Miki Naftali’s Vision
Q&A with the Founder,
Chairman + CEO, Naftali Group
Q&A with the Founder
Chairman + CEO
Naftali Group’s work is defined by your impressive portfolio of diverse projects spanning over 30 years in business. In reflecting back, how do you define the why behind your work?
What drives me personally, and our group is our desire to constantly create, invest and develop opportunities that are both financially sound and of superior quality regardless of the price range. It depends on a specific opportunity and a marketplace, but we always strive to come up with the finest design and the best product that we can build for that market. It is always about striking the balance between creativity, design, and practicality. We always think about who will be living in our buildings.
Naftali Group’s work is known for projects that are incredibly well timed and well received. What is the formula and process behind your track record in delivering buildings that are both timeless and forward-looking?
I strongly believe in listening carefully to the market to try to understand a demand we can meet by the time a project is delivered. Based on that understanding, we select our design and creative partners. We are always guided by market feedback to collectively create the best product we can. That’s the formula. This applies to our entire portfolio of properties. We are also very meticulous about even the smallest of details. Nuance is everything!
Your work is a result of the incredible team that you have assembled and have been able to retain throughout the years. What is your approach to the teamwork?
For me, it is very important to create an inclusive environment that encourages ideas and creativity where everyone’s voice is heard. Each of our team members owns his or her discipline and feels included in the process of creating something great. It is a genuinely collaborative environment united by our common values and the passion for our craft.
Naftali Group has always been at the forefront of discovering new creative talent and putting together the most interesting collaborations. Walk us through your team’s process behind selecting and managing talent.
For us, it always starts with the discovery process to determine what type of building we are going to build and what is missing in the market from the purchaser’s point of view, as I want to create product that will be well received. With all of our collaborators, we lead the team through the clarity of our vision. This is what fundamentally drives their creative process. We always aim to work with teams who share our values of hard work, discipline, and purposeful collaboration. I believe in the importance of listening and open dialogue to create the most discerning residences.
Your commitment and dedication to the resilience of New York City during challenging times has been a recurring theme throughout your work. What is the belief system that’s shaped your thinking about the times of adversity and uncertainty?
I was born and raised in Israel. I served in the army and I lived through many periods of adversity—an experience that made me realize the true meaning of resilience. So, after September 11, the financial crisis of 2008, and even during the pandemic, I chose to remain optimistic about New York’s imminent comeback. No other place has the amount of infrastructure, culture, and everything that city life has to offer. New York will always be one of the greatest places to live. New York is energy!
Beyond New York, you have successfully executed numerous of premier residential and hospitality projects both domestically and globally, investing and developing across 12 states in the U.S., and in Canada throughout Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City with project footprint extending as far as Singapore. Are you planning on expanding into new markets?
We are always looking for opportunities to design, develop, and invest where demand exists. We strongly believe that the residential sector is and will remain very strong due to population growth in the United States. For example, the Southeast is experiencing the culmination of high demand. But such demand has been years in the making. We are currently looking at opportunities that reflect our philosophy and timing.
“We are always guided by market feedback to collectively create the best product we can. That’s the formula. This applies to our entire portfolio of properties. We are also very meticulous about even the smallest of details. Nuance is everything!”
With Naftali Credit Partners—the real estate Debt arm of the Naftali Group—you’ve been incredibly thoughtful about funding the right opportunities through your network of the most trusted financial partners. What is the strategy behind the endeavor?
We provide financing to other real estate investors and developers that are looking for financing. My thinking is that we have a lot of experience in real estate development and investments, but we can’t win all the deals. There are other great investors and developers that win interesting deals, and we can participate in those developments through additional financing. We will underwrite a deal based on realistic assumptions and our deep expertise in every aspect of development, including construction costs and revenue projections. Banks feel very comfortable with us. They trust that we know how to underwrite the deal and that we know if it makes financial sense. It is highly advantageous for both investors, developers and commercial lenders to have somebody with our depth of experience. In many instances, we help them with ideas because we want them to be successful.
What’s next for Naftali Group?
I hope we will be able to continue to develop and create both beautiful and practical residential experiences—hopefully as many as we can. This includes multi-family and rental properties because we think that there is a demand for really good product. And when I say “good product,” it doesn’t need to be very expensive. It can be really good product at all price points with great layouts, systems, and amenities that create the greatest places to live.