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The most important service I can provide to a client is to help them reach the ‘finish line’ in a timely and cost-effective way. I often see my role as not just a legal consultant, but also as a member of a team with a common goal.

Mr. Beckelman focuses his practice in redevelopment, land use and zoning, eminent domain, affordable housing and related litigation. He represents developers and property owners in connection with land use and zoning matters and disputes, as well as municipalities as special redevelopment, housing or litigation counsel.

Mr. Beckelman’s transactional work includes the drafting and negotiation of contracts, developer and tax abatement agreements, and the preparation of redevelopment reports, plans and public documents. He advises clients on statutory and regulatory compliance issues related to redevelopment projects, municipal governance, state agency reviews and approvals, and affordable housing requirements.

Mr. Beckelman regularly appears in New Jersey Superior Court in land use, zoning, condemnation, commercial and civil litigation matters. He represents clients in appearances before local boards, governing bodies and state agencies. His experience also encompasses environmental litigation and compliance, code enforcement issues, local government laws, procurements, public bidding and contracts, elections and lobbying laws, Tidelands and CAFRA issues, and municipal court matters.

Honors & Awards

  • Selected for inclusion by NJBIZ as a “Leader in Law” in the publication’s Vanguard Series of professional profiles (2018)
  • Recipient of the Chairman's Award from the New Jersey Builders Association for his exemplary service on the NJBA's Redevelopment Committee (2012)
  • Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rated AV® Preeminent (a trademark of Internet Brands, Inc.) (2017)
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© (a trademark of Woodward/White, Inc.) in the Real Estate Law practice area (2013  present)
  • Listed in Super Lawyers - New Jersey Rising Stars (a Thompson Reuters business) (2008 – 2010)

A description of the standard or methodology on which the accolades are based can be found HERE. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Representative Matters

  • Representing a national commercial real estate developer in trial court and appellate court, Mr. Beckelman successfully defended a challenge to site plan approval for the construction of a retail establishment to be used as a Starbucks coffee shop in Rio Grande, NJ.  The challenge was brought by a neighboring commercial property owner whose tenants included another Starbucks operation.  At the hearings, the objector argued, among other things, that once the Middle Township Planning Board denied a parking variance, the entire application was automatically denied as a matter of law and that therefore, the Board had no authority to continue the hearing and change its interpretation of the zoning ordinance. The objector filed a complaint with the Superior Court challenging the approval.  After a prerogative writ hearing, the trial court affirmed the Board’s decision and the client’s site plan approval.  On appeal, the Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s ruling on January 31, 2019.   

  • Represented the owner of a 236 unit, senior and disabled affordable housing complex in the City of Orange, negotiating the extension of a tax exemption and payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) agreement.  A local resident filed a lawsuit against the City and the owner, one of over a dozen lawsuits by this plaintiff against the City, arguing that the PILOT extension was not authorized under the applicable statutes and that the City violated various municipal procedures in its approval of the PILOT.  Mr. Beckelman successfully defended the case before the trial court in Essex County, which ruled in favor of the City and the owner and upheld the legality and the City's approval of the PILOT agreement.  The plaintiff appealed the trial court decision, which Mr. Beckelman defended and argued on February 7, 2018.  By per curiam decision on August 2, 2018, the Appellate Division affirmed the Essex trial court decision, upholding the legality of the PILOT agreement and providing assurance to the owner and the residents that the complex will continue to operate as a project-based affordable complex.

  • Currently serves as special litigation counsel to the City of North Wildwood in connection with complex, multi-party litigation with proceedings pending before the Chancery Division and Law Division, and in three matters pending before the Appellate Division. Also serves as special redevelopment and housing counsel to North Wildwood. Previously served as special redevelopment, housing and litigation counsel to the City of Long Branch, the Borough of Flemington and the Township of Robbinsville. Has also served as special litigation counsel to the City of New Brunswick and the Borough of Belmar.
  • As special redevelopment counsel to the City of Long Branch, concluded negotiations for the final phase of the Pier Village project. The already developed first two phases of Pier Village, a mixed-use residential and retail development on Long Branch's shore front, and the development rights for the third phase, were sold by Applied Development Companies to Kushner Companies in 2014 for $200 million. Since that time, Kushner substantially amended the approved phase 3 plans and the City negotiated the details of this complex project, including substantial boardwalk and public improvements and a $20 million redevelopment area bond.  Kushner partnered with Extell Development to develop the phase 3 project, which is now under construction.
  • As special redevelopment counsel for the City of Long Branch, concluded negotiations for four separate residential redevelopment projects in the Beachfront South redevelopment sector, for an estimated total of $200 million of new development for that sector. Three of these projects are currently under construction.
  • Has handled redevelopment counseling and litigation on behalf of developers, property owners or municipalities throughout New Jersey, including notable projects in Newark, Trenton, Asbury Park, Woodbridge Township, Carteret, Wood-Ridge, Wildwood, Millville, West Orange, South Bound Brook, Netcong, Emerson, Maplewood, Morristown, and Stanhope.
  • Has provided counsel or litigation services to special improvement districts throughout New Jersey, including Morristown, Red Bank, Toms River, Livingston, Seaside Heights, Atlantic City, Keyport, Bergenfield, Teaneck, the Wildwoods, Flemington and East Hanover.
  • Appeared before the Supreme Court of New Jersey, authoring and filing an amicus brief in the matter of Gallenthin v. Paulsboro on behalf of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association, and Downtown New Jersey.
  • Represented the New Jersey Association of Realtors in connection with the development of its new headquarters in Trenton, a transformative project at the site of a former industrial property.  His role included establishing and negotiating the City of Trenton's first "Garden State Growth Zone" tax exemption under the Economic Stimulus Act of 2013.
  • Played a key role in the firm’s representation of the Camden Redevelopment Agency in its negotiations with the Salvation Army for the remediation, acquisition and redevelopment of a former 85-acre landfill in Camden. The location is now the site of the 120,000 square foot Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, which has brought employment opportunities, a broad range of recreational facilities and numerous additional benefits to the predominantly low-income local community since opening in October of 2014. Mr. Beckelman negotiated the redevelopment agreement for the project. The firm’s attorneys also negotiated an environmental remediation agreement for the property and handled the closing for the sale of the property. Our press release is available here.

Uniquely NJ

  • As a member of the New Jersey Builders Association Redevelopment Committee, Mr. Beckelman played a key role in the drafting of an important piece of legislation that was signed into law in September 2013. The new law amended certain provisions of New Jersey’s Local Redevelopment and Housing Law (LRHL) in an effort to boost economic growth and jumpstart building initiatives by addressing issues brought to light by recent case law relating to the use of eminent domain and due process and notice issues. Mr. Beckelman, serving as lead author of the law, worked with his fellow Committee members to produce a straight-forward and balanced piece of legislation that successfully garnered support both within and outside of the development community.
  • Member, Board of Directors of PlanSmart NJ
  • Member, Middlesex County Bar Association; Mediator for Chancery Division
  • Member, Mercer County Bar Association
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More Activities & Experience

  • Former judicial intern to The Honorable John J. Hughes, U.S. Magistrate Judge, District of New Jersey
  • While in law school, Chair of the Moot Court Board and a member of the Rutgers Law Record

Presentations & Speaking Engagements

Publications & Alerts

View Abbreviated Bio


Rutgers University School of Law-Newark, J.D., 2000

Rutgers University, B.A. high honors, 1997

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 2000
  • Supreme Court of New Jersey, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 2000
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2017

Robert Beckelman Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated AV Preeminent

Robert Beckelman Listed in Best Lawyers

A description of the standard or methodology on which the accolades are based can be found HERE. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.