As the son of small business owners, I understand the importance of striking a balance between efficient legal guidance and practical business realities. Effective legal representation requires an approach filled with compassion, creativity, persistence and attention to detail, and I strive to deliver that to my clients each and every day.

Mr. Mlenak concentrates his practice in the areas of redevelopment, land use, zoning, and real estate development. His clients include property owners and developers engaged in mixed use, residential, industrial, commercial, office, retail and affordable housing development projects.  Mr. Mlenak provides guidance from the initial project concept through to construction, including land use planning and approvals, permits and variances and appearances before municipal, county and state planning and zoning boards and agencies.

Mr. Mlenak counsels redevelopers, property owners and municipalities on all aspects of the redevelopment process, including the negotiation and drafting of redevelopment agreements, review of redevelopment area studies and redevelopment plans, drafting of redevelopment-related ordinances and resolutions, and appearances before redevelopment entities and governing bodies. He provides counsel regarding incentives and tax abatements available at the state and federal level, including the negotiation and drafting of financial agreements (PILOT) under the Long Term Tax Exemption Law and the application for grants under the Economic Development Authority. His work in this area is enhanced by the valuable legislative experience he garnered while serving as Chief of Staff for a member of New Jersey's General Assembly, prior to entering private practice. 

Mr. Mlenak also maintains a strong practice in the area of community association law, providing strategic guidance and general counseling to condominium and homeowners association clients across a broad range of legal issues.  His work encompasses the interpretation and amendment of governing documents and by-laws, drafting contracts, collection of delinquent assessments, the enforcement of rules and regulations, operational and maintenance issues, the fiduciary responsibilities of board members, transition negotiations and litigation, Municipal Services Act compliance, and alternative dispute resolution. He further represents clients in construction defect litigation, Fair Housing discrimination cases and landlord-tenant matters.

Honors & Awards

  • Listed in Super Lawyers - New Jersey Rising Stars (a Thompson Reuters business) in the Real Estate practice area (2017)
  • Recipient of the "2016 Speaker of the Year" award from the Community Associations Institute - New Jersey Chapter (CAI-NJ)  
  • Shared recipient of the "2014 Committee of the Year" award from the Community Associations Institute - New Jersey Chapter (CAI-NJ) for his work as a member of the National Legislative Action Committee - NJ
  • While attending law school, Mr. Mlenak was a semi-finalist in the Nathan Baker Mock Trial Competition, and was a three-time merit scholarship recipient

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

  • Mr. Mlenak obtained a money judgment on behalf of a condominium association against a developer for nearly $200,000 in damages related to unsold commercial units held by the developer in the association. After selling all of the residential units in a Cape May condominium, the developer of the condominium refused to contribute towards the expenses of the building while continuing to own three large commercial units within the condominium. This left the maintenance and repair of the building solely to the individuals that purchased their homes from the developer to pick up the developer’s short fall for years. Mr. Mlenak filed suit and, in a 15-page written opinion from the judge, successfully obtained a judgment of nearly $200,000, including attorneys fees and interest against the developer for the association.
  • Mr. Mlenak played a significant role in the redevelopment of a blighted unoccupied office building in downtown Linden into the new headquarters of an expanding regional laboratory. Representation included the negotiation and execution of an amended redevelopment agreement, financial agreement for a 5-year tax abatement, adoption of related municipal resolutions and ordinances, and assistance in obtaining preliminary and final site plan review approval from the Linden Planning Board.
  • Mr. Mlenak was a member of the firm's team that advised an international Fortune 500 retailer with regard to millions of square feet of development in various locales, including redevelopment areas, tax abatement (PILOT) agreements, environmental remediation, redevelopment plans, state, regional, county and local approvals, zoning permits and certifications, miscellaneous agreements, construction permitting, and assisted in drafting leasing provisions.  
  • Mr. Mlenak played a significant role in representing a New Jersey condominium association in its successful appeal of a U.S. Bankruptcy Court decision. In In re: Rones, the Bankruptcy Court had ruled that Chapter 13 debtors could “strip” all but the 6 month priority portion of the condominium’s lien by reasoning that the New Jersey Condominium Act only afforded a payment priority, rather than a true lien priority which would protect the lien as a secured claim. On appeal, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey reversed the Bankruptcy Court and held that the limited priority granted condominium liens in the Act protects it from being stripped or crammed down in any way. The impact of the important ruling is that condominium debtors will now be required to pay back the entirety of the validly-filed condominium lien as a secured debt in order to have a Chapter 13 plan confirmed. Mr. Mlenak authored the appellate and reply briefs in the association's appeal during his tenure at a prior firm, and also coordinated with the Community Associations Institute-New Jersey Chapter (CAI-NJ) in its filing as amicus curiae in support of the association

Uniquely NJ

  • Member, Community Associations Institute - New Jersey Chapter: member, Membership Committee; former member, National Legislative Action Committee - NJ 
  • Member, New Jersey State Bar Association
  • Member, Legislative Committee, New Jersey Builders Association  
  • Member, Advocacy Committee, Metropolitan Builders & Contractors Association of New Jersey  
  • Member, New Jersey Apartments Association
  • Member, New Jersey Property Owners Association
  • Appointed a Commissioner of the Somerset Raritan Valley Sewerage Authority for two year term (2014-2016); reappointed for five year term (2016-2021)
  • Former Chief of Staff to New Jersey Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (2011-2012)
View Expanded Bio

More Activities & Experience

  • Member, American Bar Association: Young Lawyers Division
  • Former judicial intern to The Honorable Sebastian P. Lombardi, New Jersey Superior Court (2009)

Presentations & Speaking Engagements

Publications & Alerts

View Abbreviated Bio

Practice Groups

Education

Rutgers University School of Law-Newark, J.D., 2011

University of Connecticut, B.A., 2008

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 2011
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 2011 
  • New York, 2013

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.