The Real Deal New York

Day in the Life of: Eran Polack

Hap Investment CEO talks about his daughter’s takedown of architect/designer Karim Rashid, checking out potential development sites and boxing for fun

January 02, 2015
By Mark Maurer

eran-polack

Eran Polack (credit: Dominique Pettway)

Eran Polack is CEO and co-founder of HAP Investment Developers, best known for its collaborations with architect/designer Karim Rashid in northern Manhattan. Polack, 41, launched HAP in the 1990s with investments in Kiev, Budapest, Hungary, and later Tel Aviv. The firm expanded in 2010 to New York City. Last year, Polack moved his family to New York from Israel. HAP specializes in mid-sized commercial and residential projects — four of which are now under construction in New York. In October, Polack agreed to tone down Rashid’s design of an eight-story rental building at 329 Pleasant Avenue, where planned pink and turquoise balconies were met with criticism. Meanwhile, HAP is also at work on a $400 million residential tower in Jersey City, slated to rise 42 stories.

6 a.m. I wake up every day in a prewar rental building on the Upper West Side. I have four kids — Maya, 9; Gur Arie, 6; Maor, 6, and Eviatar, 2. I prepare their lunchboxes and get them ready for school. They like pasta and fresh vegetables.

7 a.m. I sit with the newspaper a little bit, and go through Facebook and LinkedIn, before getting ready myself. I usually eat yogurt with fruit, or homemade granola.

7:30 a.m. I walk a couple blocks with my kids to school and the nursery. Three of them go to the P.S. 87 William T. Sherman School and the youngest goes to a Montessori 
nursery.

8:15 a.m. I get picked up and driven to the different sites we have under construction. We have one project that’s newly finished and four that are under construction, including a rental [at 653-657 187th Street] that we broke ground at last month. I talk with everyone on the site: the project manager, the driller, the electrician and others. I like to go through the details and ask how they feel about the project. I talk to neighbors and make sure nothing with the project is interfering with their life.

10:30 a.m. I come into the office [at 347 Fifth Avenue in Midtown]. Within the first hour, I talk to the project managers about projects that are in the design or Department of Buildings phase.

12:30 p.m. I don’t like to go out for business lunches, it distracts from my focus. I prefer to have something small and quick, like a salad or something from Chipotle. I do my best to be healthy.

Karim Rashid

Karim Rashid

1:30 p.m. I meet with brokers, construction companies, legal consultants and possible joint-venture partners in the office. I’m usually here for the rest of the day. We’re moving in a few months to a new 10,000-square-foot office space at 54th Street and Fifth Avenue.

2:30 p.m. Architects and designers like Karim Rashid, Karl Fischer and WASA/Studio A come in to talk about designs and layouts. Karim and I are very good friends, so we spend a lot of private time together. But we do have a lot of philosophical arguments. Karim has very interesting ideas, and we, as developers, try to bring some of them to life, and some of the ideas need to be adjusted.

4 p.m. In the afternoon, I focus on buying new projects and working on marketing. We hold internal meetings with the business development team, led by my partner Amir [Hasid]. Every two weeks, we check out two or three sites we really like that we might want to buy. We would walk around a particular neighborhood and eat there. We keep looking in East and West Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood and Jersey City — and increasingly in Lower Manhattan. Prices are very high, so it’s becoming harder and harder to make deals.

the restaurant Marea

Marea

5:50 p.m. I try to hear a little bit of music — Coldplay and Cyndi Lauper recently — for five or 10 minutes.

6 p.m. I go home and spend time with my kids. Cooking is my main hobby. I cook fresh pasta and steak for dinner. My wife bakes cookies and cheesecake. (On Saturdays, we cook the whole day.) I also try to go out to dinner and drinks with my wife two times a week. We really like the Italian seafood restaurant Marea.

7 p.m. We all sit together for dinner and everyone talks about their day. I get very specific about my projects. My daughter gave her opinion on the original Pleasant Avenue building design to Karim directly. She didn’t like it. She didn’t like the colors, I don’t think. She’s 9 now — she’s out of her pink stage. She’s giving away her dolls and her dollhouse now. She preferred the new design. I think everybody does.

boxing8 p.m. After the kids go to bed, I either go boxing or running. I box with a trainer at the Equinox gym, just for fun. During the summer, I go to Central Park.

10 p.m. I read a lot, but mostly newspapers and magazines. I watch a lot of documentaries. I recently saw “El Bulli: Cooking In Progress” — about the restaurant in Catalonia, Spain — and “Somm” — about the Master Sommelier exam. I also like documentaries about rock bands like the Doors, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles — those wild days.

12 a.m. I go to sleep.

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