The Rabbi of Realty: Lipa Lieberman of Eastern Consolidated on Balancing Religion with Real Estate


“I don’t think there’ll be an immediate conversion,” Mr. Lieberman said. “And rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartments can’t be affected. The family had owned this asset, but they didn’t have a lot of cash and couldn’t give it the oomph it deserved. With Ziel coming in and being willing to put money into The Chatsworth, I believe he’ll blow it out and restore it to its previous grandeur.”

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Currently, Mr. Lieberman is on an Eastern team marketing 380 Columbus Avenue, an 11,795-square-foot retail condominium directly across from the Museum of Natural History, for $25 million. “We have a tremendous amount of interest,” he said. “We may even have a handshake already. We’re very close to signing a contract.”

Of his concentrated work on the Upper West Side, Mr. Lieberman said, “it’s one of the hottest neighborhoods. It’s where people want to place their money, in part because it’s very popular with long-term family residents.”

Soho has been another active neighborhood. Mr. Lieberman has been involved with six deals on Greene Street and 10 deals between Greene and Mercer Streets. Several of those transactions, including 57-63 Greene Street, were retail condominiums. Messrs. Lieberman and Schechtman, with colleague Gary Meese, are currently marketing a package deal in Soho that includes the retail condo at 121 Greene Street and retail co-operative at 349 West Broadway, with 9,500 square feet of retail between them. The deal is priced at $35 million.

“You’ll always have the appeal of retail condos to older buyers who’ve owned buildings and may have sold a development site or done a conversion. They want to own something that will generate income and be less management-intensive. There’s so much demand for retail. We’ve seen a neighborhood like Soho blow out to the point where you literally can’t walk on the sidewalks during the day. You have the customers. It’s not a bubble.”

But the son of Midwood hasn’t forgotten less-refined and more sparsely trafficked neighborhoods. Late last week, The Commercial Observer learned that Mr. Lieberman and colleagues Michele Nicoletta and Mr. Meese were promoting the $9.15 million sale of 348 Atlantic Avenue, the Boerum Hill building that houses the widely fetishized Mile End Deli.

Even closer to his Brooklyn roots, Mr. Lieberman, who now lives in Crown Heights with his wife and three children, works with the Jewish Children’s Museum. He is supporting multiple education projects in the memory of his father, who died five months ago. And while he’s not a religious adviser in the traditional sense, he offers help “when [I] can.”

What would he say if asked to give ethical or spiritual help to the New York real estate industry? “You can be successful while being honest and transparent, and at the same time showing goodwill between two parties.”