey City outside downtown
GreenPen Investments co-founders Jerome Fazzari and Lorna McManus spoke about revitalizing housing in areas of Jersey City outside of the affluent downtown.
Jerome Fazzari and Lorna McManus, a married couple and co-founders of GreenPen Investments INC., spoke with Real Jersey City about their business which focuses on revitalizing housing outside of Jersey City’s affluent downtown area.
McManus started by talking about the origins of the company, including the business focus of GreenPen Investments.
“We moved down to Jersey City just shortly before we got married. We came down here because we are interested in revitalizing different neighborhoods throughout the western half of the city,” said McManus.
“What we do with GreenPen Investments is we renovate single-family and multi-family properties throughout the western half of the city, and then either we sell them or rent them out to different people.”
Fazzari acknowledged that while the business may not seem profitable to many people, the low overhead of GreenPen Investments helps them succeed.
“Most developers focus on the luxury market or downtown markets where the highest and best use can be achieved,” said Fazzari.
“We tend to focus on areas that are considered by most to be low-income areas, but for us it works really well. We have a low overhead, just my wife and I in the company, we hire all third-party contractors, and everyone needs a place to live and we feel that we provide the neighborhoods with a good service.”
McManus said that the properties they buy tend to be from older people who haven’t renovated in thirty to forty years, and that “the distress is really in the aesthetic.”
Fazzari added that a big problem he sees with older properties is flat roofs. He says that “if you don’t maintain your flat roof, and the gutters, you get a lot of water leakage from rain – which leads to plaster damage, and then eventually you get structural damage.”
Chiming in on the proposed Lincoln Park Historic District, Fazzari added that he liked the idea of trying to preserve older, historic properties, but that there needed to be a “middle ground.”
“I agree that you shouldn’t demolish these old properties if they can be saved… But I also don’t think that someone on a limited budget, fixed-income or senior citizen, should have to go before the [planning board] or submit for approvals every time they want to paint their railing or replace a window.”
Finally, McManus said that if Jersey City could streamline the building department online it would be helpful for their business, homeowners, and people working in the department.