When it comes to one’s work life and home life, people tend to keep the two from ever mixing. But what if you work with your family? A great example of family working together is Ken and Bradley Fishel, the owners of Renaissance Properties.
Ken and Bradley are property owners with four buildings in New York City and three in Florida. Their real estate company, Renaissance Properties, specializes in management, leasing, and capital improvement projects. In 2019, Renaissance Properties switched from leasing residential and commercial buildings throughout the city to only offices in Manhattan. The company now has two buildings in NoHo, 632 Broadway and 627 Broadway, and two in the Garment District.
Renaissance Properties was created in 1958 by Bernard Fishel, Ken’s father, after purchasing 627 Broadway. Bernard, before becoming the first generation of Fishel’s to work in real estate, was a B-17 pilot during World War II. After the war ended and he returned to the U.S., Bernard began selling women’s bathing suit garments designed and manufactured in 627 Broadway. The decline of manufacturing in the city during the 1970s and 80s made Bernard realize there was more money in real estate than in manufacturing. He purchased 627 Broadway and continued buying residential, office, and manufacturing properties in other places. It was soon after in 1961 that Renaissance Properties expanded to own 632 Broadway.
Bradley, the third generation of the family business, is an essential partner to Renaissance Properties. Although young, his experience with real estate is vast. After earning his BA in Economics, Bradley moved back to New York to get his masters in Real Estate Finance at NYU. In 2016, he became Chairman of the NoHo BID Board.
Bradley’s presence has offered a splash of youth to the company. Since joining, Bradley has attracted millennials by ambitiously keeping up with the ever-changing environment of real estate and helping the company reach its full potential. An example of this is his ability to brainstorm new ways to run their buildings more sustainably. Bradley is also helming an initiative at the NoHo BID to make it the greenest neighborhood in the city. He has also redesigned the company’s website to offer virtual tours of spaces so people are able to see what they are renting before stepping foot in the building. Having updated systems allows for efficiency, and in times like these– where people are relying so heavily on technology for work– it is good to have someone like Bradley to keep the company up to date.
Although never pressured to join, Bradley was influenced to find passion in his father's work. He said, “My father is my role model. I have to say, he truly is my hero. He has such a mastery of the subject. When it comes to construction, financing, marketing, everything. It’s unreal.” Some prefer to avoid mixing their home life with their work life. But along with having a familiar business partner, an opportunity like this allows for two minds– each filled with knowledge from two different time periods– to combine the old with the new. While Ken is older and more experienced, his traditional mindset is a balance to Bradley’s changes. This is exactly what Bradley and Ken have accomplished as partners.
When discussing their dynamic, Bradley stated, “We have different styles of managing. My father is highly respected by our staff, and I have never met someone so good at coordinating between trades. The 43 years of experience really shows. With his experience and my understanding of the current business world, it adds a great balance to this partnership.” Although Bradley chose his career path, Ken Fishel was left to run the company after his father’s passing. So at 17 Ken, while mourning his father, uprooted his life and jumped into the family business, all the while getting his degree at Pace University. Bradley spoke on the matter saying “I’ve never seen such strength in a leader. I wish I could find at least one thing to complain about, but there truly is nothing bad to say about the man.”
Bradley and Ken not only have very personal relationships with their tenants but also with their staff in all of their buildings. “I wouldn’t consider anyone working with us to be less than family,” Bradley stated on the matter. Some of their 632 tenants include DJI, the biggest drone company in the world, Tumblr, and they are even expecting HealthQuarters, a new destination created by Mount Sinai for curated and clinically-backed health and wellness services, to join soon.
Renaissance Properties is now facing the side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fishel’s have been working hard to ensure that business continues. They are a business that focuses on real estate management, and now they have re-adjusted focus to COVID management. 632 Broadway has not yet reached 100% occupancy since the pandemic began, but Bradley and Ken remain hopeful that business will improve once the current situation starts to dissipate.