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Tenant Spotlight: First Bergen Title Agency

Hackensack, N.J. |

For over seven decades, we have understood that real estate development and ownership involves much more than bricks and mortar.  For us, success is built upon lasting relationships cultivated through a steadfast commitment to integrity and the highest standards of tenant service. 

The vision is exemplified through the numerous tenants who have trusted us with their business for decades. Whether they have been with us for two months or fifty years, we sincerely thank all of our tenants for their partnership. As we mark our milestone 75th anniversary throughout 2020, we would like to share some of their stories of growth and detail how our long-term ownership strategy has helped make a difference for their businesses.

First Bergen Title Agency, Court Plaza North, 25 Main Street, Hackensack, N.J.

As massive changes swept through their industry, First Bergen Title Agency knew that one thing would remain consistent – their landlord.

Often an overlooked component of many real estate transactions, title insurance has grown into an elevated and more visible role over the last decade. With recent law changes and the increasing complexity of real estate negotiations, title insurers have quickly moved from being largely back office parts of a real estate transaction into customer-facing, active participants in closing deals. Despite constant change, First Bergen Title Agency has been a fixture in the state for over 63 years.

The firm was founded under the name of Commonwealth Lawyers Abstract Company in 1957 by Allen Meccia, Sr. and later acquired by Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company in 1963. Their relationship with Alfred Sanzari Enterprises began in November of 1986 when the firm relocated from another space in Hackensack to the then-newly constructed Court Plaza office complex, a building that Meccia, Sr. described as, “The crown jewel of Bergen County.”

In 2002, the company began operating independently once again under the guidance of Allen Meccia, Jr., Leo Foose, and Allen Meccia, Sr., initially as Commonwealth Bergen Title Agency, LLC, later changing its name to First Bergen Title Agency, LLC. In 2008, the Great Recession tore through the economy and, more specifically, the real estate industry. For a business focused on closing real estate transactions, the sudden lack of market activity caused by the Great Recession caused First Bergen to re-think its position relative to its office space needs. Additionally, advances in technology led to diminishing space needs as First Bergen no longer needed to store thousands of files in their office. As they looked to downsize and adjust to respond to the crisis, the company’s lease with Alfred Sanzari Enterprises came up for renewal.

At the majority of office buildings, landlords are bound by investor demands and, unfortunately, are not in the position to help tenants facing crises like First Bergen Title Agency faced in 2008. However, Alfred Sanzari Enterprises is unlike most landlords. Their decision on what to do next was an easy one, guided by the simple idea that the company was founded upon 75 years ago.

Do the right thing.

Working closely with First Bergen’s leadership team, Alfred Sanzari Enterprises was able to help secure a smaller space in Court Plaza that would ensure that First Bergen could continue operating out of the complex. This would limit disruptions to the business in the midst of dramatic change, while helping them to navigate the challenging economic conditions.

Allen Meccia, Jr., Managing Member of First Bergen Title Agency, described the firm’s long relationship with Alfred Sanzari Enterprises, “Going back to my father’s initial lease in 1986 and many renewals since then, Alfred Sanzari Enterprises’ family-oriented approach to ownership and hands-on tenant service provides us with the peace of mind every business owner searches for in their office space. However, our experience working with them during what was a critical moment for our business showcased why they are truly unique in this industry. As our business continues to grow, we know that we have a landlord that we can count on in both good times and bad.”

Emerging from the recession, the firm remains a stable force in the title industry, due in part to its uncompromising ethics, the integrity of its team and an unwavering commitment to customer service. Under the leadership of Meccia Jr., First Bergen Title Agency provides title insurance protection and settlement services for homebuyers, real estate professionals, attorneys, lenders, homebuilders and real estate developers. The agency represents a one-source solution for real estate purchases, refinances and leasehold transactions and has completed more than 200,000 transactions to date. Recent changes to rules governing real estate transactions have placed title insurers front and center during the closing process, often interacting face-to-face with buyers, sellers, attorneys, and lenders in this crucial phase of the transaction. With a modern layout, easy access, and covered parking, Court Plaza provides an attractive and welcoming space for their new customer-facing roles in real estate transaction while also providing them with the flexibility to accommodate for their staff’s space needs.

Today, three of Allen’s four children work at the firm and their lease at Court Plaza has positioned the company for continued success as it enters its third generation of family leadership.

“We have always been guided by the simple philosophy of doing the right thing,” said Jerry Barta, Vice President and Director, Leasing and Marketing at Alfred Sanzari Enterprises. “Over our entire history, doing the right thing has allowed our company to forge strong long-term relationships with hundreds of businesses throughout New Jersey and become a trusted partner in their growth. As a family business ourselves, we have been honored to work closely with the Meccias over their 34 years at Court Plaza to ensure that the space continually exceeds their expectations and can be a home that they are proud of.”