Maria Yglesias

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Location: Newark, NJ
Founded: 1997
Industry: Developers, builders and contractors

Maria Yglesias
Founding Member

M&M Development LLC

“The reason that drove us to form this company was to build superior housing in urban neighborhoods,” says Maria Yglesias, founding member of M&M Development LLC. “This was 1997, and still in cities like Elizabeth, Newark and Camden, there was a lot of blight, abandoned buildings and sub-standard construction. We felt that … by creating outstanding housing, you could change the neighborhoods.”

Fun Fact: M&M has created 10 apartments for families affected by domestic violence.

The most challenging job M&M has taken on is the revitalization of the Cooper Plaza neighborhood in Camden. Having noticed M&M’s revitalization work in Newark, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency invited the company to help turn around an area where fully rehabilitated houses were selling for $60,000 or $70,000. Then, the housing crisis struck, but instead of abandoning the project, Yglesias and M&M set to work building a condominium development and 30 single-family homes in the neighborhood.

“We try to go to neighborhoods where other people wouldn’t,” says Yglesias. That means M&M often faces a tough sell. “Every project that we do, it requires a lot of talking [and] a lot of sharing of our vision.”