Developers have always looked for opportunities to create the most exquisite homes in the most prestigious cities. Nowadays, however, there is often not enough space within those cities for new development. This is especially true for New York, where towering skyscrapers and historical structures are tightly packed together. Developers craftily respond to this problem in two ways: either going out to nearby suburbs to build out from the city, or joining the towers and building upwards.
The fifteen developers listed here are proven masters of the craft, delivering the best residences in town. Taking to account the different ways developers make home spaces, the list is divided into three parts: custom home and townhouse communities, small to medium apartments and condominiums, and large apartments and condominiums.
Single-Family Home Communities
This first category looks at the work of developers who went to city suburbs to build the type of residences that embody the classic American dream: single-family homes.
5) JBC Development, LLC
Website | 914.764.0152 | Pound Ridge, NY
JBC Development, LLC was formed in 1997 by Barry Cohen after he gained experience in finance and real estate development. In addition to developing and managing residential properties, JBC also holds commercial development properties in its portfolio, which is currently valued at well over $150 million.
The company’s first project was in Mahopac, NY, where it developed a 14-lot subdivision comprised of single family colonial style homes. Since then, JBC has created more custom home developments in Westchester and Dutchess counties and in upscale areas such as Bedford and Pound Ridge.
4) Rockwell Developers
Website | 516.829.0026 | 60 Cuttermill Rd, Ste 610, Great Neck, NY 11021
Principals Danny Ostad and Jonathan Bijari lead Rockwell Developers with a combined 35 years of experience. The firm’s portfolio features exquisite custom homes with sizes that range between 4,000 and 10,000 square feet, with some projects even larger.
Originally a design-build firm specializing in custom homes and renovations, the firm has now expanded into being a builder-developer, acquiring profitable development properties all over northern Long Island. Recently, it has partnered with Sharestates, an online real estate investment platform, to develop a $4.5 million-dollar home along Long Island’s Gold Coast.
3) DeNardo Development
Website | 914.693.1567 | Irvington, NY, US 10533
Since the age of 18, Joseph DeNardo has been involved with general contracting and real estate development, having been exposed to every stage of the two industries. Founded more than 20 years ago, DeNardo Development has been offering its services to residents in Westchester County and the Hudson Valley.
Described as having an “obsessive commitment to quality,” DeNardo has the experience and expertise to deliver superb projects that showcase his comprehensive experience, superb craftsmanship, and extensive connections with the best construction and development professionals in New York.
2) Ginsburg Development Companies
Website | 914.747.3600 | 100 Summit Lake Dr, Ste 235, Valhalla, NY 10595
Architect Martin Ginsburg founded Ginsburg Development Companies in 1963, bringing with him acute attention to design, site planning and detail. Since then, the firm has built award-winning developments across New York and Connecticut.
The firm’s portfolio consists of both condos/apartments and single-family home communities. Ginsburg has been responsible for some of the region’s most successful and prestigious luxury developments, including Boulder Ridge, Pondside, Mystic Pointe, The Fairways, Quaker Green, Gillette Ridge, Marbury Corners, and Christie Place. In New Rochelle, Ginsburg developed Kensington Woods, a community composed of 52 stone and stucco homes.
1) Wellbuilt Company
Website | 917.475.1207 | 147 W 29th St, New York, NY, 10001
Headquartered in New York City, with offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Australia, Wellbuilt Company is a full-service builder and developer founded in 2009 by Scott Lumby and Mitch Kidd. Lumby comes from a family background in real estate and development, while Kidd has been in the construction business since 2001.
The firm has a full range of services in real estate development, construction, and asset management. Wellbuilt has a portfolio of development and construction projects in a wide array of markets, including single-family, multi-family residential, commercial, retail, hospitality, and government. The firm has been featured in such publications as Elle Decor, Lonny, Architectural Digest, Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.
Small-to-Medium Condominiums and Apartments
This next category looks at the top developers of small-to medium-condominiums and apartments. Though relatively small, with footprints of around 150,000 square feet or less, these developments still deliver splendid spaces to call home.
5) Rybak Development
Website | 718.758.5333 | 1817 Emmons Ave, Brooklyn, NY
Rybak Development is a leading NYC real estate development and construction firm, known for quality, operational efficiency, and product innovation. Specializing in commercial and mixed-use developments built from the ground up, Rybak Development has constructed some of the most notable new condominiums across the New York City metro area such as Element88.
The firm developed a portfolio of over 2.4 million sq. ft. of residential and commercial NYC real estate that was acquired, developed and/or under management. The firm has been featured in The Real Deal, NYREJ, Mansion Global, The New York Post and The New York Times. One of the firm’s latest projects is the Sea Breeze Tower along Brooklyn’s southern shore, a 179,863 sq. ft. ground up mixed-use building boasting 114 residential rental units above a 27,000SF commercial space.
Website | 212.741.1325 | 11 East 26th St, New York, NY 10010
Since 1998, Stephen Glascock and his firm, Anbau, has been leading the industry of high-end condominium homes. Prior to establishing the firm, Glascock was Senior Development Officer of Continuum Company, where he was responsible for the development of the 101-unit Richmond Condominiums on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
At the heart of Upper West Side, Anbau recently finished 207 West 79th Street, a 13-story, 71,000 square-foot luxury condominium. The pre-war-styled residence offers a full range of residence types with specialized lighting, the latest kitchens, and access to great restaurants, shopping & public transportation.
