How long have you been in the business?
I’ve been in the business since 1995, when I co-founded HAP Investments with my partners Amir Hasid and Nir Amsel. Since inception, the company has successfully acquired, designed and developed a diverse portfolio of residential and commercial real estate that is renowned for its location, proximity to mass transit, and innovative, high-quality construction and design.
What made you decide to get into real estate?
When I was living in Israel, I bought my first apartment, renovated it and rented it out. It was a great time for real estate and this jump-started my passion for the business. I loved real estate so much that I started to seek out opportunities to buy property in Eastern Europe and Budapest.
Who inspires you?
My father was an entrepreneur and really inspired me. He started working at 16 years old and by 17 years of age he had already established his first business. I admired his incredible work ethic and his passion for business.
What pushes you to the next level?
I enjoy all facets of real estate and leading a development company in New York. I wake up every morning excited to come to the office and see what’s in store for me. I think it’s an incredible honor to be able to develop a residential property that people build their lives in.
What are your investment principles?
HAP Investments is keenly focused on identifying and investing in residential projects strategically situated in emerging and prime markets in the New York metropolitan area.
Where are you currently developing?
Today, we are investing in more prime New York City markets such as Chelsea with our project at 215 & 225 West 28th Street and in Tribeca at 65 Franklin Street with plans to build full-service luxury rental and condominium developments boasting a full suite of amenities.
In addition, we are still pursuing smart investment opportunities in emerging neighborhoods. We currently have a 42-story luxury rental project at 500 Summit Avenue located in the rapidly growing Journal Square neighborhood of Jersey City. 500 Summit Avenue will offer sweeping views of the New York City skyline and convenient access to the PATH train into downtown Manhattan. We are also developing a 129-unit mixed-used project at 4452 Broadway in Fort George in Northern Manhattan.
What are the hottest areas for development opportunities right now?
Washington Heights is one of the city’s most talked about, up and coming spots. It’s located in northern Manhattan away from the dense crowds and hustle and bustle, providing a quieter pace of life with a true neighborhood feeling. Northern Manhattan has become a fast-moving real estate market with a lot of activity taking place in Harlem and East Harlem, and we believe Washington Heights is the next frontier. We are actively looking to develop more projects in Washington Heights, and we are also interested in the Bronx and Brooklyn.
If you had to live/work in any other city than New York, where would it be?
I’m originally from Israel and my dream was to come to New York City and build a life here. Now that I’ve accomplished my goal of running a company and living in New York City, I couldn’t imagine living or working anyplace else. I’m fortunate to live in this great city and plan to stay.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone starting out in the business?
Don’t give up no matter what. People starting out in the real estate business will make mistakes no matter what advice they are given. It’s important to learn from your mistakes and continue to push forward to the next step.