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Conservative approach pays off.

Since his arrival at Spiegel Associates 10 years ago, Art Sanders has revived the company's real estate development activities, including instituting major property management innovations and improving design.

Sanders, 41, the president of the Jericho-based real estate acquisition development and management firm, noted that the real estate business has undergone substantial changes over the past decade, coupled with a significant increase in development on Long Island.

Spiegel Associates has always maintained a "conservative" outlook on development and, as a result, has planned ahead and approached such growth in terms of the positive impact it could have on Long Island's future, Sanders said. The company was founded by Jerry Spiegel, Sanders' father-in-law, in 1947, when land in Nassau County was under-developed and industrial growth was just beginning.

"The real estate business has changed dramatically over the past 10 years and we were prepared both quantitatively and qualitatively," said Sanders, who added that approximately 45 percent of Spiegel's portfolio was industrial space. "We concentrated on improving older buildings, better production and enhancing our reputation."

Over the years, Spiegel Associates has built and maintained a diversified portfolio of shopping centers, freestanding retail buildings, apartments, office buildings, and manufacturing and warehouse facilities.

Recently, the firm has achieved success with a variety of retail projects. Last year, Spiegel Associates celebrated the grand opening of Bethpage Market-square, 112,000-square-foot shopping center anchored by Waldbaum's Superstore and National Wholesale Liquidators on Route 107 in Hicksville/Bethpage, and, last month, its newest shopping center, the 165,000-square-foot Sunrise Promenade, which is 100 percent pre-leased, in Massepequa opened its first stores.

"In 1986, I believed strongly that the real estate market was starting to slump but Long Island only heated up, and prices escalated faster and faster," Sanders said. "I think I offered a contrarian point of view, to move conservatively, because I came to the business right before the escalation of prices."

The Westbury Plaza development at 1085 Old Country Road is an example of Spiegel Associates' on-going, successful strategy to modernize its older strip centers to attract high-caliber retail tenants. In fact Tops Appliance City the $340 million appliance and electronics retailer based in Edison, New Jersey, recently opened it first Long Island store in the Westbury Plaza development.

According to Leslie S. Turchin, founder and chief executive officer of Tops, a major factor in the retailer's decision to locate in Westbury Plaza was Spiegel's willingness to go to extraordinary lengths to satisfy Tops' space requirements.

Sanders stated that Spiegel Associates performed a redevelopment that reconfigured the entire property, requiring the demolition of 41,000 square feet of the 100,000-square-foot building that once housed Fortunoff's Backyard Store. The remaining 59,000-square-foot building was modernized with a new facade and sidewalk canopy, a contiguous building serves as Tops' warehouse, and an adjacent building was demolished by Spiegel to create 100 additional parking spaces above code since Tops is so parking intensive.

"In addition to the necessity for speed, this project required transforming an industrial building into a prime retail location," Sanders said, noting that the projectrevitalized Spiegel's neighboring 64,000-square-foot, mixed-use office and retail complex at 1065 Old Country Road, which is 20 years old.

"It's a family business," said Sanders, who runs the day-to-day operations of Spiegel Associates. "It's not just a real estate company, but also a service-oriented company. We try to serve our customers."

Sanders, a graduate of Hofstra Law School who was a practicing attorney in Manhattan before joining Spiegel Associates, said that he and Spiegel complement each other with their respective specialties in the real estate business.

"The important thing about the company is that Jerry started out as a builder and offers the builder's perspective," Sanders said. "Jerry has keen insight and intuition and I focus on the financial and legal side of the business.

"We're a good team, offering balancing perspective and specialties," said Sanders. "We don't see eye to eye on everything, but it works out well."

Sanders stated that Sunrise Promenade, a 165,000-square-foot retail center currently under construction by Spiegel Associates in Massepequa is 100 percent pre-leased and slated to open this fall.

"Two stores have been opened to date," said Sanders. "It's a home run, with Triple-A clients and an exciting mix. It's a power center with power center-type clients."

Annie Sez, Barnes & Noble, Dress Barn and Dress Barn Women, Yogurt'n Such, and Phil's Pizza have leased 39,190 square feet of space at Sunrise Promenade, with an aggregate rental valued at $40 million. These prominent retailers join King Kullen, the Sports Authority, and Tower Record & Video, which previously pre-leased at total of 100,450 square feet of space.

According to Sanders, Annie Sez, the growing regional discount chain of junior clothing, leased 13,000 square feet of space and Barnes & Nobel leased 15,190 square feet of space for a bookstore that will be designed in its superstore format, the first of its kind on Long Island's South Shore.

Sanders is also proud of Spiegel Associates' involvement support of a wide variety of local civic, cultural, athletic, educational and philanthropic organizations.

Just last month, Spiegel Associates once again sponsored the Annual Spiegel Associates Ocean to Sound 50-Mile Relay to raise funds to benefit ASPIRE (Adolescent Sarcoma Patients' Intense Rehabilitation with Exercise), which provides prosthetic devices and physical therapy for young amputees.

The annual race, sponsored for the eighth year by Spiegel Associates, was held Sept. 26 and featured approximately 150, eight-person teams from across the nation, with each team member running between 5.3 and 8.8 miles in the relay. The race begins on the Jones Beach boardwalk on Long Island's South Shore, continues to Cold Springs Harbor on the North Shore, and ends on the tract of the Jericho High School field in Jericho.

"We were delighted to sponsor the Ocean the Sound Relay for the eight consecutive year," said Sanders. "Not only was this year's race our biggest ever, but raised over $30,000 for ASPIRE."
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Title Annotation:president Art Sanders discusses management of Spiegel Associates real estate development, acquisition and management firm
Author:Alger, Derek
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Biography
Date:Oct 6, 1993
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