Ziel Feldman - HFZ Capital Group Part 5

October 10, 2018

EisnerAmper Real Estate Services Group Partner Lisa Knee interviews HFZ Capital Group Chairman and Founder Ziel Feldman, who looks back on his first property, in Part 5 of this series.


Lisa Knee: Now you're out on your own, you're at PMG and you and Maloney are together and you're looking for your first deal and your first property. Do you still find and look back at that property as your first love your first, is there some emotional attachment to that first property? Or any regrets and saying “Oh, what a disaster.”

Ziel Feldman: Well the H in HFZ are not going to want to hear that it's my first love. However, as far as business is concerned, there absolutely is. We were buying two buildings on 64th Street right off Central Park which was owned at the time by the OTS, which is our version of the federal government. It was an occupied building and it was a whole lot of work Kevin and myself had very little money at that time and we had to scrape together as much as we could to buy our first deal and we were actually very fortunate we got a line of credit of sorts from Bank of Austria of all banks way back then, and that really helped us. The property ran 64th, right off Central Park was basically my first foray into being an owner post being a lawyer. This was the first cycle since the crisis had peaked in ‘88 was in a market that stopped coming down. So they, like us, believed that this was an opportunity for us.


LK: Did you do many deals with them afterwards?

ZF: We did a couple of deals and then we branched out to be doing deals with Lehman Brothers, a big investor of ours. Then eventually we had a lot of investors that I had cultivated from overseas, both from the Middle East and Europe, and eventually a guy Barnett. So together we spent a good part of 1992, when the market started climbing, through 2005 buying a lot of walk ups and multifamily buildings and then hotels and converting old buildings into hotels. We were probably among the busier purchasers of occupied buildings during those days. Literally over 120 buildings during a period of six, seven years and it certainly gave me much more of an insight into the ownership end as a lawyer. Having said that, being a lawyer encouraged me then, and even on the next cycles that we can talk about as well, of the complexities of the transactions that took place I probably would have been less willing to enter into if I did not have my law background.

About Lisa Knee

Lisa Knee is a Tax Partner and National leader of the firm's Real Estate practice and the National Real Estate Private Equity Group with expertise in the hotel, real estate, financial services, aviation and restaurant sectors and is a member of AICPA, New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Bar Association.

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