Jewish Voice New York

Naftali Group Spends $23M on Gramercy Property

June 26, 2013

The Naftali Group has just paid over $23.13 million for a residential development site in

Gramercy that it plans to develop into a 20-story condo tower, according to the New York Post.

Stribling Marketing Associates will be in charge of sales and marketing, and architecture firm

Goldstein Hill and West is set to design the building, The Real Deal reports.

Company CEO Miki Naftali also bought two adjoining four-story tenement buildings on an

86,000-square-foot site at 234-238 East 23rd Street, between Second and Third avenues. The

project will feature 62 units, ranging from studios to three-bedrooms, as well as a gym and a

rooftop terrace-lounge. The going rate for each apartment has not yet been disclosed.

According to the Post, Naftali said his company’s new site “was a complicated deal because we

had to buy the buildings from two different owners.”

And since New York real estate is all about location, its doesn’t hurt that the site is home to

various educational institutions, including the School of Visual Arts and PS 47, the New York

City Opera Thrift Shop, a number of gourmet delis, hairstylists and a New York Public Library

branch.

The Man Behind the Real Estate

Upon leaving his position as CEO of Elad Properties in mid-2011, Naftali formed the Naftali

Group, which is so far involved in ten projects in both Brooklyn and Manhattan —comprising of

more than 650 residential apartments.

Still, most New Yorkers remember him for his most controversial project at the Plaza. As

reported by various media sources, Elad purchased the historical hotel with the intention of

converting it to condominiums.

But when the company tried to fire the Plaza’s 900 employees, the plan backfired and caused

friction with the hotel workers’ union. And so the “Save the Plaza” campaign was born, and

celebrities like Matthew Broderick and Liza Minnelli got involved.

Even Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced publicly that he would help the workers keep their

jobs. Eventually, Elad backtracked on its plans, limiting the number of condos to 180 and

keeping 282 hotel rooms.

When asked by TRD if he felt like the scapegoat of the whole Plaza ordeal, Naftali said, “I don’t

know if it is unfair. When you are in the position where … everyone sees you as the one who

makes each and every decision, you have to be open to be criticized. … The reality is you’re not

making all the decisions; you’re not making all the decisions that relate to design, for example.

But that’s okay; that’s part of being involved.”

He also added that, “at Elad I did a lot of things that were not really part of what I like to do,”

versus now at the Naftali Group, where he is able to focus on what he loves doing most:

development.

“I’m very passionate about developing things, working with the team, creating a vision and

getting it done,” he told TRD. “When you have such a big organization, there are so many other

things that you need to deal with that are not necessarily related to the development side. That’s

why it’s great here. At the end of the day, what we do is what we really like to do.”

And unlike his previous place of employment, to keep it that way, he’d like to keep the Naftali

Group small: “I have no vision right now to have 200 people here. It would be too big and

complicated, and political. Who needs it?”