The Closing with Kevin Maloney

Kevin Maloney (photo by STUDIO SCRIVO)
Kevin Maloney (photo by STUDIO SCRIVO)

Maloney is the founder and principal of Property Markets Group, a New York City–based real estate acquisition and development firm. The company’s projects include Walker Tower, a condo conversion it developed with JDS Development at 212 West 18th Street, where the penthouse recently sold for $50.9 million, a record for downtown Manhattan. Now the two firms are building a 1,350-foot-tall hotel-and-condo at 111 West 57th Street, which is slated to be the tallest residential tower in the city. Among PMG’s other projects, it’s slated to bring a 44-story mixed-use building with 391 residential units to Long Island City.

Name: Kevin Patrick Maloney
Born: Dec. 5, 1958
Hometown: Amherst, New York
Marital status: Married

What were you like as a kid?

I was difficult. I never could follow rules. My father was [a lawyer] in the Marine Corps, so that made for a very interesting dynamic.

What kind of trouble did you get into?

I was always in trouble with the police, just bucking the system. I took the truck from the family farm when I was 14, put three or four shotguns in the back and a case of beer. I had no license or insurance, and we took it out and were shooting mailboxes. I got picked up by the state troopers, and my father had to come get me.

You were recruited by Chemical Bank out of college. How did you like the finance world?

I worked at 30 Rock, on the 60th floor, before it became famous [for NBC]. It was old, musty, and full of asbestos I’m sure, but it was the heart of New York City. I think they paid me $18,000 a year. I thought I was so rich.

How did you get into real estate?

In college at SUNY Buffalo, I was off-campus in student housing. I quickly figured out the rents and cost of the houses in the neighborhood. The next semester I took my state student loan and bought a house, renovated it and leased it to students. By the time I left college, I had accumulated a few properties. When I left Chemical, I ended up working for Ensign, a $2 billion federal bank, where I ran real estate.

Were your parents surprised by your success given your childhood antics?

They fully expected to come visit me in Attica or another penitentiary, but for some reason it all fell into place.

Where do you live?

My official residence is in Miami. I have a house on the beach in Golden Beach. I also have a beautiful penthouse on 84th and West End Avenue. My wife and daughter live in Miami November through May and in New York May through November. I commute back and forth every week.

What’s your penthouse like?

We have a large terrace where we keep a lot of chickens. We get fresh eggs every day. We have to watch [the chickens] because the hawks have taken a couple of them.

Do you have any other homes?

We have a small ranch outside of Aspen and a flat in London. My wife, Tanya, is from London.

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How did you meet your wife?

I was coming back from swimming at a community pool one morning and I saw a woman bent over a silver Porsche being frisked by two policemen. I was driving by and she looked really cute. I knew one of the cops so I stopped. He thought she was coming back from an all-night party and was drunk, but her position was that she was just a really bad driver. It turned out that she is really a bad driver.

What’s Tanya like?

She’s pretentious and she’s British so she’s got no sense of humor. She drives like an old lady. … I intervened, and he let her go.

How many kids do you have?

I have one daughter who’s eight months old. Her name is Madeleine Rose. I also have two adopted children because I lived with a woman who had two kids. They’re college-age now.

How does it feel to become a dad again at this age?

You’ve got to be nuts to have a kid at 54, but I’m going to get the first 12 to 14 years before she becomes a lunatic teenager. Then I’ll be dead, so her mom can deal with all that stuff. … We have a nanny who lives with us and travels with us, so we get to sleep through the night, which is a big thing.

In the early days of PMG, you worked with Ziel Feldman [now of HFZ Capital] and Gary Barnett [now of Extell Development]. What was that like?

We had a little tiny office with no heat and Home Depot card tables for desks. We were just guys cobbling deals together, begging and borrowing to try to get deals closed.

People have said that you won’t work with Michael Stern of JDS again. Why is that?

There’s probably not a good fit for us to work together going forward. We’re very different personalities. I don’t know that it’s productive for any developer to stand up and get too much on his soapbox, saying look at all the great things I did.

What’s your bad habit?

Not returning phone calls. Everyone wants something from you, and I’d just rather not deal with it.

What are your hobbies?

I’m a pilot. I fly my plane to Florida regularly. It’s a TBM, a high-speed jet turbine.

Why did you get into flying?

Because of my fear of flying. I was living with a woman at the time, and we went to Italy on vacation. I think I’d taken a Xanax, an Ambien and a few glasses of wine and I was still awake wondering what was happening with the airplane. You’re not in charge, so it’s very uncomfortable for me. She said, “I think it’s a control thing.” She bought me a flying lesson for my birthday that year.