3) Cape Advisors
Website | 212.343.1700 | 483 Broadway, 5th Flr, New York, NY 10013
Managing partners Craig Wood and Curtis Bashaw established Cape Advisors in 1995 as a real estate development and investment firm. Wood and Bashaw lead the company, which has recently completed a total of over $1.5 billion in projects; including multifamily residential, hotel and conference centers, land development, retail, historic preservation, adaptive re-use, and environmentally-sensitive projects.
The condominium complex at 30 Warren Street represents the latest of Cape Advisors’ developments. The project is a collection of 23 architecturally distinctive one- to three- bedroom design-forward condominium residences.
2) Simon Baron Development
Website | 212.953.7777 | 757 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10017
Founded in 1990, Simon Baron Development is a New York City-based firm specializing in residential real estate development. With the majority of its projects new developments and redevelopments of older properties, the company is proud of its special development expertise which enables the firm to complete unique and challenging projects.
In addition to condominiums and apartments, Simon Baron has a handful of hotels in its portfolio. The condominium at 12 East 88th Street is an excellent example of Simon Baron’s capabilities, redeveloping a prewar, Rosario Candela-designed apartment complex into a modern luxury condominium.
1) Charney Construction & Development LLC
Website | 718.937.1000 | 5-26 46th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
Founded by Sam Charney, Charney Construction and Development is a fully integrated real estate development, construction, and management firm with a focus on developing, owning and operating first-class residential and commercial real estate in the New York City Metro area. From ground up construction to adaptive reuse and value-add repositioning, Charney plays an integral role in all aspects of the development process and leverages the expertise and experience of their principals to deliver superior products to the marketplace and best in class returns for their investors. The firm owns, operates and is under construction on over half a million square feet throughout Brooklyn and Queens, and has won awards and accommodations from municipal organizations and media outlets for their work over the last 5 years. Charney is currently building, delivering and designing low and mixed-income housing under the “affordable NYC program”, and has recently shepherded and completed projects through the NYC environmental voluntary cleanup program.
Charney previously worked for Two Trees Management Co., LLC as project manager and co-head of acquisition. The firm’s current project, The Dime at Long Island City, features 177 for rental apartments, 100,000 rentable square feet of office, 55,000 square feet of ground floor retail, and 340 parking spaces.
Large Condominiums and Apartments
This last category looks at the developers of large condominium complexes and apartments. These condominiums are more than 200,000 square feet in footprint and are usually the supertall residences found within metro NYC.
5) Douglaston Development, LLC
Website | 212.991.4545 | 7 Penn Plaza, Ste 600, New York, NY 10001
Douglaston Development LLC is the real estate development arm of The Douglaston Companies, a developer, builder, and owner company based in Douglaston, NY. The conglomerate was founded by 1979 when Chairman Jeffrey Levine established Levine Builders with just two people.
Since that time, the firm has won several awards, including the NAHB Pillars in the Industry Award and the Queens and Bronx Building Association Excellence in Design & Construction Award. One of its premium condominiums is 325 5th Avenue, a 390,000-plus square foot tower that is located across from the Empire State Building.
4) Rose Associates
Website | 212.210.6666 | 200 Madison Ave, 5th Flr, New York, NY 10016-3912
With a portfolio amounting to over $2 billion in projects in the last 5 years alone, Rose Associates has become one of the leading multi-family and mixed-use real estate developers and operators in the city. This total includes the more than 14,000 units across New York City.
David and Samuel Rose founded the company during the pre-Depression boom of the late 1920s, and the firm is currently lead by descendants Adam and Amy Rose. One of its most recent projects is Aalto 57 at 1065 Second Avenue, a 59-story LEED Silver-Certified tower featuring 169 rental apartments and 95 condo units.
3) Forest City Realty Trust
Website | 1 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Forest City Realty Trust is a real estate development and management firm headquartered in Cleveland, OH, with offices and core markets in New York City, Washington, DC, Dallas, Denver, and San Francisco. Charles, Max, Leonard, and Fannie Ratner founded the firm in 1920 after they emigrated from Poland.
The company originally sold materials to contractors, then eventually moved on to development by the 1930’s. The firm is known for its development of New York by Gehry, the 76-story apartment located at 8 Spruce Street.
2) Durst Organization
Website | 212.257.6600 | One Bryant Park, New York, NY 10036
Joseph Durst, an immigrant from present-day Poland, founded what would become the Durst Organization in 1915. The company is now an award-winning, industry-leading, family-run development firm.
Throughout its history, it firmly holds on to the principles of innovation, integrity, community, and sustainability, developing, building, owning, and managing premier office towers and residential buildings that set new standards in environmental responsibility and user efficiency. Durst’s latest residential project, the 35-floor, 831,000 square-foot VIΛ 57 WEST, has received multiple awards, including the AIA Housing Award and the ACEC Excellence in Engineering National Award.
1) Vornado Realty Trust
Website | 212.894.7000 | 888 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Chairman and CEO Stephen Roth founded the Vornado Realty Trust in 1982 based on the holdings of a discount store chain and a struggling retailer in New York. From there, the company has grown to currently own and develop 107 office and street retail properties, with a total floor area of 23 million square feet in Manhattan alone. It also has a veritable portfolio of residential properties with a total unit count of more than 2,000.
These include The Lucida at 151 East 85th Street, and 677–679 Madison Avenue, both on the Upper East Side; and 50/70 West 93rd Street on the Upper West Side. Currently under development is one of their most ambitious residential projects ever: the 69-story 220 Central Park South. Vornado is a proud recipient of the Energy Star Partner of the Year Award for Sustained Excellence in 2017, for having a portfolio composed almost exclusively of LEED-certified buildings.