By Konrad Putzier
“In life you have a chance to score a goal,” Udi Erez said during a recent meeting at Elad Group’s downtown office. For Erez, that chance came in 2007.
As CEO of the Elad Canada group, he decided to buy a MetCap portfolio of 8,400 units in Montreal and Toronto for $ 750 million. It turned out to be a game changer.
Erez had discovered excess land between the buildings that could be used for a new development.
“We basically got this land for free,” he explained. “If I hadn’t bought the wallet, the business would be very different,” he explained. “Before, Elad Canada had a portfolio of less than $ 1 billion. Now it’s over $ 3 billion.
Seven years later, Erez is making waves in Manhattan real estate as CEO of Elad Group.
In November, Elad partnered with Larry Silverstein to build a mixed-use development at 1 West End Avenue on the Upper West Side. A month later, she announced a partnership with the Peebles Corporation to redevelop the 400,000 square foot office building 108 Leonard Street into condos and a hotel. And Elad is currently looking for other deals in New York.
That Udi Erez chose to “score a goal” as a metaphor for success is revealing.
Growing up in Jerusalem, he played semi-professional football for the well-known club Beitar as a teenager. He is still a football fan and frequently travels to England to watch his favorite team, Manchester United, play.
But becoming a professional was not an option for him. Instead, he became an accountant and rose through the ranks to become a partner at Arthur Andersen.
One of his clients was Isaac Tshuva. The Israeli tycoon, owner of Elad Group and energy firm Delek Group, ultimately sent him to Canada to file a report on his real estate businesses there. Tshuva was so impressed with Erez’s work that he simply offered him the role of CEO of Elad Canada.
“It’s very rare to do a CPA without any CEO experience,” Erez said. “I had a good position with Arthur Andersen and I could have stayed there for the rest of my career. Instead, I completely changed my life in my 40s and went into the unknown.
In 2001, Erez moved to Toronto. Over the next five years, he acquired 18,000 residential units and seven million s / f of commercial space, and developed 5,000 residential condos.
In 2007, he decided to leave Elad and founded his own fund, Erez Capital Fund, specializing in income-producing commercial real estate.
Then came the crash of 2008, and some of Erez’s investors lost their appetites. When Tshuva offered him the role of CEO of Elad Group in New York in 2011, Erez gladly accepted it.
“When I got to town, Elad was still all about the Plaza,” he recalls the landmark the company bought in 2004 and then spent $ 450 million to renovate it.
“I had to think of a strategy and concluded that we need to sell all of our assets that are producing less than five percent returns. So we have sold most of our income producing real estate in Canada in deals for over $ 1 billion. We also sold the Plaza, which was earning much less than five percent.
“It gave us a lot of money to invest in the right place at the right time,” he added.
Equity allowed Elad to close deals quickly and without funding conditions, Erez explained – as in the case of 108 Leonard.
Erez sees Elad Group’s greatest strength in conversion and believes the market is the best for condos.
“If you do a good job, you can sell condos very easily,” he said. To be sure, Erez said he only invests in condo projects that can also function as rentals if the market goes down. He added that 108 Leonard and 1 West End Avenue both fit this description.
Erez, who lives on the Upper West Side with his wife Dina, still has strong ties to Israel.
His three adult children live there and he owns a house in Haradar, halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. But at the moment, he is far from having finished in New York.
Erez explained that Elad is currently considering a number of conversion and “plain vanilla” deals. In his spare time, he works on an equally difficult business: getting tickets to the next World Cup in Brazil. еньги в долг
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