Charlie Bendit’s real estate career isn’t one that started in a Manhattan office building. Rather, the Taconic Investment Partners co-CEO got his start chasing rent checks in northern New Jersey with a client that worked with his father.
“He took me to some of his apartment buildings in Newark, N.J. — and in the back of his car were two German shepherds,” Bendit told The Real Deal’s Hiten Samtani in a sit-down interview with the firm’s two principals. “I came back home and my father said, ‘So, what do you think about owning real estate?’ and I said ‘I got to go buy some German shepherds!’”
In 1981, he traded in man’s best friend to join Paul Pariser at JLL’s predecessor, Jones Lang Wootton. The pair would go on to launch Taconic in 1997. Just two weeks after striking it on their own, they moved on a four-building portfolio — 111 Eighth Avenue, 95 Wall Street, 99 Wall Street and 100 William Street — marking their first major bet on the Meatpacking District.
“Within four or five months of starting Taconic, we were now managing four million feet,” Pariser said. “We had a significant enough interest in that portfolio, and we were off to the races — so we were extremely lucky.”
Since its inception, Taconic has done deals for 12 million square feet of commercial space and 3,000 residential units. Its most notable deals include Google’s $1.77 billion acquisition of 111 Eighth Avenue, and the sale of 837 Washington Avenue with Thor Equities for $200 million — a record for the neighborhood.
“We saw the slow transformation of the Meatpacking District,” Pariser said.
Now, Bendit and Pariser are setting their sights on Manhattan’s East side, with the development of Essex Crossing with L+M Development Partners and BFC Partners. The 1.9 million-square-foot mixed-use development on the Lower East Side is one of the largest urban renewable projects in city history.
To see the partners talk more about the megaproject, the Meatpacking District’s transformation and which deals got away, watch the video above.
Produced by Alistair Gardiner and Kerry Barger. Interview conducted by Hiten Samtani
For more videos, visit The Real Deal’s YouTube page.