It’s often said that the road to success is typically not a straight path, but rather it is one that navigates unexpected twists and turns.
Shimon Shkury, the founder and president of Ariel Property Advisors, was drawn to real estate at an early age.
Despite his fondness for the industry — and the marked success he would eventually enjoy — the unfortunate events of a national tragedy are what paved the way for him to ultimately pursue the career path.
“I always liked real estate. When I was younger I always was interested in that aspect of business,” Shkury told Real Estate Weekly. “I kind of came to it by coincidence. After business school, I had a very short investor banking job right before September 11th. It didn’t exist right after September 11th. Right after that, I met my wife in January of 2002. I decided that I should be more entrepreneurial and go into real estate.”
Shkury’s entrepreneurial ambitions were fostered during his time at the University of Pennsylvania’s The Lauder Institute and The Wharton School, where he earned both a M.A. in International Studies and an MBA in Finance.
“I started with Massey Knakal in 2002 and I became a partner there in 2003,” Shkury said while describing the steps he took to begin his new career in 2002.
“I knew real estate was the right move before I made my first deal. I had no doubt,” he said. “The first deal I closed was a little vacant lot on East 100th Street in East Harlem that I sold for a very, very nice man.”
Still a newcomer to the field, Shkury understood the level of competition that he was up against. When he was given an opportunity to demonstrate his abilities, he did not take it lightly. “He gave me a shot to market his property and I’ll always remember that,” Shkury said.
That first transaction was only the opening act in a surging career which would take less than a decade to reach a lofty new plateau.
By the conclusion of 2010, Shkury left his role as managing partner of Massey Knakal and prepared to launch Ariel Property Advisors in 2011.
Though the time was right for a fresh chapter and a significant professional step forward, Shkury is incredibly grateful for his time with his previous employers.
“Massey Knakal was a wonderful experience,” he said. “I have only good things to say about the platform, Bob Knakal and Paul Massey. They’re really exceptional.”
While his previous home was less than five years away from joining the heralded Cushman & Wakefield family, the entrepreneurial streak that prompted Shkury to pursue real estate, was the same that convinced him to hang his own shingle.
“For me, it was about building a company. That’s what I wanted to do,” he said. “I felt that 2011 was the right time to do it.”
Ariel currently provides a range of services, including its prolific investment sales brokerage and a capital service division.
The investment sales brokerage “provides insight to our clients and to the industry as a whole,” Shkury said. “We produce more than three dozen reports per year and close to 1,000 or more than that in separate reports for our clients on a client-by-client basis.”
The capital service division consults clients on debt placement, equity and different capital services that may best fit their individual needs.
Handling multiple aspects of the investment real estate market in New York has allowed Ariel to weather stretches where the industry as a whole has endured leaner times.
“For us as a company, it’s actually going to be an extremely strong year,” Shkury said, despite commenting that “the market has slowed down somewhat.”
Shkury said that while 2016 may not be expected to keep pace with the strong duo of 2014 and 2015, the overall impact of the correction isn’t likely to be significant
“Existing assets will still trade at a premium,” he said. “The only markets that are really slower today are the development market and the land market.”
Among the assets in Ariel’s current stable, Shkury pointed to a $19.9 million property in Central Harlem.
The Paul Robeson Houses, a package of two elevator buildings located in Northern Manhattan, the portfolio contains 80 residential units and encompasses a total of 91,675 gross s/f. 20 of the units are one-bedrooms, 39 are two-bedrooms, and 21 are three-bedroom units. This property is subsidized under the project- based Section 8 program of HUD and corresponding rent/income restrictions apply to tenancy (for more information, please inquire for regulatory agreements detailing these restrictions).
Located just several blocks from the 1/2/3 subway lines at Lenox Avenue and 125th Street and the B/C subway lines at Frederick Douglas Blvd and 116th Street, the portfolio enjoys easy access to both downtown and outer borough locations.
Residents also benefit from their close proximity to the bustling 125th Street Corridor and nearby retail developments, including the newly redeveloped Corn Exchange, The Taystee Building, Victoria Theatre, and the highly anticipated shopping center at the corner of 125th Street and Lenox, whose tenants include American Eagle Outfitters, Burlington Coat Factory and Whole Foods. Local Among Ariel’s other offerings is a another Central Harlem addition. This is a four-piece portfolio of mixed-use structures.
The Sierra Portfolio, contains 47 residential units and four retail units, encompassing a total of 48,750 s/f. Of the portfolio’s 47 residential units, there are two studios, 11 one-bedrooms, and 34 two-bedroom units.
While Ariel currently is involved with a wide variety of properties, including multiple development sites, the already established offerings give the company the foundation necessary to continue leading the field.
“Income producing assets will definitely continue to be robust,” said Shkury while discussing 2016’s expected conservative final stats.