Ziel Feldman - HFZ Capital Group Part 2

October 10, 2018

EisnerAmper Real Estate Services Group Partner Lisa Knee interviews HFZ Capital Group Chairman and Founder Ziel Feldman about forging a path from law to real estate development in Part 2 of this series.


Lisa Knee: Was there a pivotal moment when you were practicing law and you decided to stop practicing law and although every day being a developer you're still doing some practice of law, it comes into every single day. But was there a pivotal moment there when you said I wanted to get out of law and now start building something for myself?

Ziel Feldman: Kids come to be mentored all the time and they say I want to go to law school but end up wanting to be in real estate. Should I first practice law after I come out of law school or should I go into real estate? My own personal experience was learning a lot, 1984 again until 1989 was a crazy time in real estate. We were very active doing transactional work for clients and for me practicing about six years, it was like three years too long. Like many lawyers, you think you're smarter than your clients and through 1988, the market was on a huge upswing and a lot of wealth was created. You know, these white halls and the paradiums of the World War started there, Goldman Sachs white hall, did a lot of their purchasing of mortgages and foreclosures coming out of that crisis. So for me I learned a lot practicing transactional work, but because we thought were always smarter we started buying real estate and put together a few deals as lawyers which we closed in 1987 and was a great idea.



LK: Right timing.

ZF: I spent the next three years working out those deals that we thought we was so smart about and I made a decision in 1990 that I could have become either bankruptcy lawyer because all my clients were bankrupt. Instead we decided to form a company called Property Markets Group because of a guy named Kevin Bologna, who is also an active developer today.

LK: It may be somebody else in there as well.

ZF: Well, Gary Barnett joined. He was in the diamond business in Belgium and was making his first look for a way into New York and we partnered up sometime in the early 90s. So all the stuff, we did together in New York for period of time.


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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