RINALDI citizen mWHAT: Topping Off ceremony for the new CitizenM hotel, now the tallest modular constructed hotel in the world

WHEN: 12:00 Noon Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017

WHERE: 189 Bowery, New York, NY

Contact: Matt Sheldon (917) 280-7329

New York (NY) – New York City and State officials will join members of the Rinaldi Group at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, Dec. 19th, 2017, to celebrate completion of the new CitizenM Bowery – the nation’s largest modular-construction hotel project ever. There will be an official topping off ceremony to mark the finish of the last floors of the hotel.

The high-rise 300-room hotel was built through an extraordinary process. Sealed units containing fully-finished hotel rooms were factory-made and stacked together. The rooms were shipped in 210 pieces to New York. The Rinaldi Group is the project manager.

“We are extremely proud of the work we have done on the citizenM Hotel,” said Anthony Rinaldi, chief executive of the Rinaldi Group. “The building is state-of-the-art and will be the forerunner of similar types of structures in the future.”

The modular-construction process, popular in Europe and gaining in use throughout the United States, allows for faster building – generally about half the time as for traditional construction. The number of truck deliveries is also cut by about half as well, thus significantly lowering the impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

The new hotel is considered to be the “Crown Jewel” of the Lower East Side which is quickly becoming one of Manhattan’s most vibrant neighborhoods. With NYC predicted to see a record 61.8 Million tourists in 2017, it is expected that business travelers and tourists alike will come from all around the world to enjoy the many amenities of NYC’s newest and hippest hotel with its international vibe. CitizenM will offer an exterior and interior rooftop bar and lounge called CloudM with sweeping 360 degree views of the Manhattan skyline. There will also be a fitness center, a double-height lobby, lounge and café at the property.

Crain’s: Builder’s Powerful & Reasoned Rebuttal to Building Trades’ Lou Coletti

In Letter to the Editor, Crain’s New York Business:

Construction firm was exonerated after fatality

In an inherently dangerous industry, accidents will happen, but the only crime in our case was being wrongly blamed

In an op-ed in Crain’s, Lou Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, defamed the reputation of my company, The Rinaldi Group, by stating that it was a “bad actor,” putting it in the same category as another construction firm that has been convicted of criminally negligent homicide.

Put simply, Mr. Coletti has no idea what he’s talking about.

This is what happens when an accusatory climate of vindictiveness is created by a media frenzy: false claims are loudly proclaimed, reputations damaged, and when the truth finally emerges months later, small corrections are buried deep inside a trade paper.

What Mr. Colletti missed in his rush to assassinate my character was that The Rinaldi Group was totally exonerated by New York City regulators for what turned out to be an accidental death on one its many job sites. He was not alone in the rush to judgment, however.

When the accident happened, the local press had a field day, with one newspaper labeling Rinaldi as a “troubled contractor.” When Rinaldi was absolved of any wrongdoing, the same paper had no interest in setting the record straight by reporting that after a full investigation of the accident by OSHA, my company did not receive a single occupational safety and health violation from the federal regulatory agency.

In fact, the only coverage of the fact that Rinaldi was not at fault for the accident came in a buried bit of news in a trade paper that rehashed the original charges at greater length and prominence than the exoneration, which was tacked on at the bottom of the piece as follows:

“Update: The day after its license was suspended, Nov. 14, Rinaldi appealed to the Environmental Control Board to dismiss an outstanding DOB elevator safety violation at 301 West 46th Street. In December, the appeal was granted, the violation was dismissed and a $2,400 fine previously paid by Rinaldi was ordered returned.”

Mr. Coletti’s errors in judgment, however, transcend the defamation of me and my company. His argument that the contractors he represents have nothing to fear because they are “good actors,” is belied by the facts. Take Tishman Construction, one of the city’s most prestigious and preeminent union contractors as one example.

As posted on Block, O’Toole & Murphy’s blog: “Tishman projects have been the site of several high-profile accidents, including two in 2013 that involved pedestrians. One of these occurred at a site of Park Avenue, where a pedestrian was struck by falling masonry. The other involved a fence that fell from a worksite in Harlem, striking a pedestrian. In April 2015, Tishman said that its pedestrian accident record has improved in the two years since these incidents. However, the record since April has not been accident-free, as the six workers injured since then at One Vanderbilt can attest.”

