From Uptown to Journal Square - A Real Estate Brokerage finds a new home in Journal Square

“When you see something early on you always ask the question, "am I crazy or is this really happening!?" 

Gardner Rivera, MSRED, is a native New Yorker who saw the evolution of Jersey City and Journal Square about 4 years ago. He decided very recently to open Paper City Real Estate to bring real estate services to a rapidly growing Journal Square. Journal Square, a neighborhood in Jersey City characterized by the PATH Train, a host of colleges and trade schools and its local retail strip is now becoming one of the hottest neighborhoods on the East Coast. A resurgence of the area is being led by a pro-development Mayor and millions of dollars in development capital by local and national real estate developers. Perfect place to open a real estate office??? Gardner seems to think so.

Q: Why Journal Square?

"The prices in Manhattan and the boroughs were reaching epic heights and I started to do the math… I figured that multifamily buildings in Jersey City Heights and Journal Square held the most value per unit. In most cases, you are between 10-30 minutes from Manhattan or Brooklyn.  Journal Square is closer to Wall Street than most neighborhoods in Manhattan!"

Q: What is Paper City Real Estate Group?

“Paper City Real Estate Group, is a new full service brokerage firm focusing on the Journal Square neighborhood. It's a company I founded on simple principles. If you train and empower real estate professionals to provide client value with integrity, you really can't lose. PCRG is going to focus on residential and commercial sales.  It will also have a huge rental business.  We want to be the go-to broker for rentals in Journal Square. We are launching an ad campaign early next year to encourage the exodus from New York City. I’ve jokingly said - "The space is bigger, the rent is cheaper, the commute is faster and the view is better! Why not move??!?"

I chose Journal Square because of where it was going. You see cities like Wynwood and Williamsburg evolve and wish you were in on the ground floor. There is a tremendous amount of capital being put into the city.  KABR and its affiliates alone are pouring about $1B in construction dollars into Jersey City. With large developments by the PATH as a catalyst, the growth will be unprecedented. Essentially a new city is being built."

Q: How are you specifically different from other brokers?

“I sold my clients the building I'm leasing! They invited me to open my office there. I was extremely humbled. It was really a testament to the service I provided. I prefer that kind of rich relationship with my clients. I care about their birthdays and their kid’s soccer games. I will never forget that there is a living, breathing, hardworking human being sitting across the table.

Technically, I have been in Commercial Real Estate at some level my entire adult career. My skill set and relationships are such that I can get a complex deal done and provide a level of sophistication most brokerage offices simply cannot. I want to open doors for Paper City agents and provide them with actionable training. I personally want agents to stay with Paper City and grow their assets by participating in development and investment. I want them to get smarter and versed in real estate as an industry. If you are part of the team you are family.  Paper City Real Estate Group is definitely a different breed of brokerage.

I love the work I do, I am passionate about my life, my career and the people around me.  I'm honest no matter what it costs and grateful for every single day. 

Gardner Rivera, MSRED & Paper City in the News

Jersey City & Margules Properties: Perfect Together

By Chris Fry -

May 11, 2016

NYC-based Margules Properties closed last week on yet another property in Jersey City, this one at 2800 Kennedy Boulevard, further demonstrating their confidence in the rebirth starting to take place in the Journal Square neighborhood.

The 9,500-square-foot two-story building, a retail facility formerly home to Empire Beauty School, sold for just over $1.5 million. The sale follows the company buying up five properties in Jersey City near the Journal Square hub last fall, mostly of the mixed-use variety.

Margules Properties president Eric Margules says that the company plans to lease the new building to another business. The purchase of 2800 Kennedy Boulevard now gives the company more than 1.25 million square feet of development rights in the Journal Square neighborhood, making them a significant stakeholder in the future of Jersey City.

The splurge comes at a time of significant change in the area. The first 52-story tower in KRE Group’s Journal Squared project should open later this year and 240 residential units at 3 Journal Square are on track to be completed early next year. There are also many proposed developments, like One Journal Square and Baldwin Place , that haven’t broken ground yet, but appear to be coming soon.

Margules told the New York Times back in January that working in Jersey City has its advantages for the company. “In Jersey City, you have mostly local brokers. People know us. We have a pretty big presence there, so brokers come to us first. We get a lot of off-market deals and we’re able to buy those kind of things for pretty good prices,” he told the paper.

Independent broker Gardner Rivera, who represented both Margules and the seller in the latest transaction, told Jersey Digs that the deal wasn’t without its hurdles. “One of the challenges was getting two parties with distinctly different business models to agree to things that were important to the other but not necessarily important to them,” he said, adding that he was thankful he had “capable parties on both sides.”

Rivera also appreciates that Margules Properties saw the value in Jersey City very early on and has expanded their presence. “The reason I enjoyed working with them is not because I know they can complete a transaction, but because of the type of individuals they are,” he said.

Rivera is also a managing member of Paper City Investments, which he says he founded “to focus on urban areas in New Jersey that were overlooked.” The company is building their first multifamily luxury project in Red Bank, N.J. and is currently looking at a few sites in Jersey City to develop. He’s looking forward to opportunities to develop locally.

“Even the fringes are being developed, it’s like pioneering in a major city,” he says.