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  • Chris & John

Ep 141: The Role of Architects in Multifamily Deals with Eli Meltzer

Growing up in Manhattan and having a father with vast experience in architecture and design, architect Eli Meltzer gathered a lot of insights into the multifamily sector in the metro, specifically in affordable housing. As a Principal at Meltzer/Mandl Architects (MMA), a firm that has designed over 12,000 units of affordable and market-rate housing in the NYC area, Eli brings his skills as a designer and a leader, his expertise in zoning regulations and building codes, and a sophisticated understanding of the development and construction process. Notably, he spent several years working on Hudson Yards, the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States. In this episode, Eli shares his experience, elaborating on the role that architects play in multifamily deals, and he shares his advice for owners and investors, emphasizes the value of good referrals when it comes to taking on a general contractor or an architect like himself, and offers some practical tips for ensuring that you get what you pay for during construction and beyond. Tune in for all this and more in today’s episode fo the Real Estate Investing Experience!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Learn more about Eli and his expertise in the affordable multifamily housing space.

  • Hear about the relationship between architect and developer in a multifamily deal.

  • How architects act as agents for owners and their responsibilities, depending on the deal.

  • Eli’s advice for owners when finding a builder or general contractor and an architect.

  • Whether utilizing a bidding process for a projects or bringing an experienced team in, Eli emphasizes the importance of referrals.

  • Reg flags on building sites include jobs being finished poorly; ensure standards are high!

  • The importance of tracking requisitions, submittals, and RFIs and recording which jobs have been completed before paying for them.

  • Overcoming stumbling blocks or disagreements during construction using contingency.

  • Why rehabs and renovations are generally more difficult than new builds; you often have to accept that it won’t go to plan.

  • Questions to ask your architect, including what their experience in your municipality is.

  • While architects don’t often need to rely on their relationships, leveraging them can be useful.

  • Learn more about building codes and zoning regulations and how strict they are (or aren’t).


“At the end of the day, these are real estate transactions that have to get done, and we know we play a big part in it, but we’re just one part. We try to hone in on what that part is and how we can facilitate making this a successful deal, transaction, and construction project for everyone involved.” — Eli Meltzer [0:03:46]

“Smaller projects oftentimes require more logistics because you’re dealing with existing conditions. In a way, it’s easier to knock it down and start from scratch and you have everything under control, but when you’re working on existing buildings, especially if there are tenants in place, that requires a more delicate sense of logistics and planning.” — Eli Meltzer [0:14:17]

“Architects, at least in our business, we’re not here to spend your money. You’re entrusting us with your money to make this deal happen, but we’re not here to spend frivolously.” — Eli Meltzer [0:29:43]

“Every municipality has different procedures if you need a variance from the building code and it’s always helpful to know the officials, know who to talk to, so you can figure out what needs to be done to satisfy what they are looking for.” — Eli Meltzer [0:33:22]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Eli Meltzer on LinkedIn

Eli Meltzer Email

Meltzer/Mandl Architects

Meltzer/Mandl Architects on Instagram

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