The Safire Homme
Featuring Jared Epstein
Interview by Léla Sophia
Léla Sophia: Do you have a most favorite or sentimental deal or tenant?
Jared Epstein: My most sentimental deal, and it’s not the biggest by any stretch of the imagination, is the acquisition and leasing of 21-27 9th Avenue in the Meatpacking District, where the original Catch restaurant is located, on the corner of 13th Street and 9th Avenue. I believed in the future of the neighborhood and the importance of this location. It was my dream to have a strong retailer on the ground floor and a triplex restaurant over-looking the meatpacking district accessed by a small side street lobby. My friend was in the market seeking a location for Sephora and we quickly put a deal together for their unique Meatpacking boutique at the base of the building prior to the commencement of our redevelopment. A couple of friends of mine from the nightlife world that recently opened their first successful restaurant shared by belief that an upper floor restaurant could work in this particular building, even though none had thrived before to the magnitude they would need to succeed. The Catch lease was quickly executed and within months the redevelopment of the property began. Catch absolutely knocked the cover off the ball and their volumes continue to rise very year. They are coming up on their 10th anniversary, recently renewed for an additional 10 years and the brand now has outposts in LA, Vegas and Mexico, with many more to follow. The reason that this particular property is so special to me is that it was Aurora’s first investment in the meatpacking district, which was the start of us acquiring over 20 properties in this neighborhood, followed by an additional 20 in the West Village. It all started at 21-27 9th Avenue in 2009. Aurora‘s revitalization of the Meatpacking District wouldn’t have been possible without this first acquisition and the monumental success of our tenants.
LS: What do you love most about the Meatpacking District?
JE: It’s just the perfect location in the greatest city in the world. To the West you have the Highline, Whitney Museum, and the Hudson River & Park; to the South you have the affluent West Village Neighborhood; to the North you have Google’s Headquarters and the Chelsea residential community. You have a streetscape that’s unlike any other in Manhattan, where all the streets are diverging onto each other, of which many are cobblestone, an incredible mix of preserved historic architecture with modern additions, a vast amount of culture, art, restaurants, shops, and overall great vibes. The Meatpacking District is the ultimate Work, Shop, Play and Stay neighborhood.
LS: What is your definition of style and confidence? What makes you feel confident?
JE: I would say, my business partner Bobby Cayre. He exudes style and confidence. He is a class act, extraordinarily handsome, and very humble. He gets all of the attention, he’s very classy, he dresses impeccably, he’s just got it. I’m confident in a different manor, a downtown vibe with a big heart that makes it easy for me connect with people, but he’s got that business style and he’s super intelligent. We have good synergies, because I’m the downtown networking guy, and he’s a shark that would be the CEO of a fortune 100 company if he wasn’t running Aurora. My Uncle Jeff is probably the elder stateman when it comes to class and style as well. He always looks sharp and has a great personality. My father has a more casual style but his confidence is unparalleled due to his charisma. Everyone loves my dad because he genuinely cares about people and they feel that immediately and throughout their relationship with him. He puts everyone before himself. I am blessed to have these three mentors in my life.
LS: Do you have any memories of you parent’s accessories, or of them dressing a certain way or teaching you how to dress?
JE: The only thing I remember about style and dressing are the brands I would wear as a kid. I remember Skids, large, wide leg weird things. Then there were these hotdogger outfits all the girls would wear that were jumpsuits basically. Then us guys, when we would want to dress fancy, would wear Z Cavericci’s, that had a tag inside of the zipper. What influenced my style the most is one of my favorite movies in the world, which is The Goonies. In the Goonies the kids are all rocking Nike Sneakers, and an old school vibe, which really transcended my style evolution. I always try to be a Goonie. I try to do business like a pirate, and party like a Goonie.
LS: Do you have a favorite artist/musician/band?
JE: So many! Right now I’m really digging The Grateful Dead. Which is crazy for me, because my Uncle Jeff was a Deadhead, and had a strong career in the catering business. I was never into the Dead, but now I love them. They’re so relaxing, the music touches my soul in a special way. I fell into one song, and I just started listening to them more and more. I think my favorite song by The Dead is probably Fire on the Mountain. I just dig that one. I love Pearl Jam, my favorite song by Pearl Jam would probably be Red Mosquito which is a random one, but I really like it. Dave Matthews Band would probably be the third, my favorite song being #41.