By Holly Dutton
A New York City native is meshing design and development and making a big splash in the real estate industry.
NYC native Joshua Gurwitz co-founded Good Property Company in 2009, a firm that specializes in real estate development, brokerage, consulting, financing and investment.
The company blends designers, architects, and project managers to work on residential projects like single-family townhomes and mixed-use buildings and condos.
Gurwitz studied at the Parsons School of Design to become an art dealer, and went to the New York School of Interior Design for commercial and interior design.
“I was always interested in art, design, culture and lifestyle,” he said. “I grew up in a family that did a lot of traveling, and I spent a lot of time in hotels and restaurants and thought at some point that I would like to design them.”
Ultimately, Gurwitz found his way into real estate after working for world-renowned interior design firm Clodagh and then Gensler, where he spent several years.
At Gensler, he was involved in strategic planning, and was asked by a potential client to help raise money for them to purchase a property. If successful, Gensler would be hired to design it.
“I was able to do it and so that’s what got me in (to real estate),” said Gurwitz. “It was sheer beginner’s luck, I had no idea what I was doing. I realized I was good at it — both the business side and the creative side.”
Fast forward eight years later and Gurwitz is running a successful real estate firm with offices in London and Miami, and a highlight reel of impressive projects.
Good Property Co. has built single-family homes and undertaken condo conversions in Miami Beach, and created mixed-use buildings in neighborhoods like the art district of Wynwood in Miami.
In Manhattan, Gurwitz’s firm has been behind single-family townhouses like 23 Downing Street in Greenwich Village, a 3,700 s/f four-story landmarked townhouse currently listed for $9.5 million, and 74 Washington Place in Greenwich Village, a 5,077 s/f five-story townhouse they are converting into a 7-story, 9,200 s/f single-family residence with a private garden. It is expected to be listed for more than $25 million once completed.
In NoHo, Gurwitz is in the process of acquiring a property where the company plans to complete its first high-end condo conversion.
In Brooklyn, Good Property is working on a mixed-use building in Williamsburg at 258 Wythe Street in Williamsburg, where Gurwitz is planning to open a new street-level restaurant and create three commercial lofts above the retail in the four-story building, which is located near the uber-hip Wythe Hotel.
Meanwhile, across the pond, the firm’s Mayfair office is involved in a rezoning effort for a planned building in London, and has several more projects on the drawing board.
In 2009, when Gurwitz started working in Miami, the city was “quite depressed” and it wasn’t until 2011 that the city started to come back from the downturn.
“It was a very long time for them,” said Gurwitz. “We got in because I saw the opportunity.”
“I’m a firm believer that co-operation is the key to success,” said Gurwitz. “We’ve established a team of architects, engineers, contractors, expediters, etc. that we work with on every project and I find that after all these years, working with the same group has really been beneficial. We formed relationships, we know how each other works, and we understand expectations.”
A year and a half ago, Gurwitz’s younger sister Alaina joined the firm as managing director, and the together the two run the company.
“We have a good time doing it,” he said. “As projects get larger and more complicated, you typically don’t want to start with someone new because there’s a learning curve. We’ve assembled this team of people we go to for everything. I almost view everyone as my partner, to some degree.”
Gurwitz is looking to expand his business to the West Coast. “Our business model works for us very well,” he said. “We very much enjoy repositioning buildings and the concept of adaptive reuse.
“My sense is we’re not really the guys who build these giant towers, we’re very happy in the market we’re in. We lead with design, versus, quote-unquote, real estate.”
Gurwitz is also considering building some highly-designed and highly-functional low-income homes “when the time comes.”
In his spare time, the design guru is a big animal advocate, serving on the advisory board of Animal Haven and co-founding The Underdog Foundation, a South Florida-based animal welfare organization.