Meet Eyal Ofer, the stealth investor behind some of Manhattan’s priciest projects

May 13, 2013 08:30AM

An Israeli billionaire who resides in Monaco is the under-the-radar majority investor in several of Manhattan’s high-profile residential developments, including the Zeckendorfs’ 50 United Nations Plaza and Rudin Management’s condominium conversion of St. Vincent’s hospital.

Eyal Ofer, a 62-year-old whose net worth, according to Forbes, is $6 billion, has managed to operate in stealth as he normally invests in no-name office buildings, the Wall Street Journal reported. But recent projects “we have got involved with have brought us into the limelight,” he told the Journal.

Equity Group Investments’ Sam Zell, who has known Ofer for 15 years, told the Journal that he was a hands-on investor.

“If he has a big team, I’ve never seen them,” Zell said.

Ofer started investing in New York real estate in the 1980s, beginning with distressed properties on Park Avenue South, which he correctly believed would begin to attract law firms and service companies that were pushed out of Park Avenue.

“It was a concrete jungle, but my wife thought it was a very exciting jungle,” he told the Journal. “It was the only place in the world where you could have a pink mink delivered at midnight!”

Ofer spoke to the Journal from his apartment at 15 Central Park West, the ultra-exclusive building developed by the Zeckendorfs for which he provided a large portion of the equity. More recent projects include the Zeckendorfs’ conversion at 18 Gramercy Park and their construction of 50 United Nations Plaza, as well as a partnership with the Rudin family on the St. Vincent’s project. [WSJ]  –Hiten Samtani