By Vanesa Vennard
When it comes to designing luxury homes in Manhattan, Gary Jacob keeps New Yorkers in mind by always including the essentials. He wants to create homes that are as useful as they are beautiful.
“We want to build the best living environment so that people come home to their apartments happy,” said Jacob, Executive Vice President of Glenwood Management Corp., one of the city’s largest owners and builders of luxury rental apartments.
Glenwood properties are found in the Upper East and Upper West Side, Midtown East and Midtown West, Gracie Point and downtown Manhattan. Some features include fitness centers, swimming pools and granite counter tops in the kitchens.
However, being that it is New York City, ample closet space is another feature Jacob includes in his buildings.
“A lot of apartments in New York City have nice layouts but there’s really not enough space for storage and we really concentrate on doing that,” he said.
Aside from amenities, price is also important to Jacob when it comes to real estate. Jacob is the Vice President of Settlement Housing Fund Inc., a nonprofit affordable housing developer in New York City. Jacob said he thought this would be a great way for him to get involved with affordable housing.
“We want to have diversity in NYC,” he said. “At Glenwood now, most of the rental buildings that we develop are in the 80/20 program. Twenty percent of the units are reserved for lower income families.”
Aside from Settlement Housing Fund Inc., Jacob is Vice President of the Rent Stabilization Association, an Executive Vice President of Associated Builders and Owners of New York, co-chairman of the Housing Committee of the Real Estate Board of New York, a member of the Board of Governors, and he serves on the M&T Bank’s Mortgage Advisory Board.
His community service efforts extend to supporting Israel. He was honored by the American Jewish Committee and by the State of Israel Bonds. He is also a supporter of the Anti-Defamation League, which aims to stop defamation of Jewish people and strives for equality for all.
“I do my best to lend a hand,” he said.
Jacob credits his success with having the opportunity to have worked with Leonard Litwin in the first place. Jacob flew in to New York City after graduating from Harvard in 1973 to meet with President of Glenwood Management Corp. Leonard Litwin, who became the first lifetime honorary chairman for the Real Estate Board of New York in 2012.
Litwin asked Jacob to be his right hand man and assistant.
“Come this June I will have been working for him for 40 years,” Jacob said. “And even though I was trained at Harvard Business School I got to learn from a master. I think it really was just a wonderful opportunity that I was given to have been able to work with Leonard Litwin.”
The rest is real estate history as Glenwood keeps developing. In the middle of 2013, Glenwood will start construction near West 70th Street and their new Crystal Green development on West 39th Street is almost 50 percent rented.
“What I like about real estate compared to other industries such as investment banking or bond trading is you’re actually creating a tangible product,” Jacob said. “I think what sets us apart is we do our own construction. We want to build our buildings to last and we have a tremendous attention to detail.”
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