The legacy began as an opportunity during the dark days of the Great Depression. Beginning his career as a mortgage broker, Charles Punia traveled down the unbeaten path of the 1930's and, with the help of his banker contacts, bought back foreclosed properties in New York City.
By bringing the mortgages current, Charles gained title to each property and welcomed himself into the real estate world. A generous, understanding man, Charles made each of his buildings affordable to rent during the tough economic times and has been quoted in saying 'pay me what you can, when you can'.
Those words followed Charles for the rest of his life; he was known for being a world-class business man with a gentleman's persona and a reputation to match. In a time where 'you could make a deal on a handshake,' Charles, along with lifelong investment partner William Marx, made headlines throughout New York City.
Headlines included '$4 Million Suites Started in Queens' (NY Times, 1950), 'Brooklyn Realty Men Give $200,000' (NY Times, 1951) and 'Charles Punia Awarded at 1960 Brooklyn Real Estate Board' (NY Times, 1960). Charles was multifaceted; every apartment, industrial building, town home, shopping center and vacant lot that he touched turned to gold. Fortunately, he passed his knowledge and expertise to his sons and grandsons.
Under the guidance of their father, Leonard and Herbert Punia completed their first 200 family apartment complex in 1946 on Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. By 1960, the Punias began to leave their mark on the ever-expanding New Jersey real estate market.
Accumulation of properties became their trademark for the next 35 years. The Punia Company and its entities grew beyond anyone's wildest dreams, extending into New York State, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The most recent milestone for the Punia Company occurred in 1997 when First Industrial Realty Trust acquired 175 acres and 1.75 million square feet of 48 highly occupied light industrial, warehouse and research & development buildings.
This acquisition, as huge as it was, only motivated the Punias. With the help of third generation family, Herbert and Leonard have kept their presence well-known in the tri state area.
The Punia Company and its entities currently own more than 5,000 units of apartments in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, as well as, more than one million square feet of commercial space. As a pioneer with a vision, Charles Punia laid the groundwork for what has been, what is now, and what is yet to come.
In a historically competitive real estate market, with the commitment of countless employees and an eager fourth generation entering the business, the Punia Company will continue to build on existing strengths.
William Marx, the oldest of 8 children, was born into a Brooklyn real estate family in March of 1900. It was a period of hard times, but even so, William learned the Real Estate business at the coat tails of his father Barnet Marx.
Circa 1920, William and his father became part of the first group of people licensed for Real Estate Brokerage and Sales; having been "grandfathered-in" under the modern Real Estate code of New York Sate.Without an office of their own, they initially conducted business while standing in front of, what was then, the Title Guarantee and Trust Company. Just a few steps away, they later established their own office at 16 Court Street, a place they made their "home" and lauded for more then 50 years.
It was at that very site that "Bill" and "Marx Senior" were introduced to a young builder named Charles Punia, who was attempting to sell a piece of property. When they asked "Charlie" how much commission expected on the sale, his response was "just sell it and give me a box of cigars". the three gentlemen shook hands and history was made.
Throughout the years, Bill and Charlie surpassed anything they might have dreamt. They weathered the Real Estate Depression of the 1930's and revolutionized building, brokering, and financing, for all time. Known as the "Romance Partnership" their joined force changed the skyline of all five boroughs, culminating in a conglomeration of various architects, federal authorities, and financiers to help bring about the true modern era of Real Estate, including the "co-oping" of various properties.
The list of commendations, awards, and tribute dinners are unfathomable for not only their business acumen, but also for their dedication to the betterment of society, their charitable work, and their dedication to fellow man. With their loving wives at their side, Bill and Charlie continued to be a united leading force of positive action throughout their lifetime.