Jonathan Landau leaves Fortis to launch firm

Family venture to focus on properties in New York, South Florida and Boston

Jonathan Landau
Jonathan Landau

Jonathan Landau has stepped down as CEO of the luxury property developer Fortis Property Group to start his own firm.

The former chief executive is launching Landau Properties, a new real estate venture that will look to acquire and operate properties in New York, South Florida and Boston. Landau will be joined by daughter Yaeli and son-in-law DC Lowinger.

“I’ve always wanted to work closely with my family and am excited about the opportunity to lead my own real estate and development firm,” he said in a statement.

Landau, a former transactional tax attorney with DLA Piper, led Fortis for a number of years along with the father-son team of Joel and Louis Kestenbaum.

“I am tremendously proud of all of the successes that we have accomplished over these past few years through hard work and diligent investment oversight,” said Fortis chairman Louis Kestenbaum in a statement. “I know that with this new team in place we will be ideally positioned to take on all challenges as we continue to grow and prosper. God willing.”

Landau’s departure comes amid a series of highs and lows for Fortis.

Fortis’ Olympia Dumbo is set to become one of the most expensive condo buildings in Brooklyn on a price per square foot basis as it nears completion. The developer also recently scored a $1 billion refinance for its Class A office tower in Boston’s Financial District during a difficult lending market.

But the company has experienced some lows. A few months ago, Madison Realty Capital initiated a foreclosure on two of Fortis’s prized condo development sites in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn that were once home to the Long Island College Hospital campus. Fortis ended up selling the sites to Madison for an undisclosed price to avoid the foreclosure.

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In Manhattan, Fortis has been battling a foreclosure on an unfinished condo tower in the South Street Seaport. The tower, which was plagued with delays and disputes with its contractors, gained the nickname “The Leaning Tower” because it leans three inches to the right.

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Landau met Louis Kestenbaum when he was seeking to bring on a joint venture partner at 184 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg in the early 2000s. Landau represented Kestenbaum in the deal. The two also worked on the Williamsburg condo towers Northside Piers.

Landau’s first venture at his new firm will be in Miami’s Bay Harbor Islands, where the company plans to build luxury residences. Pre-sales are expected to launch next year and construction is set to begin in May.

9110 West Bay Harbor Drive

9110 West Bay Harbor Drive

With the news of Landau’s departure, Fortis announced a corporate restructuring. Joel Kestenbaum will become CEO and Terrence Storey will transition from chief financial officer to chief operating officer and chief investment officer.

The company announced a series of new hires as well, including Joseph Ginex who previously served as an executive at Hidrock Properties, as chief development officer. It also hired Tom Palazzo as chief financial officer, who previously held the position at The Chapman Group and RedSky Capital.