100th anniversary
Real Estate

Hanson Family Celebrates 100 Years in the Real Estate Business

Landmark event highlighted Hanson family’s legacy of success and bright future ahead

Three generations of the Hanson family were joined by more than 160 employees of The Hampshire Companies, NAI James E. Hanson, and Roebling Investment Company and their guests on Jan. 12 at Pleasantdale Chateau to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Hanson family’s work in the real estate industry.

The Hanson story began with James E. Hanson’s initial foray into commercial leasing and residential sales in the rapidly emerging Bergen County real estate market in the early 1920s. Throughout the 1930s, James E. Hanson worked tirelessly to expand his business across Bergen County. Following the United States’ entrance into WWII in 1941, Hanson’s leadership and business experience were tapped by the Bendix Corporation, a forerunner of Honeywell based in Teterboro that manufactured instruments and equipment for military aircraft. Through his work in Teterboro during the war and the rapid post-war growth of Bergen County, Hanson’s recognized an opportunity to oversee the transformation of the 560-acre swampy area surrounding Teterboro Airport into the nation’s first single-story industrial park.

The success of the Teterboro Industrial Terminal paved the way for James E. Hanson to launch his own company and in 1955 he started James E. Hanson and Company with his three sons, Peter O. Hanson, SIOR, Jon F. Hanson, and Donald L. Hanson, eventually joining him in the business.

Following James E. Hanson’s untimely death in 1966, the leadership of the business was passed to Peter, Jon and Donald who oversaw James E. Hanson and Company’s growth into a national real estate development, investment and management firm.

“My father began his career in the real estate industry one hundred years ago on the simple foundation of tireless hard work and steadfast integrity,” said Jon F. Hanson. “As a family and across our businesses we honor his legacy in the work we do each day and use the lessons he taught us over the years to continue to build success in an increasingly competitive real estate landscape.”

When Peter, Jon, and Donald’s children expressed interest in joining the family business, the brothers recognized the potential challenges that often arise when a family business transitions from the second to the third generation.

“It is exceptionally rare for family businesses to thrive well into their third and fourth generation,” said Donald L. Hanson. “We’ve been able to be successful and continue that success across multiple generations due to my dad instilling in us the importance of mentoring future generations and by modeling his entrepreneurial spirit to guide our growth.”

To ensure the continuation of the family legacy, the brothers split James E. Hanson and Company into three separately owned companies. Peter became Chairman of NAI James E. Hanson, Jon became Chairman of The Hampshire Companies, and Donald became Chairman of Roebling Investment Company.

Under the leadership of Peter, Jon, Donald, their sons William C. Hanson, SIOR, James E. Hanson II, Michael Hanson and daughter, Deborah Paige Hanson, the businesses have grown into three of the industry’s most respected commercial real estate companies. Today, NAI James E. Hanson is the largest independent commercial real estate firm in New Jersey, The Hampshire Companies is a full-service private real estate investment firm with investments across the nation, and Roebling Investment Company specializes in single-tenant retail and office building investments across the country.

The 100th-anniversary celebration featured a panel discussion moderated by James E. Hanson II, CEO and President of The Hampshire Companies providing a candid and insightful discussion from Peter O. Hanson, SIOR, Jon F. Hanson and Donald L. Hanson. The panel detailed the stories behind their respective companies and how the powerful legacy of James E. Hanson continues to guide their work.“The Hanson Legacy”, a documentary highlighting the Hanson family’s history in the real estate business and the goals of the third and fourth generations of Hanson family leadership was premiered at the event.

Peter O. Hanson, SIOR, added, “We are honored to celebrate this milestone with our employees as our success would be impossible without their contributions and commitment to the important values that our companies were founded upon. We look forward to their continued hard work as we grow each of our companies to meet the needs of our clients, investors and partners in the decades to come.”

As the companies look to the future, the next generation of leaders from the Hanson family including Jon F. Hanson II, Kristin Hanson Lynn, Jenna Imperatore Korn, Alexander G. Imperatore, Christopher Jon Imperatore, and Harold James Imperatore will ensure that James E. Hanson’s legacy continues and the companies will reach new levels of success in the coming years.

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