John Catsimatidis

John Catsimatidis

John Catsimatidis

CEO at Red Apple Group

John Catsimatidis
By November 3, 2023 10:00 AM

Tell us about a deal that did NOT go through this year and why it didn’t happen?

This year all of my deals have gone through because of my relationships with the banks. However, a number of banks told me they were “putting a hold” on activities, at least until after Sept. 30. They blamed federal government pressures on items like ratios. This appears to have included the regional banks, too.

Have you refinanced anything in 2022? How difficult/easy was it?

Because my organization has alternatives and options through many sectors (real estate, energy, retail), the banks understand how we have a variety of income sources. In 54 years of business, I have never, ever defaulted on a loan! Recently, we closed on a $153 million loan with Bank of America, no problem!

There’s a lot of Class B and C office in NYC. If you could lay your hands on them at a really great price, what would you do with them?

Right now, I have a wait-and-see attitude. I question how many people are actually returning to work in their offices. There is widespread fear about safety and crime in mass transit. The congestion pricing threat will become a major problem for inner Manhattan. People are very concerned over the sizable additional commuter costs here. For example, Goldman Sachs will be moving 5,000 employees to Texas. I opened a major real estate development office in Florida, and I am now involved with building the tallest condo on Florida’s west coast, about a $400 million investment. I am seriously researching more Florida locations where I may invest several hundred million dollars.

What market outside of NYC do you like and why?

The west coast of Florida is very attractive. I continue to like Brooklyn, where I have already made substantial investments, including development of downtown Brooklyn high-rise rental apartments, and twin towers on the Coney Island Boardwalk. I am interested in investing more money in Brooklyn if government officials continue the 421a incentive and make a solid, demonstrated commitment to law enforcement, crime prevention and public safety (which right now is out of control).

There’s a midterm election this year. How closely are you following, and do you think the national political climate will have an effect in New York?

YES. The Biden administration must implement effective border controls. By allowing the whole world to come here unchecked, without screening to prevent terrorists, drug dealers and criminals, we are corrupting our homeland security and safety. I am pro-legal immigration and we need immigrants who love America — not hate America.

How many days per week are you in the office?

I am in my Manhattan office Monday through Friday. I work from Suffolk County on weekends. I am considering several more energy and real estate projects in Suffolk.

How many days per week are your tenants in the office?

My employees are regularly in the office full time. We do not allow working from home. It takes a tough CEO today to allow companies to survive!

NYC apartment rents have reached never seen levels. How much further can it go? How does the housing squeeze play out?

All aspects must be considered. As mortgage rates are now over 6 percent, the price of homes will fall. People are renting now, hoping that common sense will return to the mortgage interest rates. A lot of developers are now under pressure, borrowing from hedge funds, borrowing from people set up to lend to contractors and new home developers, all with much higher interest rates than the banks charge. This slows down home development and construction. If the Biden administration opens oil development and is cooperative with the industry in the U.S. and Canada, the price of oil can come down to about $60 a barrel, and this will have an impact on lowering inflation, and interest rates.

ESG: fad or fixture?

A fad. People should realize this before the U.S. becomes a Third World country!