Joshua Caspi, principal of Caspi Development, comes from a long line of real estate developers, starting with his grandfather and then his father. They have all seen the potential in an underutilized property and reimagining it into a thing of beauty.
Today, with Mr. Caspi, 42, at the helm, the company manages a diverse portfolio of residential, commercial and hotel properties throughout Manhattan the Bronx and Westchester, north of New York City. We caught up with him recently to chat about just who’s buying, what’s hot in the New York real estate market and where it’s going.
Mansion Global: What made you get into real estate development?
Joshua Caspi: From the youngest age, I was interested in building. I used to spend weekends with my father driving around to his development sites and learning everything I could about construction. I would also spend hours playing with building blocks and would nail together towers—truly anything that I could get my hands on. At the age of 20, I started as a laborer working on high-rise buildings in New York City and never looked back.
MG: How and when did Caspi Development come to be?
JC: Caspi Development began in the 1950s with my grandfather Joseph Caspi’s acquisition of several high-profile apartment buildings throughout Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester. My father, Steven Caspi, further diversified our portfolio in the 1990s by expanding into premier office buildings and the hotel market, through the acquisition and development of both boutique and large hotel properties. He became a prolific developer in Westchester, at the time developing some of the finest condominium high-rises throughout Westchester and Fairfield, Connecticut.
MG: What’s hot in commercial and residential real estate in New York?
JC: We have seen notable activity in the residential market with rentals in particular rebounding quickly. The condo market has also experienced sustained activity. Retailers are capitalizing on opportunities post-Covid to make a name for themselves, and I believe that the downtown Manhattan hotel market is poised to explode as tourism regains momentum.
MG: What trend are you seeing in building design?
JC: Environmentally friendly buildings are on the forefront. We are focused on how we can develop buildings using carbon-neutral materials and utilizing less energy in the future. Quality, thoughtfulness and attention to detail are timeless trends.
MG: Who is buying now and what are they looking for?
JC: New York City’s residential real estate market remained active throughout the summer. Buyers are enthusiastic, and families that are entering the school system are returning to the city seeking comfortable value for their money.
MG: What’s happening in New York real estate with the worst of the pandemic seemingly behind it?
JC: People are finishing projects they started pre-Covid, leasing has picked up significantly with lower rents, but rent compression is happening in the residential market, and we are starting to see a considerable increase of activity in the office sector. Retail has been active for some time now, albeit at lower rents. Things are expected to absorb, and rents will climb considerably.
MG: What projects are you working on right now?
JC: One of our most recent projects is Hotel Barrière Le Fouquet’s New York. Located in Tribeca, the elegant five-star hotel will feature 97 beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites, as well as several intimate food and beverage destinations and world-renowned amenities. I have my sights set on opening in Los Angeles in the future. We have also continued to prioritize the diversity of our portfolio with new residential and commercial properties, such as a boutique rental building located at 144 West St.; 157 West 18th St., which offers ground-floor retail with full-floor boutique office suites; and 134 Broadway in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which features full-floor office opportunities.
MG: What’s your idea of luxury?
JC: Luxury is an environment that provides a true sense of well-being without trying too hard to achieve it. In this sense, the infrastructure, layout and location all play a role that is equally important to the design aesthetics.
MG: What’s your favorite part of your home?
JC: I love my recently completed spa. It is the size of a small pool, and half of it is six-feet deep with jets running from your neck to your calves to create a truly unique experience and welcomed respite.
MG: What would your dream home look like?
JC: I am fortunate that my dream home would look exactly as it does, although at times, I wouldn’t mind looking out at the Pacific Ocean versus the woods of Connecticut.