Billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, a Republican candidate for mayor, has his name on a lot of projects: oil companies, supermarkets and now, residential real estate development. NY1's Courtney Gross took a look at some of those ventures and followed the following report.
John Catsimatidis is more than a grocer. He also does real estate.
"Whatever I have always promised, I have always delivered," Catsimatidis said.
His business ventures are the cornerstone of his mayoral campaign.
People may not know, however, about his development in Brooklyn.
"This is one of four development sites that is under construction eventually by Red Apple," said Robert Perris of Brooklyn Community Board 2.
Red Apple is Catsimatidis' company. It's the first time he ventured into residential real estate in the five boroughs.
When asked if he promised to create affordable housing at that project, Catsimatidis replied, "Yes, and we're doing that right now. We just pulled the trigger on the next building we're building, and there will affordable housing in that building."
Catsimatidis set his eye on constructing four mixed-use buildings on Myrtle Avenue back in 2007, pledging affordable housing and new retail space.
He built a market-rate building first, with his own supermarket below. It hires locally.
Now, he has moved on to another market-rate building down the block, also without affordable housing. He said the third building will be 20 percent affordable.
"It was a $500 million project in 2007, and none of the banks had $500 million," Catsimatidis said. "Instead of building the entire project, let's build it one building at a time"
"I'm not sure that he really had a handle on how to develop these residential properties in a timely way that didn't have a profound negative impact on the local community," Perris said.
While some may criticize John Catsimatidis' first foray into the affordable housing market, there are different reviews for his supermarket business.
Take it from the union that represents his employees.
"They provide excellent benefits, excellent wages," said Pat Purcell from UFCW Local 1500. "We have a very good labor relations with excellent contracts, and those are in those supermarkets that are owned by Mr. Catsimatidis."