The Cali family is considered one of the leaders in New Jersey real estate. For over a half century, the Calis have led the industry, anticipating trends and opportunities, and capitalizing on these opportunities to provide first-class homes and class A high quality offices for residents and businesses throughout the state.
The Calis' involvement in real estate dates back to the late 1940's. Foreseeing a need for housing after World War II, Angelo and John J. Cali, along with childhood friend Ed Leshowitz, began developing single family properties, and went on to develop 6,000 homes and apartment units.
As the suburban population grew and businesses began considering a suburban - rather than a city - location, the Cali's focus in the 1960s turned to developing office space in New Jersey. Cali Associates went on to develop over 4 million square feet of commercial properties, including 18 class A office buildings totaling 3 million square feet which includes landmark properties such as 20 Commerce Drive (also known as the "clock tower building") in Cranford, 50 Tice Boulevard in Woodcliff Lake, Liberty Hall Corporate Center in Union and International Financial Tower at 95 Christopher Columbus Drive in Jersey City.
Brothers John J. (seated) and Angelo R. Cali (far right), their sons Brant (standing) and John R. Cali.
The trademark of Cali office buildings was the incorporation of the dramatic atrium space, which the Cali's introduced to suburban New Jersey with their development of 101 Eisenhower Parkway in Roseland in 1980. The company insisted on such spectacular design elements long before they became fashionable and continually insisted on quality delivery.
In addition to excellent design and construction and appealing aesthetics, the Calis developed a reputation built on integrity, unique culture partnership, strong relationships, a hands-on approach, and complete attention to detail. Brant Cali and John R. Cali - sons of John J. and Angelo Cali, respectively - who played a greater role in the company throughout the 80's and 90's, overseeing development, leasing, marketing and property management, continued to operate under the founders' philosophy of partnerships, long-term tenant relationships, and putting their customers first. This approach to managing properties is why businesses looked to the Calis for their office space solutions as their businesses evolved.
Sighting the potential for opportunity in Jersey City, Cali Associates was a pioneer in the Jersey City waterfront submarket. The company developed the beautiful 622,000 square-foot, 19-story International Financial Tower at 95 Christopher Columbus Drive in 1989 - years before the waterfront became one of the country's top submarkets for corporate locations.
Numerous Cali buildings have been recipients of the prestigious New Jersey Good Neighbor Award for outstanding contributions to their communities. Cali Associates was also named "Developer of the Year" in 1986 by the New Jersey Subcontractors Association and "Division I Developer of the Year" in 1990 by the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP).
In 1994, Cali Associates was one of the few private real estate companies to recognize the need to grow through access to the capital markets. The company went public as Cali Realty Corporation, transforming itself from a family-owned development and management company to the first office real estate investment trust (REIT) in New Jersey. After its initial public offering, Cali Realty Corporation aggressively built up its portfolio through several significant acquisitions. In 1996, the Company expanded into Pennsylvania and at the same time acquired the 1.9 million square-foot Harborside Financial Center on the Jersey City waterfront including developable land for 6 million square feet of space - the largest single commercial real estate transaction in New Jersey's history at the time.
Cali Realty Corporation's position as industry leader was recognized in 1996 with the prestigious Impact Award from the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), an award presented annually to the company with the greatest influence on the New Jersey real estate industry. The following year, International Financial Tower in Jersey City was awarded the 1997 Office Building of the Year Award by the New Jersey Chapter of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).
Cali Realty Corporation became one of the most well known and respected REITs in the nation. In 1997, the company acquired Westchester-based Robert Martin Company, expanding its Northeast presence. Later that year, Cali made history by announcing its $1.2 billion merger with The Mack Company, creating a REIT powerhouse with over 22 million square feet of office space throughout the country - which grew to 28 million square feet by 2000. During this period, John R. and Brant Cali were instrumental in forging the Company's success.
In June of 2000, both John R. and Brant tendered their resignations leaving the Mack-Cali Company as employees to pursue other interest and business ventures. John R. and John J. Cali remain on the Advisory Board of Mack-Cali Realty Corp. Joined by their fathers, who were the founders of Cali Associates, and their cousin Phillip Cali, Jr., they founded Cali Futures LLC in 2001. John J. Cali is Chairman Emeritus of Mack-Cali Realty Corp.
Since that time they have started several projects and are pursuing many others. Often the Calis develop projects in joint venture with strategic partners. Cali Futures completed a single family custom home project in Parsippany; acquired, obtained approvals, and sold a 162 unit seniors project in Bridgewater; began construction in late 2004 on a 237 unit mixed senior residential project in Franklin Township, NJ, which has been sold; and broke ground on a 258 room corporate executive suites project in Clifton, NJ, which has been sold. The Calis continue to explore many projects in the tri-state region, as well as in several communities within New Jersey.
The Calis have also ventured into the telecommunications market by constructing a more cost effective alternate conduit system linking NY & NJ under the Hudson River. Costs are exorbitant and capacity nearly exhausted in the current more vulnerable crossings in commuter tunnels.
In February 2016, the Calis completed Park Bayonne, a 60-unit luxury apartment building. Nestled next to a 100-acre park, Park Bayonne offers quality construction, innovative technology, and amenities that include a rooftop deck and lounge with stunning views of New York City. Wherever their ventures take them - whether managing a small family business, a construction project, or a multi-billion dollar company - the Calis' foresight, ability to partner with quality organizations, and their commitment to deliver excellence will continue the family's distinguished legacy.