Joseph Eisenstein – The Galman Group
Arnie Galman founded the company that bears his name in 1980, and in the last four decades, he’s traveled the world looking for the best ideas and amenities to use in multifamily homes.
Now other people help him carry out that mission, including Joseph Eisenstein, the company’s executive vice president of construction.
“We have a reputation of providing an upscale experience, and we’re always talking about the pizzaz and panache of every one of our properties,” Eisenstein says.
Whether he’s working on an apartment complex near a university or a multi-unit property in a big city suburb, Eisenstein says he always working to understand the market and what residents are looking for in an apartment.
While business has been steady, Eisenstein admits the only way the company has been able to advance and grow through the COVID-19 pandemic was to “have a backup for the backup to the backup.”
Contractors he’d normally hire for jobs were out of business because employees were either sick—or worse. On top of that, contractors were unable to complete their contracted work, jobs weren’t getting finished on time and too many people were working on too many different projects. So, Eisenstein widened his network from a 50-mile radius to a 1,500-mile radius.
“I’m like an air traffic controller. My job is to coordinate all these planes in the sky and make sure they land at the right time without colliding,” he says. “I don’t fly the plane, but I’m putting the puzzle together with the pilots and the crew, so to speak.”
It’s all about amenities
The Galman Group is headquartered in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, a short drive from Philadelphia. One of the company’s biggest recent projects is The Flats at Jenkintown, which includes 104 luxury townhouses and apartments scheduled to open in early 2023.
Each apartment and townhouse have high-end finishes like quartz countertops, wood-style plank flooring and contemporary cabinetry. The pet-friendly community also includes amenities such as a covered outdoor patio, fire pits, grilling stations, a yoga studio and fitness center, a resident lounge with bar and a game room.
“To respond to the demand and the marketplace, the Jenkintown project has already seen steady increases in rents before we even started leasing,” Eisenstein says.
Eisenstein says what renters want changes year to year and place to place. What was considered high-end and full of pizzaz 30 years ago—like a washer and dryer and high ceilings—is now expected, as are modern offerings like pickleball courts, entertainment spaces and walk-in closets. To provide a more lavish experience, Galman also offers an “ultra floorplan” with a wine refrigerator, motorized blinds and bidets, he says.
While The Galman Group has new construction planned, many upcoming and recent projects are reimaginations of existing properties.
Thorn Flats in Newark, about a mile from the University of Delaware, is a redevelopment of former student housing and includes apartments designed to be spacious and comfortable for professionals and college-style living. The apartments feature upgraded plumbing fixtures, modern lighting, private patios and balconies, oversized closets and in-unit washers and dryers.
On-site amenities include a self-serve coffee bar, a swimming pool with a sun deck, a fitness center, a video game room, a game lounge, a demonstration kitchen, a movie theater, a pet grooming facility and an outdoor lounge with fire pits and grilling areas.
“The generation Z student wants things that are different than when I went to school,” Eisenstein says. “Stainless steel appliances were considered a major upgrade not that long ago. Now, if those aren’t standard, you’re just shooting par.”
Overall, The Galman Group has 10,000 apartments in its portfolio, and Eisenstein says the executive management team is always searching for properties in new areas to grow the company and keep it relevant—and thriving—in the industry.
“We stay true to our mission and dedicated to creating great places to live,” he says.
The family business
Growing up in New York City, Eisenstein had a lot of family working in development, so he attended a specialty high school on Staten Island that focused on strengths of materials and structural engineering. While there, he worked part time as a machinist making aircraft parts and developed an affinity for the trades.
He studied mechanical engineering at the New York Institute of Technology and architecture at Kingsborough Community College. He also worked as a contractor in Manhattan installing mechanical systems in buildings.
“My early experiences gave me a strong foundation on the construction and operations of buildings,” Eisenstein says. “This led to real estate owners and operators demanding me to move from being a contracted service provider to a part of the ownership team.”
After four years as a senior property manager and project manager for Lincoln Equities Group, Eisenstein held the same position for Denholtz Associates for five years. Then he spent nine years as a senior vice president and partner for SSH Real Estate. He joined The Galman Group in November 2019.
“The Galman Group continues growing as we find land opportunities as well as finding value in improving existing properties,” Eisenstein says. “I’m always looking forward to what comes next.”
View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. VI 2022 Edition here.
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