Noted New Jersey Architects Urge Industry Leaders to Change Compensation Model on Projects

Noted New Jersey Architects Urge Industry Leaders to Change Compensation Model on Projects

Bob and Barbara Hillier of Studio Hillier partner with developer Anthony Bastardi of Strategic Development Groups on revolutionary Newark Project


Newark, N.J., May 29, 2019– Bob and Barbara Hillier, co-founders and principals of Studio Hillier – a leading architecture firm based out of Princeton – are encouraging architects to secure the appropriate financial compensation over time for their contributions to a development. The progressive statement was made during the renaming ceremony of New Jersey Institute of Technology’s (NJIT) College of Architecture and Design, now named The J. Robert and Barbara A. Hillier School of Architecture and Design, in reflection of the Hillier’s donation, the largest in University history. Anthony Bastardi, founder and president of Strategic Development Group, The Imagination Company (SDG), embraced this model three years ago when he invited the noted architects to serve as partners in Strategic Development Partners for the development of Vibe in Newark, a resort-style living project situated at the center of downtown Newark.

“Architects are underpaid for what they bring to a project and should consider being the developer or part of the development ownership of the project they design,” says Bob Hillier. “The one-time fee contractual model is outdated. Tony Bastardi, among others, agrees and we are starting this conversation to raise awareness and begin applying change to our industry.”

The Hilliers are thought leaders in the industry and have been longtime advocates of elevating architecture and design programs in various ways. Their recent donation to NJIT will help support student scholarships, faculty development and state-of-the-art tech advancements that will help provide an innovative educational experience to the University’s student body.

“I, too, believe that architects should be considered partners to a project and be compensated accordingly, with a similar annual incentive to that of the developer who owns the building,” says Bastardi. “That’s why I’ve chosen to partner with Bob and Barbara, whom I’ve worked with on numerous projects for over 20 years, including Vibe. The Hilliers have made tremendous achievements in the space of education and I’m proud to call them associates in this effort.”

The Hilliers and Bastardi continue to pay it forward in more ways. The Hilliers hire graduates from NJIT such as Jack Mus, who is currently a project architect on the Vibe. Bastardi is the mastermind behind University Place, a new 22-acre redevelopment in partnership with New Jersey City University (NJCU). The impressive project, also designed by Studio Hillier, will include a 500-seat performing arts center, academic and practice space for teaching the performing arts, a residential component and a variety of restaurant options in Jersey City to be called “Restaurant Row.” In another coup for NJCU and for Jersey City, the world-renowned Joffrey Ballet School (currently based in Manhattan) will be relocating to University Place in 2021.


About Anthony V. Bastardi:

Anthony V. Bastardi is CEO of Strategic Development Group, The Imagination Company. He holds a bachelor of engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and a master of science in industrial and management engineering from Columbia University. Bastardi took his first company public at age 24. Seven years later, he sold his proprietary software development firm to an insurance company. He has served on many nonprofit boards in New Jersey. He currently serves on the New Jersey City University Foundation’s board of directors and is a trustee emeritus and past vice chairman of Public Media New Jersey, which operates NJTV, New Jersey’s national PBS affiliate. In addition, Mr. Bastardi has served as chairman of the board at both Caldwell University and the Independent College Fund of New Jersey (ICFNJ), an affiliate of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey. He is also a past trustee of Cristo Rey Newark High School.



About Strategic Development Group: 

Strategic Development Group, The Imagination Company, based in Fairfield, N.J., is a real estate development firm that specializes in creating and executing innovative real estate development opportunities that leverage underdeveloped assets, transform neighborhoods and advance the mission of nonprofit institutions.


About Studio Hillier: 

Studio Hillier LLC is an interdisciplinary design firm in Princeton, N.J., co-founded in 2011 by partners Barbara A. Hillier, AIA, and J. Robert Hillier, Lh.D., FAIA, PP. Together for more than 35 years, they form the backbone of a vibrant, growing, full-service design studio that has the depth of experience and design talent to take on any challenge. The Hilliers have projects standing in 27 states and 34 countries. Studio Hillier works collaboratively with experts who bring excellence and robust knowledge of the latest building technologies, prefabrication systems, environmental systems and preservation of historic structures.



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