Lehigh Valley March of Dimes Awards Event Goes Virtual

By Colin McEvoy on October 30, 2020

Frank T. Smith, Principal with NAI Summit (left), leads a panel discussion about the Lehigh Valley industrial market with (respectively) Keff Lockard of JLL, Kim Jacobsen of Lee & Associates, and Erich Schock of Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba.

Despite the global pandemic, the March of Dimes Commercial & Industrial Real Estate Awards Committee raised $108,000 through its annual Lehigh Valley event this year, according to said committee chair Steve Bowers.

That brings the total raised over the last 27 years to $1.6 million in support of the March of Dimes’ mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment, a contribution each and every one of you should be proud of for doing your individual part,” Bowers said. “The March of Dimes committee cannot thank you enough for your support during these extenuating circumstances.”

This prestigious event, held virtually on Zoom this year due to the COVID-19 crisis, has long honored individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the Lehigh Valley real estate market and local community through their efforts in real estate.

Held on Oct. 30, the honorees this year were attorney Joseph Zator as the 2020 Person of the Year, and the Majestic Bethlehem Center as the 2020 Project of the Year.

Project of the Year

Ed Konjoyan of Majestic Realty Co. displaying the March of Dimes award next to the Stanley Cup.

Ed Konjoyan, Senior Vice President of Majestic Realty Co., read a message of thanks from Majestic President Ed Roski, who also co-owns the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings. As he spoke, he displayed the March of Dimes award alongside one of the two Stanley Cups the Kings won in 2012 and 2014.

“What brought Majestic to Lehigh Valley in the first place is we felt the location and features of the Lehigh Valley were very attractive,” Roski said. “The Lehigh Valley is a dynamic area with a rich history and numerous amenities, (and) the large labor pool for our tenants to draw talent from was also very attractive.”

The Majestic Bethlehem Center is a dynamic area with a rich history and numerous amenities for employees and their families. It is located close to Interstate 78, with rail on site, next door to a Norfolk Southern intermodal facility, and not far from the large population centers of Philadelphia and New York City and their transportation infrastructure.

Majestic has a long history of community involvement and stewardship as part of its development approach. As a build-and-hold developer, Majestic considers itself a member of the communities where it puts down roots, Konjoyan said.

Person of the Year

Zator is one of the region’s top real estate and business attorneys, helping businesses and real estate developers navigate the many aspects of land development, including property acquisition and getting projects reviewed, approved and ready for construction.

Zator leads a practice that is renowned for both “good counsel” and for the integrity he and his colleagues demonstrate throughout the community. Joe has also been an active community leader in various organizations, and takes great pride in working with both developers and municipalities.

“As I look back on my years here in the Lehigh Valley, thinking of the projects and the work I’ve been involved with, really what’s most meaningful to me is the joy of the relationships I’ve developed with friends and clients,” Zator said. “It’s been a ride that has a long way to go yet, but is one that’s been really enjoyable.”

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) is a sponsor of the March of Dimes event, and LVEDC Director of Marketing Liz Martin serves on the organizing committee.

Industrial market outlook

Frank T. Smith, Principal with NAI Summit, moderated a panel discussion about the Lehigh Valley industrial market with Jeff Lockard, Executive Vice President with JLL; Kim Jacobsen, Principal with Lee & Associates; and Erich Schock, Co-Managing Shareholder and Chair of Real Estate, Land Use & Development with Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba.

Lockert said Lehigh Valley remains an important industrial market, not just in the Northeast but nationally, due in part to the continued expansion of parcel carriers like FedEx and UPS, strong labors, access to markets, and proximity to the Port of New York & New Jersey and major metropolitan areas like New York City and Philadelphia.

They also discussed the acceleration of the e-commerce industry since the pandemic began, and how Lehigh Valley is well-poised to benefit from that trend. Lockard cited projections that e-commerce market growth has seen the equivalent of five years of growth over the last 10 months.

“We sit in a very unique location in which millions of people can be serviced within a two-hour drive time of this market, including metropolitan New York, Philadelphia and other points within the state,” Jacobsen said. “So the Lehigh Valley has really become one of those desired markets from an e-commerce standpoint.”

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