This is not meant to take a cheap shot at Tishman, for it is a firm the likes of which I could only wish one day to aspire as a builder. Rather, my example is strictly meant to shed a light on the fact that we are in a dangerous business and one in which accidents do happen, even to the best of us and despite all precautions, safety training, education, and care.

In this kind of an industry even members of Mr. Coletti’s own association are at risk—especially when laws, as we see in the Harco case, are politically influenced to undermine the meaning of criminal intent. This is a frightening climate for every single contractor and builder in the city, regardless of their union or nonunion affiliation. This includes many developers who perform their own construction by contracting directly with the trades.

As far as my own company is concerned, Mr. Coletti should only know how hard The Rinaldi Group is working in order to improve safety standards and overall trade performance controls on its job sites. Before making irresponsible and vilifying statements, he should know that Rinaldi was at one time the first and only merit or open-shop construction management and general contracting firm in the city to be underwritten and awarded by Arch Insurance an SDI policy (subcontractor default insurance, commonly referred to by the industry as “sub-guard”), the underwriting of which is more rigorous than anything to do with bonding, which Rinaldi also carries through the A++ rated surety Ace Insurance.

In addition, Mr. Coletti should know that Rinaldi’s current experience modification rate (EMR) today is 0.84 and how it was 0.90 at the time of the accident. EMR is the standard used by the National Council on Compensation Insurance to assess or calculate an employer’s workers compensation insurance premiums based upon a comparison of past losses for that employer. With an EMR of 0.84, the employer is only charged 84% of the standard premium insurance cost expected by the industry.

Rinaldi is always looking to get better. After last year’s accident, we entered a probationary period with the Department of Buildings, and the agency helped us establish a program that created greater layers of safety and risk management, supervision and compliance controls among our respective project and field management teams.

The program has been an absolute success. Our firm, using the department’s baseline parameters , has reduced the volume of our  violations from the agency by over 50%.

Rinaldi is building successfully throughout the city. In 2012, we were hailed by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce for our project at 220 Water St., which was recognized as the Multi-Family Project of the Year. In 2015, we were celebrated by NJ Business Magazine as the fastest-growing company in the state, while on a national level, we have been equally touted by Inc Magazine, naming us for two consecutive years to the Inc 5000 list of the fasting-growing companies in America.

This past year, Crain’s New York named us to its list of the 150 largest privately held companies in the area, placing us No. 128 with the likes of the Hearst Corp., the Trump Organization, Bloomberg LP and the Red Apple Group, to name a few.

Rinaldi doesn’t deserve—but understands—the attacks from Mr. Coletti and others who are angered by their dwindling market share. With Rinaldi’s three-year growth rate of 505% and annual revenue in excess of $137 million, it is no accident that we have become a target.

Safety should not be a political issue, and accidents should not be routinely criminalized, which is where the current trend seems to be heading with the Harco case. Instead of casting aspersions at Rinaldi, Mr. Coletti should be working on behalf of everyone in construction to prevent the criminalization of accidents in construction so that even contractors who have most rigorously pursued safe environments are not scapegoated.

Anthony T. Rinaldi

President and CEO

The Rinaldi Group

Read more from Crain’s New York Business

Business in Focus: The Rinaldi Group – Stronger than Ever

From Business in Focus:

The great recession of 2008 had a significant and negative impact on general contractors and the construction industry overall. Many firms had to downsize or lay off employees, and some even went under. The Rinaldi Group also suffered – yet it but did not let any of its people go.
Instead, staff took pay cuts, and the company skimped and scraped its way through. As the skies cleared, the group was ready and a business plan was in place to start anew. It has been rapidly growing since. Being non-union has its challenges, but as President and CEO Anthony Rinaldi explains, it’s now a better state to be in New York City.

The Rinaldi Group started in 2003. Up until 2001, Anthony worked within the union world, and New York is the largest union city in the country. Between 2001 and 2003, he noticed a market change in New York; prior to this, clients and owners did not dare to venture into non-union territory. The winds of change were starting, and non-union work was becoming more appealing. Still, it was limited by materials and equipment – such as cranes or personnel hoists –being controlled by union companies.

