Today it is commonplace to see private equity participate in commercial real estate investments, but that was not always the case. Urban American is a pioneer in the world of raising private equity specifically for workforce housing investing. These underserved properties are attractive for their stable cash flow and occupancy – but harder to operate – and Urban was one of the first institutional investors to scale this segment of the market. Over the past 20 years, the firm has bought and sold thousands of units. Started by Philip Eisenberg, today we speak to him and his son James.

To begin, Both Philip and James spent time in the Army and we discuss how this unique background influenced their work ethic, mindset, and current business operations. We touch upon their first building purchase and how they created a proprietary process to meet high tenant standards in difficult environments.

We also speak about dynamics of the market today: What are the differences between foreign and domestic funds? What are the hottest (and not so hot) markets? What drives the real estate cycle and where are we in that cycle? Finally, we round out with some memorable tenant stories and personal recommendations for growth and opportunity.

In this show, we discuss:

  • How did being in the Army shaped their work ethic and trained them to be super-focused?
  • How did Urban American become the pioneer in the world of raising private equity to participate in owning and operating of workforce housing?
  • When did they realize they were onto something with workforce housing?
  • How did they design solid processes in order to meet high quality standard?
  • What are the differences between foreign and domestic funds?
  • What is Urban American’s superpower?
  • How did a building fire test their expertise in the business?
  • What submarkets are hot today? Which are not?
  • What drives the real estate cycle? Where are we in the cycle?
  • What is their internal process for acquiring new properties?




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