Eli Karp is a builder of stories. Since 2005, his pioneering lifestyle real-estate development firm, Hello Living, has vaulted itself into the conversation as a major player in the Brooklyn revival, their remarkable, modernist structures transforming underdeveloped areas into trendy urban utopias.
But for the special education teacher turned developer, it’s less about the accolades, and more about fulfilling a lifelong mission: giving people the opportunity to build their life story.
“The concept of Hello Living is simple,” says Eli. “Like the word itself, Hello transcends language and cultural barriers, to form inviting, dynamic societies; a place where people of races, cultures, and creeds can come together and write their own story.”
Eli’s foray into the real estate development arena was hardly conventional. As he likes to recount, he passed a “for sale” sign situated on an abandoned, run-down lot in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Looking past the rusty rubbish littering the downtrodden property, Eli saw one thing: opportunity.
Rather than purchasing the single property, Eli bought the entire block, envisioning a vibrant community unlike anything Brooklyn had seen before.
FROM THE GROUND UP
With precisely zero years of development experience to speak of, the early days of Hello Living were fraught with fear, uncertainty and a steep learning curve. Eli, however, was determined to execute his singular mission, channeling his trademark enthusiasm and passion into every inch of the project.
Before long, Hello Living’s first project was completed—the striking Hello Madison on Pacific Street. This uniquely designed five-story structure won over local residents and housing experts alike for its intelligent design. Featuring soaring 18′ ceilings, luxurious amenities, and oversized private balconies recessed for maximum privacy, it was an emphatic statement that Eli and Hello Living were here to stay.
Fast forward to today, and Hello Living has since completed twelve development projects, with an additional six in the pipeline. From the cozy, 4-unit Hello Austin to the 56-unit, 16-story, luxury rental Hello Lenox, Eli has redefined urban living, eschewing the cookie-cutter to build unique structures that matter to the residents and the community as a whole.
Hello’s meteoric rise is directly attributed to its commitment to the vision and the brand. Everything is done in-house, from construction to design to marketing, ensuring that each building reflects the Hello ethos of building “not for the economies, but the humanities”.
Whereas many developers, blinded by the dollar, look to cut costs every which way, Eli opts for perks over pennies. Though this pushes up construction costs significantly, the end result—increased value, distinctly memorable work, and happier clientele—is well worth it.
LONG STORY SHORT
What really sets Hello Living apart is their creative approach to urban living. In spatially-challenged New York City, necessities such as privacy, outdoor space, natural light and storage are in short supply. Each property is cleverly designed to address these challenges.
There are no hallways, no extra walls, and each unit is intended to allow as much light as possible. A private elevator takes residents to their own apartments, opening up directly into the open-plan residence. Every apartment boasts 8 to 10-foot terraces, accessible from the living area, and in some cases, the bedrooms. Each terrace features unique triple-pane windows which fold away to allow for a completely open view of the New York City skyline.
For developments in up-and-coming neighborhoods, amenities are everything. Oftentimes, especially in the early stages of revitalization, there aren’t any local bars or parks for residents to frequent. Hello fills that void by creating dynamic communities within their developments. Social spaces, children’s playrooms, souped-up gyms, even running tracks, are designed to help foster a strong sense of community and togetherness.
Eli has carved out a niche as a pioneer in the gentrification of Brooklyn. As he leads the way, other real estate experts follow, and they reap the rewards of his almost-prophetic vision. And after 13 years of bringing new life to the area, Eli doesn’t see it slowing down. “I want to do 10 times more than what we’re doing now,” he says. “It’s going really well, and I know we’re completely capable of doing more.”
Eli’s optimism is not unfounded. Among the seven projects currently in development, is Hello Living’s largest and most audacious properties to date: Hello Nostrand. With 207 luxury units situated on 52,000 square feet of residential land, located just minutes from Midtown Manhattan in the flourishing Prospect Lefferts Garden neighborhood, this project is highly attractive to buyers and investors alike. Residents will enjoy the iconic open-plan design and coveted outdoor space that have become a Hello hallmark, while investors are looking at their equity returned in two years, and a seriously profitable longterm return on their investment.
After so many successful projects, one would think that the excitement would wane somewhat. For Eli, however, it only continues to grow.
“Watching plans and drawings become a reality is what I love,” he remarks. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’m still fascinated by it. I’ve seen the things I dreamed of actually happen; that’s what it’s all about.”
“It’s funny. People view my path as some sort of drastic career change, but in reality it’s not. While working with special needs children, my goal was to uncover their potential so they could write their life story, and I’m still doing the same thing: taking undeveloped potential and turning it into something brimming with opportunity for people to make their mark on the world.”
“Whether it’s the starry-eyed couple setting out on their lifelong adventure together, parents looking to give their children the ability to grow and blossom, or the next generation of investors and moguls looking to realize their financial dreams, Hello Living is their story’s beginning.”
Information provided by Hello Living.
33 35th Street, 6th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11232, phone: 718.435.8212, www.helloliving.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org