“That prevented New York from going non-union on the high-rise side, above and beyond twenty stories. Between 2001 and 2003, the industry changed. A number of union crane and hoist operators went from union to non-union, and with that came the ability for developers to go non-union.”

Anthony knew that he would be bidding against some storied construction management firms that were monsters in the industry. He also recognized that to have a niche would be beneficial in this competitive arena, granting the company opportunities. The real difference is that the company is not part of a union.

Anthony felt that the company had the technical abilities. He is a mechanical engineer, a graduate of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which is one of the top engineering schools in the country. He brought a number of his peers with him to start the Rinaldi Group, all of whom are engineers and architects. This, and the team’s prior experience with union work, brought a level of sophistication and technical know-how that could compete in the marketplace. So the Rinaldi Group could set itself apart as a non-union high-rise construction management firm which was a new and developing market.

“It started slowly in 2005, but we landed a project working hand in hand with one of the oldest high rise construction companies in America: George A. Fuller. The project was in White Plains, New York. Known as the Ritz Carlton Hotel at Renaissance Square: a ten story hotel as a podium with two 47-story high-rise condominium towers – a $500 million job.”

In 2007 to 2008, it worked on a project for the John Catsimatidis’ real estate company Red Apple Group. John, a self-made billionaire and entrepreneur, owned a lot of real estate in New York with different business interests. Working with Rinaldi was his first property development project. The project was in downtown Brooklyn at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge, near Barclays Stadium. It was a $25 million, nine-story market-rate rental building.

Things kept going from there, and Rinaldi garnered a portfolio of business over $400 million with prestigious high-end hotel and residential projects in New York – all non-union.

Just as the Rinaldi Group was hitting its stride, the world economy nearly came to a halt in 2008. “I knew that when we came out of this recession, those of us still standing were going to become rock stars, and it would clear out the field, which it did,” says Anthony.

Work was hard to find during those lean days and banks were not lending out much money to developers. Management, including Anthony, took two pay cuts during this period. “We have been together for upwards of eighteen years, so it’s a family atmosphere. I did not lay off one person.”

The Rinaldi Group went from having $200 million of work to the bulk of that drying up. Only two projects were going, valued at $40 million. The company had to try to make do with scant resources. It cut back and learned to live with less; pay cuts were performed along with trimming in areas like health care. However, as Anthony predicted, work started picked up again in 2011 to 2012, and the company was in a good position to capture it due to the trust that developers had in it and its abilities. Through 2013, growth was rapid again due to the tremendous amount of work.

“I had a business model waiting for this, and sure enough we were ready. I asked our Director of Marketing and Business Development Lori Hinz to submit our financial statements based on this three-year period to INC Magazine to see if we qualified for their INC 5,000 fastest growing companies.”The application was submitted, and financial statements were looked over by its own certified accountants. The result was a placing of 636 out of 5,000 on the list.

Francis Santos, Rinaldi’s comptroller, then submitted statements to NJ Biz, a magazine with similar rankings to the INC 5000, but dealing with the top fifty companies in New Jersey. Rinaldi came out as number five.

Anthony touts the family feel that his company possesses. Everyone in the group has either worked for him before or come in as recommendations through valued peers in the industry, such as his architects and engineers. A head-hunters or recruiters are not used; ads are not placed in the classifieds. The same rule applies to subcontractors and vendors.

Rinaldi does not have a human resources department. Anthony goes on to explain that he is the human resources department. He interviews every hire from the receptionist to the most senior engineer. “For you to come to the table with me, you have to go through architects, engineers or consultants that we know, or through people that work for me. I don’t believe in hiring people that I don’t know. I don’t care what your business is; it’s all about relationships. You have to be cut from the same cloth that I am cut from.”

The people hired not only have to have the same ideals as Anthony, but they have the same business sense and philosophy, to go along with family, moral and ethical standards. “I want to make sure that we align. My interviews tend to be long because we get into everything from professionalism to their home life. This has contributed to our success because when you have a company of 1,000 people, built in the same way, who think in the same way and live in the same way, it makes life a lot easier.”

