AFIRE Podcast #06: Art, Tragedy, and Multifamily

(Featuring Joshua Benaim, Principal, Co-Founder, Aria Development Group)

Joshua Benaim talks about the surprising things we can learn from the arts to create better multifamily portfolios.

Joshua Benaim is Principal and Co-Founder of Aria Development Group, a multifamily investor, developer, and manager in New York City that has a portfolio in multiple cities on the east coast of the US.

In the latest AFIRE Podcast, Benaim shares insight about apartments both during and after the COVID-19 crisis, and what we can learn about the sector from history, experience, and opera.

FEATURING

Joshua Benaim is a leading real estate investor and entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Aria, an award-winning real estate company focused on next generation multifamily, value investment and special situations investing, repairing the torn fabric of cities, and creative real estate development and operations.

Benaim founded Aria in 2009 to create a different kind of values-driven real estate company, one that would marry value investment philosophy with the traditional real estate principles of location, scarcity and beauty. Since then, it has cultivated an expertise in next generation multifamily, and is currently developing more than 1,500 beautiful affordable luxury and mixed-income apartments in great neighborhoods across the United States. Aria brings a unique philosophy and passion to the multifamily investing, development and management, rooted in humanistic values and a willingness to “think different.”

Benaim credits much of the inspiration for his vision to growing up in New York City and the creativity and dynamism of the urban experience. Thanks to his serendipitous discovery of opera on a rainy day waiting for the M10 bus, Benaim became an operatic baritone who has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera and performed widely across the United States and Europe. Benaim has sought to infuse Aria’s real estate developments with a meaningful multi-sensory experience by marshaling some of the poetry, passion, and historical authenticity he found in opera.

Aria’s work has been imbued with a sense of public spiritedness that has sought to humanize the experience of living in our great cities. This spirit has manifested itself in our urban design, locations, and our work with communities. Aria has worked closely with community leaders, municipalities and neighborhoods to incorporate mixed-income and multigenerational housing, environmental sustainability, the arts and creativity and other social goods in our projects. Our innovative unit mix and diversity of housing options and price points have enabled more residents to experience some of the great walkable or historic neighborhoods of vibrant cities that might otherwise have been unaffordable. Our development work has gone hand in hand with our work with community organizations, associations and municipalities as well as our philanthropic work. In doing so we feel we are strengthening the fabric of our cities.

Prior to founding Aria, Benaim was a Managing Principal at Square Mile Capital Management LLC, where he focused on the New York, Washington, DC, South Florida and San Francisco markets. Mr. Benaim began his career as at Credit Suisse First Boston in the Mergers & Acquisitions group and subsequently Principal Transactions. He then served as an advisor to REIT hedge fund High Rise Capital Management at the time of its inception. He learned real estate development working with Manocherian Brothers, his family organization with a sixty year track record as a multifamily developer and operator in New York City.

Benaim has a passion for thought leadership in our Industry and mentoring the next generation of real estate talent. He served as Co-Chair of the Harvard Business School Real Estate Alumni Association during the initial development of that organization, and as an advisor to Professor Arthur Segel in the creation of HBS’s first online real estate course. He recently appeared as a guest on an AFIRE Podcast on Arts, Tragedy and The Future of Urban Multifamily and is the author of Real Estate: A Love Story.

Benaim received his A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.

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The publisher of AFIRE Podcasts is not engaged in providing tax, accounting, or legal advice through this publication. No content published in the AFIRE Podcast is to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Some information included in the AFIRE Podcast has been obtained from third-party sources considered to be reliable, though the publisher is not responsible for guaranteeing the accuracy of third-party information. The opinions expressed in the AFIRE Podcast are those of its respective contributors and sources and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.

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Benjamin van Loon, Communications Director
bvanloon@afire.org | +1 202 312 1405