John A. Catsimatidis.
You may remember him as the Greek-born billionaire who ran on the Republican ticket for mayor during the last election.
Maybe you also know he earned his fortunes through the oil and petroleum business before starting the Red Apple Group, parent company to the Red Apple and Gristedes supermarkets.
Well, if you didn’t know, now you know. And you should also know this: He’s on a building spree of luxury high rise buildings– one, which has already been erected at Myrtle and Flatbush avenues and three more that are on the way.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Catsimatidis (pronounced Cah-tsee-mah-TEE-dees) discussed his plans for the four buildings on the three city blocks he purchased 30 years ago in Fort Greene.
Back then, the property was worth $400,000. Multiply that amount by 50, and that’s about what the land alone is worth today.
“We built the first one. It’s a rental, about 110 units — studios, one-, two-, three-bedrooms — with a Red Apple supermarket and a CVS store at the bottom,” he told the paper. “We began construction on the next building in November — we’re up to the fourth floor. We should be finished by this fall.
“There will be around 220 to 230 rental units. Then I pressed the button on another building. We are supposed to start the foundation by March or April.
“Then the minute we put the foundation in we start on the fourth building, a 40-story tower. It will be rental, but maybe we’ll put condos on the top 10 floors. We’re reserving our rights.”
Catsimatidis ambitious plans on the land he owns won’t exactly fit into Congressman Jeffries’s game plan to propose a moratorium on luxury apartment construction in his district– the district where Catsimatidis is building– until the government can put into place a comprehensive affordability plan at all levels,” he said during his State of the District address last month.
In fact, it might be safe to say that Catsimatidis disagrees that affordable housing development should be a consideration at all.
“I think New York is going to hit new highs — unless there’s something that the new mayor does that hurts the city. What could hurt it? Street crime could hurt it; adverse increase in taxes could hurt it; adverse demands for housing with an increase of 80/20 may hurt it,” said Catsimatidis.
“I could spend the next couple million dollars building in New York City, or I could spend the next couple million dollars building in Florida.”