Ed Kalikow answering tomorrow's questions today: Edward Kalikow, president and CEO, The Kalikow Group.
While a lack of available credit has crippled the housing sector, Kalikow said the nature of residential development has changed dramatically. People were once buying properties "like beer at a frat party" at 1-2% cap rates but now, activity has dried up.
"I think the word condo has become banned--it's sort of a dirty word now," said Kalikow, who joined the owner-management company three decades ago. "And we've reached an era where everything is subject to negotiation."
But as new development falls by the wayside, opportunities are emerging--particularly in the country's most distressed markets. Kalikow said lenders tomorrow will begin looking to competent developers to fix the problems of today, as more and more projects go unfinished. And he's positioning himself to be their "answer man."
"When you're given lemons, you make lemonade..." Kalikow said. "We think we can be equally successful in helping some of these stalled projects get completed."
Under Kalikow's guidance, the company has amassed a portfolio of 2,000 co-ops and rental units. Since the early 1990s, the firm has also offered joint venture equity to developers around the country.
The goal, says Kalikow, is to spread risk by investing equity with developers in markets with growth opportunities nation-wide.
But before eying real estate opportunities, Kalikow was giving heavy consideration to a career in law.
After graduating from Syracuse University's School of Management in 1975, he went on to Hofstra Law School. But, being exposed to real estate since birth, he quickly learned that the apple doesn't usually fall far from the tree.
"I've been exposed since I was in the womb. As early as I can remember, I followed my father around the construction sites," said Kalikow, who was raised in Hewlett, N.Y.
As a teenager that exposure became hands-on, as he began working on construction and repair projects for the company founded by his grandfather. While he suspected returning to the family business one day, his father's poor health spurred the decision to break into the real estate industry sooner than expected. Now, with Kalikow's son and nephew employed there too, the company is four generations strong.
While beginning with the management division of the business, Kaled Management, Kalikow took up development before too long and still recalls his first project, Barclay Condominium, a 36-unit project in Flushing. He described the task as a learning experience but has discovered that the same can be said for nearly everything he's done--from subdivisions in Texas, to retail developments in Connecticut, apartment projects in North Carolina and everything in between.
"The interesting thing about this business is I learn something every day," Kalikow said. "You would think that after 30 years you would know everything there is to know, but that's not the case in this business."
And with a few dozen projects under his belt, there were a number of lessons learned. It's witnessing the creation of a tangible product through collaboration of multiple parties he finds most enjoyable. His proudest moment came after completing the 1989 development of Parkridge in Bayside, N.Y. The gut rehabilitation project resulted in the conversion of a garden apartment complex into nearly 200 condominium units.
Currently he's spearheading a mixed-use project in North Carolina that is now eight years in the making but truly represents a labor of love. "It's taken a lot out of me, but it's proven to be very rewarding," he said.
In an economy that has presented so many fiscal challenges to owners, tenants, developers and investors, loving what you do is paramount to success.
Kaled Management, which broadened its scope in the late 1980s to include third party management, remains focused on helping tenants survive tough fiscal times and from an internal standpoint, Kalikow's overarching focus is the "preservation of capital."
Kalikow's affiliations include the Associated Builders and Owners of Greater New York, the Association for a Better Long Island, the Realty Advisory Board and the International Council of Shopping Centers. In addition, he serves on the planning board for the town of Old Westbury, N.Y., which he calls "an interesting experience to sit on the other end of the table."
Currently a resident of Old Westbury, he enjoys spending his free time with his family, jogging and golfing.