Through four decades of his life, people thought he was crazy. City planners and politicians thought so. His peers thought so. But he persisted in his vision for New Brunswick, New Jersey, and today his company Boraie Development LLC has been instrumental in the New Brunswick rebirth.
A native of Egypt, a chemistry scholar, Omar Boraie came to Rutgers University–New Brunswick to pursue a doctorate degree. In the process, he bought a house and fell in love with real estate development – and the New Brunswick of the 1970’s. Once a thriving commercial hub, New Brunswick had fallen into decay, abandoned by developers who lacked the foresight and passion that Omar had. Where others saw craziness, Omar saw possibilities and hope. To all his detractors and skeptics, he simply shrugged and said: “It will work.”
Omar faced what seemed insurmountable challenges; Twenty-one vacant and dilapidated buildings on just one New Brunswick downtown block. So he bought all those buildings and in their place built Albany Street Plaza Tower One, followed by Tower Two completed in 2003. They are office buildings, bringing much-needed office space, 250,000 square feet, spurring more growth within the city. But for the city to continue its prosperity it needed residential units. Omar saw the demand and went ahead. A crazy idea, many thought again. Can you really do a profitable New York City-style condominium in downtown New Brunswick?
Today, One Spring Street Condominium’s 121 residences, retail and office space, rise twenty-five stories high, tallest building in New Brunswick.
Omar’s love for his New Brunswick community extends to other endeavors too: Member of both the Board of Trustees for the State Theater and the advisory board for the nonprofit Elijah’s Promise. His contribution was instrumental in renovating the State Theater into a modern Opera, Broadway show, Classical and family events venue. For over 18 years, Elijah’s Promise has been a mainstay for low-income members of the Central New Jersey community who suffer from hunger and seek justice.
It doesn’t matter Omar is 75-years old, his vision and projects for a better New Brunswick persist today.