Kriegman & Smith, Inc., a multifamily real estate investment and property management firm, is marking its 50th anniversary. This milestone underscores not only the longevity of the business, but just as important, the number of properties that have remained under management with the company over multiple generations, throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Founded by Michael Smith and Sam Kriegman in 1972, the firm grew from one desk and two northern New Jersey communities comprising 240 units to a portfolio of 6,000 apartment and townhouse units in two states. The company owns and manages garden apartments, mid-rises, luxury high rises, and townhouse-style duplex apartments across a range of rental rates. Kriegman & Smith’s portfolio also includes properties it manages for third-party investors, including three non-profit affordable housing properties.
Today, the company is run by second-generation Co-Owner Jeffrey Smith and Co-Owner Adam Kaplan, who are committed to the firm’s founding principles: a dedication to maintaining high-quality luxury and affordable workforce housing available for renters – for those just starting out in life to residents who remain tenants for decades.
“Kriegman & Smith’s history has not only been one of growth through acquisition and third-party partnerships, but also one that demonstrates longevity and stability among its properties, as well as employees. We’ve always been committed to long-term goals and relationships,” Kaplan said.
A history of longstanding relationships
- The company is still managing the original buildings it started with 50 years ago.
- Forty-five percent of Kriegman & Smith’s third-party management clients have been with the company for 10 or more years.
- Since 2015, the portfolio has grown by 17% and includes properties from the northern to the southern-most counties in New Jersey and that extend into central Pennsylvania, as well.
- The firm manages over 200 employees across its portfolio.
- One-third of the Kriegman & Smith team have worked there for 10 or more years, and half of these employees have been with the firm for more than two decades.
“One reason why we have maintained so many properties and retained so many employees across generations is that our core values have never wavered and are still our guiding principles 50 years later,” said Smith. “We treat each building as if it were our own. That’s never changed.
“To that end, we are committed to delivering well-maintained properties that have benefited from strong investment in their upkeep and upgrades, with high-quality components meant to serve multiple generations of owners, managers and tenants,” Smith noted.
The company has also invested substantially in its own infrastructure to meet the challenging rental environment.
“We’re a small company committed to running our buildings with the same values our founders relied upon, but much like the large national firms, we have invested in the latest, most sophisticated property management technology to optimize operating procedures,” said Kaplan, referring to its back-end integration with the firm’s website and digital tools for leasing agents, regional managers, resident managers and maintenance teams.
An owner’s perspective in third-party property management
Smith attributes some of the company’s success and longevity to the owners’ approach to property management, which has fueled its growth as a niche management operator for investor/owners and its expansion of services for those clients.
“Generational owners of multifamily properties turn to us because they will get more personalized service than they would from the bigger players, who cannot provide the same high level of attention we can. These clients know that, as a third-generation, family-owned and -operated company, we appreciate the owner’s perspective and understand the importance of relationships and responsiveness across stakeholders—from the owners themselves to their leasing teams, superintendents and of course, residents,” said Smith.
Property owners speak and work directly with Smith and Kaplan, without having to go through gatekeepers and a corporate chain of command, and appreciate the flexibility available to them to meet their varied needs, instead of cookie cutter services.
Lisa D’Allesandro, a managing member at Candal Properties LLC, has been a client of Kriegman & Smith since 2015, which manages their Hackensack, NJ, luxury high rise building with 267 units, concurs,” Like Kriegman & Smith, we are a family-owned business, too, and appreciate the hands-on service and accessibility of the firm’s management team. There are some formulas you just don’t change, and like us, they treat their staff like family.”
Longstanding management of senior residences
Kriegman & Smith also operates multiple communities for low-income seniors, some for 35 years or longer.
“We are among a small group of property management companies that manage both market rate and subsidized properties,” said Kaplan. “We’re very proud of this and value those properties and our relationships with them.”
Those relationships have extended to both the management team and company employees getting personally involved, from showing up to flip burgers at barbeques to setting up and coordinating a COVID-19 vaccination drive at three sites through a partnership with Walgreen’s. For example, in January 2021, when vaccines were not yet widely available and appointments were challenging to access, the Kriegman & Smith team was able to get residents vaccinated and volunteered on site at all three residences in Union and Nutley as part of the company’s commitment to community service.
Kriegman & Smith celebrated its 50th anniversary officially with an employee event on June 23. More information about the company is at www.kriegmanandsmith.com.