The Real Deal New York

Soloviev Destiny: Sheldon Solow’s son plans to take company out west

Father-son pair talk firm’s transition, new condo strategy
April 06, 2018 12:35PM

Sheldon Solow, Stefan Soloviev and 685 First Avenue (Credit: Getty Images, Twitter and Richard Meier & Partners Architects)

Sheldon Solow is 89 years old, so it’s hardly surprising that his 42-year-old son Stefan, who goes by the pre-Ellis Island surname Soloviev, is taking a bigger role at the family company. The two recently sat down with the New York Times for a rare interview. Soloviev, it turns out, has plans to take the firm in a different direction.

“My father is very stuck in his ways,” he told the Times. “He has his area, and that’s it. But I would like to build in other cities, like out west, which I know very well because I’ve spent a lot of my life there.”

Soloviev, who is 42, spent years running a farming and cattle business in New Mexico and other Western states, but now he’s back in the Big Apple overseeing 685 First Avenue, the rental and condominium tower set to open this year.

Soloviev talked his father into adding balconies to some units (“He won,” Solow said) and talked him out of opening an upscale restaurant at the building. “I would have to strongly advise against it,” Soloviev said. “I say no to everybody. I do things my way, and sometimes it’s not that popular.”

Originally envisioned as a rental-only tower, 685 First will include 148 condos alongside 408 rentals. The firm is targeting a $551 million sellout at the all-black glass building. Solow blamed the expiration of the 421a tax abatement program, which he claims made rental construction unfeasible. The master plan for the site, developed by architect Richard Meier, calls for three more residential towers. Soloviev said they are no longer planned as rentals, but condos.

Soloviev told the Times he was “disappointed” and angry after learning about the sexual harassment accusations against the architect, who is taking a six-month leave from his namesake firm.

“I didn’t see it coming,” he told the Times. “But his firm did their job and gave us a beautiful building.”

The Real Deal broke down Solow’s current development projects in the October issue.  [NYT]Konrad Putzier