PELHAM, N.Y. -- Rella Fogliano learned the real estate development business from the ground up at the foot of her father.
Now, 32 years after she joined the business, Fogliano has overseen the growth of Pelham-based MacQuesten Development as one of the leading property development companies in New York.
Fogliano will be one of six individuals and companies to be honored on Tuesday, April 21, at The Business Council of Westchester’s Hall of Fame Awards at the Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle. Tickets are available through The Business Council of Westchester website .
Fogliano will accept the Woman in Business Success Award from The Business Council of Westchester.
Success understates Fogliano’s impact at MacQuesten. The firm was founded in 1960 as a Mount Vernon-based family construction business by her father, Sabino. Fogliano joined in 1983 after she graduated from Fordham University.
Sabino retired in 1988, and his daughter formed MacQuesten General Contracting and continued to work with many of the same clients. In the early 1990s, she set out to develop properties the company acquired. She focused on building affordable housing projects, and started with the 62-unit Hughes Avenue Crescent project in the Bronx.
That project opened in March of 1996, and is still in the MacQuesten portfolio. The company has developed 11 buildings and 1,500 units of affordable housing in New York City and Westchester. The company’s most recent project is Heritage Homes in New Rochelle – a $72 million, three-phase, 228-unit housing project in partnership with the New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority.
“In this very competitive business, it is critical to be prepared to learn everything from the ground up, and to be a good listener, even to people outside of the field,’’ Fogliano, now the President of the company, said in a story she wrote for LoHud.com in February. “Sometimes you can learn more about a neighborhood from a taxi driver than a market study.”
The company recently broke ground for a Transit Oriented Development in downtown Mount Vernon called The Modern. MacQuesten has a portfolio of over $140 million in completed projects. Over the next five years, it will have in excess of $200 million in current projects and developments throughout the five boroughs and Westchester County.
Fogliano has won numerous awards, and was named Developer of the Year by the New York Housing Conference and the National Housing Conference in 2014.
Fogliano said one of her challenges is to debunk the perception that affordable housing is for the poor. "In the New York metro area housing costs are so high that affordable housing programs are needed even for many middle-income families,’’ she said in her Journal-News story.
Fogliano’s father bought vacant parcels and then flipped them to other developers. She begged him to let her have a crack at affordable housing development. She has since found her niche in the competitive real estate development industry.
“I am lucky that I have found my calling,’’ she said. “There's never a day that I don't enjoy being a part of this creative, dynamic and ever-changing industry.”
The other Hall of Fame honorees are:
- Corporate Citizenship: New York Medical College in Valhalla.
- Entrepreneurial Success: Mindspark in Yonkers.
- Small Business Success: York International Agency, LLC in Harrison.
- Family Owned Business: American Christmas in Mount Vernon.
- Chairman’s Recognition Award: Beecher Flooks Funeral Home in Pleasantville.
Visit The Business Council of Westchester website to learn more about the Hall of Fame awards.