At the desk of: Craig Deitelzweig

The Marx Realty CEO on preserving the character of buildings, his favorite surfing spots and pushing for the Guggenheim to move to LIC

Jun.June 01, 2019 01:00 PM

Craig Deitelzweig (Photo by Emily Assiran)

Craig Deitelzweig’s first foray into real estate was as an attorney at Skadden Arps in the late 1990s, where he realized he wanted to be more entrenched in New York’s property business. More than a decade and a half later, Deitelzweig joined Marx Realty — the development and management arm of Merchants’ National Properties — as its president and CEO in 2017. Prior to that, he served as managing director at Stamford-based Building and Land Technology, where he oversaw a national portfolio of office, multifamily and hotel buildings. Deitelzweig, 45, also previously headed Rockrose Development’s office division and led leasing and asset management at Ruben Companies. Today, he is focused on Marx’s effort to blend aspects of the hospitality business into its office spaces — adding amenities not traditionally seen in commercial buildings, such as doormen. The firm’s portfolio, spanning 2.2 million square feet in New York City, includes 10 Grand Central, where Marx’s headquarters is located. Deitelzweig has a spacious, sparingly decorated corner office on the seventh floor. The Queens native now lives in Westchester with his wife and teenage daughter.

Deal book

Marx Realty’s founder, Leonard Marx, who died at the age of 97 in 2002, had a tradition of assembling binders that tracked and displayed the firm’s real estate purchases. This leather-bound volume sits on the coffee table in front of Deitelzweig’s couch. “This one has a lot of Woolworth stores,” he said. “It’s interesting to see how the company has evolved through all the different real estate that was purchased.”

Guggenheim sculpture

During his stint at Rockrose, Deitelzweig was in talks for a deal involving Manhattan’s Guggenheim Museum. That included potentially moving its office space from the Upper East Side to Long Island City — with an additional museum opening there. But Deitelzweig was disappointed in 2012 when, after about a year’s worth of work, the deal didn’t pan out. So, his son, who’s now in college, made this sculpture of the Guggenheim to cheer him up.

Surfing sign

This sign points to one of Deitelzweig’s favorite hobbies. Locally, he frequents Long Beach and Montauk, but Deitelzweig said he’s also gone surfing in different countries. Tel Aviv is his favorite international spot to date. “It was really fun, and we did it all as a family,” he said. “I love surfing and the ocean; it makes me feel peaceful.”

Mets program

Deitelzweig is a big fan of the New York Mets. And this program, signed by all the team’s players in 1986 (the last time the Mets won the World Series), was a gift from a tenant. A private equity firm gave it to him as “a kind of appreciation,” he said. To Deitelzweig, that demonstrated that “if you do right by tenants, they do right by you.”

Small Bible

This pocket Bible has been Deitelzweig’s good luck charm since high school. His grandfather, who used to carry it around with him, passed it on to Deitelzweig before he died. “If I have an important meeting, I put it in my pocket,” he said, adding that it’s gotten him through everything from SAT and LSAT exams to job interviews.

Copper eagle

This eagle was perched on top of one of Marx’s buildings, dating back to the 1920s, in Atlanta. The statue was carefully removed for the building to undergo renovation, and it now sits on Deitelzweig’s windowsill. It reflects the significance of maintaining a building’s history even amid efforts to modernize, he noted. “It’s amazing all the character you see in all these buildings,” the CEO said. “Keeping a little piece of it is meaningful.”


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