Joseph A. Panepinto Sr. (Left), Founder of Panepinto Properties, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 9th Annual Jersey City Summit. The award was presented by W. Nevins McCann, a partner with Connell Foley LLP.
General Business

Developer Panepinto Honored at Jersey City Summit

Joseph A. Panepinto Sr., founder of Panepinto Properties, has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the recently held 9th Annual Jersey City Summit.

The award recognized Panepinto’s nearly 50 years of transformative development and philanthropic contributions to Jersey City. His vision and commitment have played a pivotal role in the city’s renaissance, with his influence visible from the reimagined Hudson River waterfront to the bustling Grove Street district to historic Journal Square.

This marks the second Lifetime Achievement recognition by the Jersey City Summit, following the inaugural honor last year that went to Richard LeFrak.

Under Panepinto’s leadership since its founding in 1977, Panepinto Properties has built a portfolio comprising more than 17.6 million square feet both domestically and abroad. This substantial breadth of work has not only fueled remarkable economic growth, but has also helped transform Jersey City into a thriving international destination.

“Joe Panepinto’s dedication to Jersey City is unparalleled,” said Sherif Abouzied, founding principal of The Jersey City Summit. “His nearly five decades of visionary work have not only reshaped the skyline, but also revitalized neighborhoods, fostering a vibrant and thriving community. We couldn’t think of a more deserving individual for our Lifetime Achievement Award.”

During the award ceremony, which included a fireside chat with W. Nevins McCann, a partner with Connell Foley LLP, Panepinto reflected on his lifelong connection to Jersey City. Born in the 1940s, Panepinto witnessed the city’s decline, but chose to stay and invest in its future.

After graduating from Seton Hall Law School, he served as planning board attorney and redevelopment agency attorney for the city and was a part of the principal team drafting plans for urban redevelopment.

Transitioning to development, Panepinto helped spark a resurgence in the city. Notable projects over the years include the construction of Maher Terminals’ corporate headquarters at 1 Journal Square Plaza; partnering with Hartz Mountain Industries to build the ADP office building; partnering with Mack-Cali Realty Corporation to add Harborside Financial Center Plaza 10; and partnering with Ironstate Development Company to develop The Columbus Collection, a mixed-use project at the Grove Street Path entrance comprising residential, street-level retail space, and a Residence Inn by Marriott; and partnering with Urby on Journal Square Urby, a 317-unit building that will be opening shortly.

Panepinto was also instrumental in bringing ferry service to what is now Exchange Place on property that was vacated by the Colgate-Palmolive manufacturing facilities. “That was the game changer, when commuters were able to take the ferry from Jersey City to Manhattan to go to work,” said Mr. Panepinto. “Some companies also started to realize that they would be better off locating their offices in Jersey City.”

Panepinto believes that one of the keys to success is in choosing trusted partners. “Most of my partners were people I had known through my work with the city or during my time as a lawyer,” he said.

In addition, his barometer was always – “If it’s good for Jersey City, it’s good for us,” a principle he still upholds today as he remains a key player in Jersey City’s growth and economic vitality. The company’s ongoing developments continue to shape the city’s landscape and contribute to its prosperity. Current projects include 499 Summit Ave, a 53-story, 605-unit rental building rising next to the Journal Square Transportation Center, and Harborside 4, in partnership with Related Companies, that will deliver 50- and 38-story buildings with 800 units to the downtown waterfront.

Beyond real estate, Panepinto’s philanthropic efforts have made a lasting impact on Jersey City. He has been instrumental in saving historic landmarks like the Loew’s Theatre and has served on the governing boards of institutions such as St. Peter’s University, Christ Hospital, and supports RWJ Barnabas Health Jersey City Medical Center and his son, Joseph Panepinto Jr., is a board member.

Though a first-generation company, Panepinto Properties is positioned to continue for generations to come, with Joseph Sr.’s son, daughters, and sons-in-laws actively involved in the company’s operations. This multi-generational involvement ensures the continuation of his legacy and injects fresh perspectives and energy into Panepinto Properties.

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