Currently, the company is working on a high profile project: the RIU Hotel in Times Square, a thirty story hotel for RIU Hotel & Resorts. The project is costing $105 million and is one of the few projects over $10 million being done in the city as non-union.

The Rinaldi Group won the 2012 Multi-family Residential Project of the Year for a building at 220 Water Street in Brooklyn. For the project, The Rinaldi Group worked with renowned developer Ginsburg Development Companies (GDC) another well-established family-run development company with a lot of talent.

The tricky and difficult endeavour was being estimated to cost around $30 million but had a budget of only $25 million. “Their head of construction grabbed me and said that they couldn’t find a CM (construction management company) that could do it for $25 million. I brought a lot of my key subcontractors in, and we went through it. We sharpened our pencils and got the budget down to $25,600,000. That made the project happen.”

A second aspect that made the project next to impossible was that it involved the conversion of a landmark building – a former shoe factory in Brooklyn. This resulted in a number of hurdles, including a lot of paperwork. There was a historic building tax credit in the millions of dollars that was available for the project. This tax credit, however, was attached to a schedule that required the project to be turned over by December 31, 2011.

“It was a nineteen-to-twenty month project that we started in July, 2010 – which was no fault of our own, but it meant that we had to get it done in seventeen months. Without that, we could not get a TCO (Temporary Certificate of Occupancy) on the property from the owner so that the tenants could start moving in by December 31st, 2011.” Without the TCO, the tax credit would have been lost. In the end, it not only came in under budget, but on time. The TCO was given on December 27, 2011.

The result of this great work is that, without having to bid against anyone, the Rinaldi Group is presently doing a project for GDC in Long Island City. It was hired to start the pre-construction services and is now in the design phase.

“We won a client for life. That is not to say that we don’t always have to perform, but based on what we are all about and how successful the project was by getting it done on time and under budget.”

Read more from Business in Focus…

Rinaldi Group Cited as 129th Largest Privately Held Company in NYC Area

The Rinaldi Group (TRG), one of the fastest growing companies in the New York Metropolitan area has now been cited by Crain’s as the 129th largest privately held business in New York. TRG is a full service licensed general contractor and construction management firm that, as a result of its  efficiency, quality, professionalism and safety, has grown into  a financially strong business with unlimited capabilities in an industry today that is more competitive than it has even been before.

TRG employs a diverse work force of thousands of well trained and safety conscious professionals that has grown substantially in a little over 12 years. Given this fast track to success, it is no surprise that TRG has joined the ranks of billionaire John Catsimatidis and The Red Apple Group…and others like Hearst…Trump…Bloomberg…Goya Foods…Modell’s Sporting Goods…and Sam Ash Music…and construction companies like Hunter Roberts, Tully, Structuretone, Barr & Barr, Plaza, J. Fletcher Creamer, Langan Engineering, Ibex, Schimenti and Cava-recognized for its success and unparalleled growth.

TRG’s technical and design diversity reaches all branches construction, from design-build and core-&-shell to interior fit-out, renovation and rehabilitation, the firm’s abilities are endless. Whether a project is a residential high-rise condominium or a mid-rise hotel; whether it is a commercial office building or a health-care facility; whether it is a school, college or athletic facility or a theater, restaurant or library; and whether it is a public municipal building and court-house or it is a financial data hub, entertainment complex or retail center-the list of what the TRG can do, and do in the most cost effective way, is literally endless.

Success, however, doesn’t only bring accolades-it creates jealousy and resentment. As one of the largest and fastest growing merit-based contractors, TRG has a target on its back because regressive forces are looking to find any way they can to diminish all that the firm has accomplished in little over a decade.

We are here to let everyone know that we will not take the attacks lying down-because to threaten TRG is to threaten not only a successful business, but also the livelihoods of thousands of mostly minority workers who have been given tremendous opportunity to become part of the American Dream because of TRG’s rapid growth. We have no need to apologize for our success and we will do all within our power to preserve the competition in construction that is vital to economic growth and prosperity.

