David Lichtenstein is chairman and CEO of The Lightstone Group, the real estate company he founded in 1988. It is currently one of the largest privately held real estate companies in the United States.
Lichtenstein had a businessperson’s equivalent of “a dollar and a dream”. He had the rare ability and chutzpah to build a real estate empire from scratch at a relatively young age and very little family financial support.
In 1985, he launched his real estate career with a single building and a small loan. And, he bought that debut investment in a two-family home in New Jersey with a $12,000 down payment raised by maxing out a credit card and tapping out a small savings account.
Over the next couple of years, Lichtenstein used the cash his properties generated, leveraged with loans, to keep buying real estate. In 1988, he founded The Lightstone Group, quickly growing the company into one of the largest private property holders in the U.S. By 2003, Lightstone was recognized as one of the most active property buyers in the U.S., with an estimated worth of $1 billion to $2 billion. By 2005, that worth had grown to an estimated $3 billion.
Over the years, David Lichtenstein has built a reputation for his ability to acquire and finance real estate opportunities that provide value for investors based on willingness to seek out properties that offer the prospect of high returns and have challenges or complexities that limit their appeal to other investors, including properties with distressed capital structures. By regularly employing this strategy, Lightstone has averaged more than 30% annual returns over much of its existence.
Lightstone continues seek new acquisitions across the country in both urban and suburban locations and across a wide range of property types, including industrial, office, retail, multifamily and hospitality.
Today, Lightstone ranks among the top 25 largest real estate companies in the United States, and employs approximately 1,150 staff and professionals. Lightstone has offices in New York City, as well as in New Jersey, Maryland and Illinois.
In addition to chairing the company, Mr. Lichtenstein directs all aspects of the acquisition, financing and management of a diverse portfolio of multi-family apartments, in addition to office, lodging, retail and industrial property in 24 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada. He personifies The Lightstone Group’s commitment to delivering the highest standard of quality, integrity and excellence to its clients.
Socially conscious, David Lichtenstein and The Lightstone Group support a number of social causes, donating funds and property to help those in need. Lichtenstein makes regular contributions to the New York chapter of the Special Olympics and New York Cares. He also supports the work of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and both he and Lightstone Group give to Matt’s Promise and Hospice of Virginia.