November 28, 2020

Square Feet | The 30-Minute Interview: Gary Jacob

Q Exactly how many apartments are in Glenwood’s portfolio?

A I’m not at liberty to share that. Leonard Litwin is very private about that, although you could go on the Web site and pretty much figure out the number of buildings. I go to meetings with him with banks, and they ask, ‘How many units do you have?’ His answer is ‘thousands,’ or ‘many.’

Q How involved is Mr. Litwin, in his mid-90s, in the company?

A He’s still actively involved in everything we do. He comes to the office every day, goes to all of our meetings and has final say on almost everything. He’s actively involved in our new construction projects — he pores over the architectural plans to make sure we have the proper amount of closet space and is very detail-oriented. He certainly won’t retire.

Q Was Mr. Litwin your mentor?

A Absolutely.

Q What are your duties?

A I’m the face to the public of Glenwood. I’m the person who handles all the site acquisitions and financing. His daughter, Carole Pittelman — she’s technically an executive vice president — handles the construction projects and oversees the management division as far as expenses and renovation of units. I work hand in hand with her and Mr. Litwin helping to run the company.

Q So how is business?

A Business is, knock on wood, very good. We did end up taking a dip in rental prices. We had to give concessions, and we were paying the brokers for a few years as rents started going down in 2008. By January 2009 they hit a low point. The rental market has since come back — the demand is there.

Q When the market was booming, did Glenwood ever consider converting to condos?

A We’ve never, ever converted any of our buildings. Leonard Litwin did have some experience building co-ops before I joined the company in 1973. But in my 38 years here we’ve never contemplated building a condo, and we never even thought about converting anything. He really enjoys his buildings. He also feels that over time the value goes up, and he’s been proved right.

Q What’s your vacancy rate portfoliowide?

A We now have the lowest vacancy in three years: it’s 1 percent. It might have been 2.5 percent a year and a half ago.

Q Is the new Emerald Green building fully occupied?

A Yes. We’ve been renting them rapidly, without concessions and without paying broker fees.

Q You have applied for LEED certification there.

A We’re hoping to get a silver certification.

Q What’s the status of the Crystal Green?

A We finished the excavation, and now we’re coming out of the ground to get to the ground-floor level. We should be able to start renting maybe next spring, with completion by next summer.

The Crystal Green will have 199 units on 39th Street, and as part of the same project, we’re building a six-story, six-unit building, which will be very high end, on the 38th Street side. It’ll stand on its own, and we might give those tenants the services of Emerald Green, which is right across the street.

Q Glenwood recently closed on a parcel from Fordham University on Amsterdam Avenue and 62nd Street, with the plan to build another residential tower. What’s the status of that?

A We’re hoping to break ground in October. It’s going to be a 54-story building — very deluxe with lots of glass. This is adjacent to Lincoln Center.

Q What else are you working on?

A We’re working on two other projects — also residential rentals, both on the West Side — but it’s too soon to talk about them. We’re in the process of acquisition. One of them is a distressed opportunity; the other one is not.

Q Your focus has been on sustainable construction.

A We believe it’s the right thing to do for the environment. It’s also a good marketing tool, and to some extent tenants ask about it.

Q Glenwood has also invested in electric car chargers.

A We’re outfitting some of our garages with outlets for electric cars. We already have three chargers in Emerald Green. But there aren’t enough electric cars out there yet — I think the auto companies have to catch up — so they’re not getting a lot of use. But we’re ready for it.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=fdb6671067f30121688ad6f2c9a41180

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