Inside the Black Spruce Management by Josh Gotlib

Dong My Building at 626 Avenue 1 (Dong My, iStock)

Dong My Building at 626 Avenue 1 (Dong My, iStock)

Even after buying 4,000 apartments over the past decade, Josh Gotlib is still within sight. His $850 million play for one of the most prominent rental towers in New York could finally put him in the spotlight.

Gotlib, who runs real estate investment firm Black Spruce Management, landed his biggest deal by signing a deal to buy American Copper Buildings, luxury twin towers overlooking the East River in Murray Hill. The purchase of the 750-unit property at 626 First Avenue marked the 36-year-old Lower East Side native’s leap into the top tier of New York traders.

“He is very mature, pragmatic and has a long-term vision,” said Adam Spies of Cushman & Wakefield, who co-leads the acquisition brokerage JDS Development Group and Baupost Group.

Black Spruce, which Gotlib co-founded in 2009 with Oliver Legg, has always been busy with the pandemic. Spies said he’s done more than $1 billion in multiple family transactions with Gotlib in the past year. In November 2020, Black Spruce closed with a $200 million purchase of 50 apartment buildings in the Northwest corner of Central Park, countering a trend in which many major pre-Covid deals have dropped as the pandemic rages. onion.

The company combined those buildings with others earlier this year and refinanced the portfolio in a deal worth about 1,800 apartments for more than $700 million. Black Spruce is also pursuing a Multi-family portfolio in Brooklyn owned by the trusted Yoel Goldman of All Year Management.

Gotlib, who lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children, says Real trading that his company primarily invests in market rates and affordable housing, and has recently made several agreements with the city to preserve affordable apartments.

“We believe in the continued growth and success of the city,” he wrote in an email.

Gotlib worked as a broker at First Meridian Mortgage, where he worked from 2003 to 2007, according to a biography on the Black Spruce website. Over the next two years, he bought, rehab, and sold more than 50 distressed properties in upper Manhattan. In 2009, he began buying back buildings that had been seized by lenders during the Great Depression.

He concentrated early on in places like the Bronx and Brooklyn. As the company expanded, he Bigger deal. In 2015, Black Spruce paid more Normandy Real Estate Partners and Westbrook Partners 100 million dollars for a piece of the Tri Borough portfolio.

Gotlib has partnered with some of the city’s biggest investors. To refinance Manhattan, he invited Isaac Chetrit, who invested $200 million. Two years ago, Gotlib partnered with Ben Ashkenazy to buy a retail and residential building at 25 East 67th Street, on the corner of Madison Avenue, for $70 million.

Many of his deals have affordable housing components like the state’s Title XI program, which provides tax incentives to rehabilitate affordable apartments. About 20 percent of American Copper’s units are reserved for income-restricted residents.

Today, his collection of around 4,000 pieces puts him in one of the largest apartment owner, though you wouldn’t know that from his public profile.

He does not have an account under his name on LinkedIn and likewise cannot be found on Facebook and the Instagram account using that name is private. Two Twitter accounts under his name, each with less than two dozen followers, and haven’t posted in about a decade.

His source of capital remains a mystery that even many of the largest brokerage firms in New York have not been able to solve. One person with knowledge of the company said Gotlib taps into a small network of private investors. Currently, Black Spruce is on the market $550 million loan to finance the US Dong deal.

It is set to become one of the largest apartment building deals in New York history. Inside the Black Spruce Management by Josh Gotlib

Dais Johnston

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