How Pinnacle’s Joel Wiener became a real estate billionaire

Bloomberg analysis shows he's jumped from $124M to $1B in 16 years
November 20, 2017 01:40PM

Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and Riverside Apartments at 2-34 Columbia Place (Credit: YouTube and Google Maps)

Between 2005 and 2006, Pinnacle Group’s Joel Wiener spent a billion dollars acquiring New York City property. Now he’s actually worth $1 billion himself, according to a new Bloomberg analysis.

Since 2001, Wiener’s wealth has jumped from $124 million to $1 billion, despite once being the target of tenant harassment and fraud investigations from both the New York State attorney general and the Manhattan District Attorney.

His company now manages $2 billion worth of real estate, including 10,000 mostly rent-regulated apartments. Wiener has also converted 25 buildings into condominiums, such as the 144-unit 142-20 Franklin Avenue in Flushing, where Wiener is putting $76 million in product on the market.

But critics and tenant advocates say this lucrative empire is built on the backs of of exploited New York City renters, something Wiener’s attorney Ken Fisher denies.

“Some tenant activists are so extreme that they probably blame Joel for the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn,” Fisher told Bloomberg.

Legal battles with tenants have not curtailed the Pinnacle chief’s ascent to billionaire status, and in recent years, Wiener has counted on the Israeli bond market for extra financing for his deals, raising $255 million in several fundraising rounds, plus a recent refinancing worth $533 million, records show. [Bloomberg]Will Parker