John A. Catsimatidis, known as the supermarket king, is expanding his horizon. The Greek native is known for making his fortune as the owner, president, and CEO of Gristedes Foods, the largest grocery chain in Manhattan. He is also the CEO and President of Red Apple Group, a real estate and aviation company with about $700 million to $800 million of holdings in New York, Florida, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The 70-year-old has made it to the list of top billionaires in the world, with Forbes listing his net worth at $3.1 billion. The one-time Republican mayoral candidate is also a successful talk show host, with shows airing around the East Coast, including NYC’s metro area, and Washington D.C.
All this, however, is not enough to satiate his ambitions. Catsimatidis now has his eye on property development in Brooklyn’s preferred vacation destination. He is just getting started expanding his portfolio in Coney Island. “We tamed Myrtle Avenue,” said Mr. Catsimatidis. “Now we’re taming Coney Island.” By ‘taming’, he is of course, referring to gentrification.
Inspired by Miami Beach’s sleek residential towers, he is currently working on developing a project entitled Ocean Dreams, which is slated for completion next summer. The luxury rental complex will have a duo of 21-story towers at 3514 Surf Avenue, overlooking the Atlantic. The development will house a total of 425 market rate apartments. While the prices have not yet been set, a two-bedroom unit will likely be priced at $4,000 to $5,000 per month, “depending on the floor”. It will be his fifth property acquisition in Brooklyn in less than a decade. Still, Catsimatidis says he is “itching to build” more in Coney Island.
The entrepreneur bought the entire three block parcel of land there, so he owns land on either side of the Ocean Dreams towers and more beachfront property to the east, for which he has lofty aspirations. As per the NY Times, Catsimatidis hopes to build five towers along the boardwalk on Surf Avenue. He already has approval for plans to develop an 11-story apartment building, on a smaller lot to the west of Ocean Dreams. His vision is for two taller towers on the East, but for now the zoning there would only allow 4 to 5 story structures.
Catsimatidis has proven his ability to make good on his visions. His previous target was Fort Greene. In 2010, he successfully opened the Andrea, a nine-story building. In 2015, the Giovanni, a 15-story luxury rental was built adjacent. In 2016, the Margo was completed with 226 more apartments on 16 floors. This year, the Eagle, the last of the four was opened, with 440 units.
By: Hellen Zaboulani
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