In the early 2000s, Eric Birnbaum was a “disgruntled banker” working at Bear Stearns in New York, eager to embark on something more creative. Searching everywhere he was lost until he saw his stepfather, Alan Landis, a specialist developer in New Jersey, at work.
“I remember watching Alan work on business and I quickly became intrigued,” says Birnbaum, 47, raised in Manhattan. different fields grouped together in a single global company … architecture, design, legal, [and] from finance to marketing and sales.
Eager to satisfy his entrepreneurial spirit, Birnbaum launched the development company ELB Holdings in 2008, which he managed until 2014. That year, he partnered with his longtime mentor Michael Fascitelli, creating the development company Imperial Companies. And in 2019, he decided it was time to go solo, creating real estate development company Dreamscape.
Since its launch, Birnbaum has raised $ 1 billion for the Dreamscape Development Fund, which focuses on residential, entertainment and hotel projects ranging from the Henry Hall Apartments in Hudson Yards in New York to the Pod Hotel in Times Square. .
As Birnbaum, who lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children, notes: “Whether it’s finding a site and thinking about what it might be, building a team and watching the process unfold. into something you create and bring to life… there is nothing more satisfying.
In April, Birnbaum opened The Goodtime Hotel in Miami, a project started under Imperial Companies. The development, for which Birnbuam assembled a star-studded team including nightlife impresario David Grutman, singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams, interior designer Ken Fulk, architect Morris Adjmi and landscaper Raymond Jungles, was a “labor of love”.
“Pharrell and Dave are both forces of nature,” he says. “What I appreciate most about them is their passion. They really care about producing the best product possible for people, and that’s the most important thing, not just to lend your name to something, but to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work.
Next, Birnbaum will turn to the 2,522-room Rio All-Suite Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas, which Dreamscape acquired from Caesars Entertainment Corp. for approximately US $ 575 million in 2019. “We’re really excited to enter the Las Vegas market and make some ownership changes,” he says. “We want to harness what made The Rio so successful in the first place and update it simultaneously. ”
Birnbaum has shared a few of her favorite things with Penta.
I spent the time when I couldn’t work during the pandemic by … to be with my family. It was a blessing to be forced to slow down and spend so much quality time together.
The thing that I missed the most during the forced lockdown was … unilateral freedom. It was also hard to see my kids not being able to play with their friends and do the activities they loved.
My favorite thing to drink right now is … good white tequila.
The restaurant in my hometown that I like to take a visitor to is… hands down, Tal Bagels. The best bagels in the world. New York bagels are renowned for being the best, but Tal is on a whole new level. Whenever I have guests in town I order a full dish and they are always blown away.
If I had to buy a work of art, it would be by …
Roberto Burle Marx, Beatriz Milhazes or the Campana brothers. Ever since we went to the rabbit hole and reimagined the Rio in Las Vegas, I have learned about Brazilian artists and architects.
The best book I read last year is … The Rise and Fall of Bear Stearns by Alan C. Greenberg. A dark but fascinating read. I worked at Bear Stearns early in my career, so I was particularly interested in reading Alan’s story about such an intense time within the company and for the financial world.
My favorite part of real estate projects is … that every day is different. I love that my days aren’t monotonous – I’ve never been good at 9 am-5pm office life. I love being on construction sites, meeting creative people and figuring out how to put all the pieces of the puzzle together to bring a project to life.
If I could have a meal with anyone, anywhere, it would be … my stepfather, Alain. He played such an inspiring role in my life and sadly passed away too soon. I miss him terribly. I had dinner with him at the Viand Diner on Madison Avenue.
One of my passions that few people know is … my love of Mets. There is something great about sitting around and watching a game.
What wakes me up in the morning is … my children! They don’t sleep!
The only thing people sometimes don’t understand about me is … I have a lot of compassion. I think a lot of real estate guys are labeled as being “difficult” or “selfish”. I would really like to think that you can be successful in this business and at the same time be a great guy.
This article has been edited for length and clarity.