After more than two decades with Lendlease, the head of the company’s eastern region is heading to a firm that set up shop in New York five years ago.
Ralph Esposito, president and general manager of Lendlease’s East Region construction division, will serve as president of Suffolk Construction’s Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region operations, company representatives told The Real Deal. Esposito said he has been impressed by Suffolk’s growth since it first opened its New York City office in 2015 and was drawn to the company’s commitment to technology.
“You are always mindful of what your competition is doing,” Esposito said in an interview. “Over the past five years, I watched Suffolk with great admiration.”
Suffolk, which was founded in the 1980s and is headquartered in Boston, has offices in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and elsewhere in the U.S. The company’s recent projects in New York include a 126-unit condo tower at 50 Bridge Park Drive in Brooklyn Heights and a 429-unit apartment building at 222 East 44th Street in Turtle Bay. Suffolk also recently invested in building materials start-up, Agora, as part of a broader effort to invest in new construction tech companies.
Esposito will work alongside Charlie Avolio, president and general manager of the firm’s New York operations. Suffolk CEO John Fish described Esposito’s hiring as a “coup and important milestone” for his company.
Denis Hickey, CEO of Lendlease Americas, said the firm was “grateful for [Esposito’s] contribution and wish him the best with his future endeavors.” He added that in the short term, Mike Fratianni, managing director of Lendlease’s construction in North and South America, who is based in New York City, will be taking over Esposito’s role.
Esposito’s departure from Lendlease comes as the luxury residential market — a sector the international construction giant has dominated in New York City — is taking a beating. Manhattan home sales plunged 56 percent year over year between March 23 and Aug. 16, according to the Wall Street Journal, based on data from UrbanDigs. The drop for properties priced at $4 million or above was even steeper during that time frame, at 67 percent. Lendlease has been doubling down on development, most recently picking up a Greenpoint site with an Australian pension fund for $110.8 million.