The Michaels Organization
Building community and transforming lives through real estate

The Michaels Organization breaks ground at The Branches at Centerville.

As Nick Cangelosi tells it, The Michaels Organization isn’t in the real estate business – it’s in the people business.

“Everything we do leads back to one thing: neighborhood prosperity,” says Cangelosi, Michaels vice president of affordable development. “A lot of folks in our business focus on ‘bricks and sticks,’ but for us it’s really about the people who live there. We want to build in a way that changes the narrative in the community and allows people to get a sense of safety, self-esteem and dignity from their homes.”

The Michaels Organization is a full-service residential real estate company that offers integrated services from development to property management, construction and finance – for both fair-market and low-income housing developments. Whether the company is engaged in new construction or revitalizing buildings, the focus is on housing solutions that help uplift the neighborhood.

Nick Cangelosi

“So many of the things many of us take for granted are not accessible to these communities,” says Cangelosi. “When we talk about neighborhood prosperity, it’s about addressing all the needs in a community – from self-esteem, health and wellness, education and inequality.”

To do that, Cangelosi says, community input is key. In the ’80s, Michaels partnered with nonprofit Better Tomorrows, so social workers and case managers can learn as much as they can about the people who live in the neighborhoods they’re developing.

“We want to know what’s holding these communities back, because that’s how we know where to step in,” says Cangelosi. “When they are in need of well-paying jobs, we will bring in educational, job placement and workforce training opportunities. If it’s the ability to cook healthy meals for their kids – since Camden is the biggest food desert in New Jersey – we create nutrition programs and cooking classes.”

Michaels’ partnership with Rutgers School of Nursing and Rutgers Health Centers brings in physicians and nursing students to provide health services. Through its partnership with Virtua Health, neighborhoods are serviced by Virtua’s mobile grocery cart – a bus that brings fresh, healthy food to parts of Camden. The company also offers a resident scholarship program, which has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to promising students in Camden.

The Michaels Organization Educational Foundation awards scholarship to recipient; Michaels Development hosts ribbon cutting at Cooper Plaza; The Branches II

Michaels has a long, rich history in South Jersey, especially in the redevelopment of the City of Camden. But there is one project in particular that really stands out for Cangelosi.

“When I think about the aha moment for me, it was at Clement T. Branch Village in Camden,” he says. “We spent 2 years meeting with residents before starting the development, hearing how they wanted their home to look, what improvements they needed. We don’t just want to come in and say, ‘Here’s what we think works.’ That never turns out well. We want to be solution-oriented, but we want to get our solutions from the residents themselves.”

“Everything we do leads back to one thing: neighborhood prosperity.”

At the time, he says, it felt almost impossible to demolish and rebuild 225 homes on 14 acres and create educational, health and wellness programs for the residents. But years later, the results speak for themselves. The work started in 2018. By 2019, 96% of residents had health insurance, says Cangelosi. By 2020, 93% of Branch Village high school students had graduated, half of all residents were employed and 685 residents had internet access. The number of homes with internet when the job started? Zero.

Currently Michaels is involved in redevelopment efforts at Ablett Village, the oldest public housing community in Camden. Located in the Cramer Hill neighborhood, 306 homes built in the early ’40s are in need of reinvestment and transformation, says Cangelosi. Funding has been secured from state and federal agencies, area banks as well as program investment from Virtua Health and Rutgers Camden School of Nursing to build a new community on Harrison Avenue, as well as to rebuild 250 new homes in and around the Village site – about a $140 million investment. And, he says, those are just a few examples.

“We’re big believers that a rising tide lifts all ships,” says Cangelosi. “We want to see the whole city improve. We’re committed to help in any way we can.”

 


 

As The Michaels Organization works to enhance communities, they look for like-minded companies and organizations with a track record of providing comprehensive care to their communities, says Nick Cangelosi, vice president of affordable development. Here’s what some of their partners have to say:

“The Michaels Organization grasps the importance of being community-conscious and recognizes the positive impact they can make in the daily lives of our Camden seniors, our children, our youth and our families by not only producing quality housing, but by offering our residents valuable employment opportunities.”
Camden City Mayor Victor Carstarphen

“Bringing health care directly to where residents are is possible because The Michaels Organization has the innovation to design a housing complex that would provide access to quality housing and health as one seamless service.”
Donna M. Nickitas, dean and professor, Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden

“Improving people’s lives through revitalized neighborhoods with safe and affordable housing is a shared mission between Michaels and Saint Joseph’s Carpenter Society. They bring not only expertise but also a love for the community and support for local stakeholders.”
Pilar Hogan Closkey, executive director, Saint Joseph’s Carpenter Society

“The Michaels Organization has a footprint in 35 states, but its headquarters – and therefore its heart – is in Camden City. Together, we are developing strategies that address affordable housing and health care access as intersecting factors that shape a person’s quality of life.”
Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, President & CEO, Virtua Health

“The Michaels Organization at its core believes good housing is foundational to giving Camden residents hope and providing them a pathway to a better life.”
Kris Kolluri, CEO, Camden Community Partnership

“TMO is a great representation of what it means to reinvest in community. Having local contractors work on construction projects, hiring local residents to work, and giving scholarships to students that live in their properties are just some of the things that make us recognize TMO as a leader in the Camden business community.”
Camden City Councilman Chris Collins

“The Michaels Organization offered to transform an empty storefront with new flooring, lights, sheetrock and appliances. Now, the center has become a mecca for artists, a safe haven for youth, a place where people can come to create and continue to dream.”
Cynthia Primas, President & CEO, Institute for the Development of Education in the Arts

“The Michaels Organization is a transformative partner and builder of dreams that works with residents to construct affordable housing while providing homeownership opportunities.”
Dana L. Redd, Former Camden Mayor

 

tmo.com

February 2022
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