640 Fifth Avenue, 3rd floor
New York, NY 10019-6102
By the time of his death at age 70 in October 1987, Sol Goldman had amassed the largest privately held real estate empire in New York City. It totaled more than 600 buildings, some of which he controlled through leaseholds and others through owning outright. The empire remains active today, though with a couple of hundred fewer properties, through Solil Management Corp., which is controlled by Goldmans descendants.
Gold was born and raised in Brooklyn, the son of a grocer. He started trading properties during the Great Depression at age 16 by offering $500 in cash for each building he wanted. In the 1950s, he teamed with his friend Alex DiLorenzo Jr. and moved on to big fare, including the Chrysler Building, which the pair bought in 1960.
The pair lost that skyscraper to foreclosure in the 1970s amid more difficult economic times. Still, Goldman kept wheeling and dealing (Lorenzo died of a heart attack at his desk in the Chrysler Building in 1975). He made 23 building trades in 1983 alone, and then beat that total with 26 three years later.
Shortly before his death and right afterward, Goldmans widow and children went to court over his fortune, with his wife, Lillian Schuman, receiving one-third of the empire and the children managing the rest. Goldmans nephew, Lloyd Goldman, is also a prominent landlord in New York City. -TA