Once a strictly New York City enterprise, the LeFrak Organization has branched out across the Hudson and around the world. The real estate development company is one of the largest private landlords in the US, managing more than 200 apartment buildings (affordable and upscale) in New York, New Jersey, and more recently California, Oregon, and Washington. The company also owns millions of square feet of commercial space, with new developments in London. LeFrak's office and retail holdings include 9701 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills and its flagship office tower at 40 West 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan, home to such tenants as Nautica and Wells Fargo. Still family-owned and run, LeFrak was founded in 1901.
The LeFrak Organization has developed property in New Jersey since 1995, focusing solely on the $10 billion mixed-use Newport in Jersey City. The 600-acre community of apartments, shopping centers, hotels, and office buildings sits on the Hudson River waterfront overlooking Lower Manhattan. It is one of the largest waterfront communities in the US. The company has built office towers (occupied by CIGNA, U.S. Trust, and UBS Financial Services, among others) on the site, and plans for further developments are under way. The master-planned development includes 9,000 apartment units and 9 million sq. ft. of commercial space.
Although the company has sold some of its older working-class apartment buildings in Queens and Brooklyn, LeFrak reportedly has no plans to sell its flagship residential development, the 5,000-unit LeFrak City in Queens, which has been home to groups and working- and middle-class tenants.
The organization is expanding beyond New York in an attempt to diversify geographically, for the first time buying office buildings and a medical building in Beverly Hills and a development site on Hollywood Boulevard, which it plans to turn into a luxury high-rise apartment complex. LeFrak (through a partnership with Kennedy Wilson) also has made several investments in multifamily developments in the Pacific Northwest. Overseas the organization is looking for new commercial and multifamily developments in London. It owns a minority stake in London developer Minerva.
In addition to real estate, LeFrak has holdings in oil and gas exploration and wind energy generation through its LeFrak Oil and Gas Organization Inc. (LOGO). The company owns interest in about 860 oil and gas wells in the US and is looking to buy more. The firm opened offices in Houston in 2010. The presence will help LeFrak expand in the oil and gas industry.
LeFrak's investments division invests in foreign and domestic equities. Its merchant banking arm has been busy seizing opportunities to buy up parts of distressed banks. In 2009 LeFrak Organization was among investors that acquired the banking operations of Florida's BankUnited FSB after it failed. Also that year LeFrak and other investors acquired construction loans from Chicago-based Corus Bank. In 2010 LeFrak bought 10% of London's new retail bank Metro Bank. – less