MIB: How the Co-op King of New York Earned His Crown


How do you go from being a literary agent into becoming a professional real estate investor?

That was the challenge confronting Francis Greenburger, who picked up extra cash renting out properties while he was still in a teenager. With a $5,000 loan from his father in 1966, he founded what would become Time Equities Inc. (TEI) and began acquiring residential buildings.

But once buyers could no longer could get mortgages due to the one-two punch of Black Monday and the S&L crisis, he was forced to sell some buildings to stay in business. Greenburger rode out the rough times, eventually making his fortune by converting buildings into co-ops. (Early in his career he became known as “the co-op king of New York” for his specialty of converting prewar apartment buildings into occupant-owned residences).

Today, his privately held TEI has properties in 30 states and five countries, with 31.1 million square feet of residential, industrial, office and retail property. That real estate portfolio is now worth over $4 billion dollars, and generates revenues of $336 million annually.

Greenburger is also the author of Risk Game: Self Portrait of an Entrepreneur.  He still chairs his late father’s literary agency, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, representing powerhouse writers like Dan Brown and Nelson Demille. His philanthropies include two foundations: the Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice and the OMI International Arts Center.

His favorite books are here; transcript of our conversation is posted here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunesBloombergOvercast, and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found at iTunesStitcherOvercast, and Bloomberg.

Next week, we speak with Jason Schwarz President, Wilshire Funds Management and Wilshire Analytics.



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