Lou Ceruzzi, one of Manhattan’s most active luxury developers, dies at 64

Ceruzzi Properties is leading several NYC high-rise projects
By Konrad Putzier | September 01, 2017 02:03PM

Lou Ceruzzi

Louis Ceruzzi, founder and president of Ceruzzi Properties and one of Manhattan’s most active luxury residential developers, died unexpectedly Thursday. He was 64.

In a statement, Ceruzzi Properties said that the firm’s management committee will continue running the firm going forward and that the company “intends on continuing all of its development projects and commitments without interruption.”

“We, along with the firm’s employees and partners, are shocked and saddened by this sudden news,” Ceruzzi Properties’ general counsel Art Hooper said. “Our thoughts are with Lou’s family during this difficult and trying time, and we will work tirelessly to uphold his legacy. It is with heavy hearts that we begin to perform ongoing management duties and ensure a seamless transition and continued success for Ceruzzi Properties.”

The circumstances of Ceruzzi’s death weren’t immediately known.

Ceruzzi started his career as a tax attorney in New Haven before switching to development in the 1980s. Over the following years he built a suburban retail empire in the northeast in part by building stores for big-box brands. In 1997, Ceruzzi partnered with Starwood Capital Group, forming Starwood Ceruzzi.

The developer got his start in Manhattan high-rise development in 2013, when he invested in two development sites.

At 138 East 50th Street, Ceruzzi Properties and business partner SMI USA, the U.S. arm of Shanghai Municipal Investment, are developing a 72-story, 124-unit condo tower. In August they secured a $300 million construction loan from Madison Realty Capital. At 520 Fifth Avenue, which Ceruzzi and SMI bought from Thor Equities in 2015, the two firms are developing a 71-story hotel-and-condominium tower. At 151 East 86th Street, Ceruzzi and Kuafu Properties are developing an 18-story, 61-unit condo building on a leasehold they bought in 2013. Ceruzzi and SMI also bought the land under the famed Lipstick Building for $453 million in February 2016.