America is known as a land of opportunity. We at TRG are grateful that we have been fortunate enough to compete successfully and help to create hundreds of diverse facilities that the public uses and enjoys today.

It is this vibrant and unique environment that is under siege by forces that want to turn back the clock to a time when their own protection racket stymied competition and thwarted the growth the provides the jobs that drives this great economy. With all of our own effort, and the support of scores of other like minded contractors, we are prepared to do battle to preserve and promote competition in one of the foremost job-creating industries in New York and New Jersey.

HOME RUN – Rinaldi Group Project Part of a Multi-Phase Myrtle Avenue Master Plan

From Industry Magazine:

Once one of the hottest high school baseball prospects in the nation, Anthony Rinaldi chose real estate instead, and his latest project in fort Greene is just one part of a multi-phase Myrtle Avenue master plan.

by Alice Forstead

The Rinaldi Group Myrtle aveEvery life has its arrangement of defining moments… its “Which door should I choose?” conundrums, but for students of city real estate generally, and Brooklyn’s market specifically, the one faced by Anthony Rinaldi in the mid ’80s was more than a little bit unique. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey and the son of a 33-year veteran of the Hoboken Police Department, Rinaldi was educated in the Secaucus Public Schools system, where he was quickly spotted as a more than capable athlete. In fact one of the most promising catchers in all of high school baseball, he was given the opportunity to tryout with the Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, and California Angels, but instead chose higher education and an engineering degree over a career in professional sports.

After more than a decade in and around city realty businesses, Rinaldi hung out his own shingle in 2003 under the name Anthony T. Rinaldi, LLC., d.b.a. The Rinaldi Group. The general contracting and construction management firm has since been responsible for the development and construction of high-rise condominium and rental towers and hotels in Arizona, New Jersey, Florida, New York City, and Westchester, and has been witness to and participant in one of the most stunning real estate valuation increases in the nation’s history. With projects like the boutique Hilton Garden Inn on E. 33rd Street, 570 Lexington Avenue, and the Garden State Plaza Mall under its belt, along with Brooklyn projects 220 Water Street and 218 Myrtle Avenue (the former reported on in the feature “The Shoe Fits” in the July/August 2013 issue) Rinaldi has focused considerable attention on the borough’s widely expanding fortunes, most recently in the form of a multiple phase Myrtle Avenue development in Fort Greene, capped by this recently-completed 15-story tower, referred to as both 81 Fleet Place and The Giovanni.

In partnership with Red Apple Real Estate, the rental tower, designed by Dattner Architects, consists of two stories of below-grade parking, two more floors of retail space, and 13 stories of luxury residential units. Encompassing some 260,000 square feet, the project was completed in late 2014, features 205 apartments, and is currently valued at just over $57 million. Siting, as always, was a key consideration—a short walk to the Barclays Center and BAM, and just around the corner from Fulton Mall.

“It has been an honor and professional privilege to build for and work with [real estate developer and 2013 Republican mayoral candidate] John Catsimatidis and Red Apple Real Estate on their mission to rebuild and revitalize Brooklyn,” Rinaldi offered at the ribbon-cutting, and it was clear from the time the first rental contracts were signed that the project included a tier of amenities new to a once-distressed eastern edge of Downtown. Its units run from $2,500 per month for a studio to $4,400 for a 907-square-foot two-bedroom (though the priciest available unit at time of press is a $4,975 919-square-foot one-bedroom).

For this healthy price of admission, renters have access to a 24-hour concierge, an indoor parking garage, secured bike storage, a garden manicured roof deck, residence lounge, media room, game room, and fitness center that features a private gym with Cyber cardio equipment and a yoga/aerobics studio. Individual unit amenities vary slightly according to size and layout, but all feature oversized windows, Caesar Stone kitchen countertops and glass-tiled backsplashes, stainless steel GE Profile and Frigidaire appliances, Casals Grande Titan Martian flooring in kitchen and bath, a stacked Bosch washer and dryer, climate control, and maple strip wood flooring throughout. Private terraces and outdoor spaces are available, too, depending upon unit number.

Read more from Industry Magazine…


Industry Mag on The Rinaldi Group – “The Maverick”

From Industry Magazine:

Could a city grown accustomed to century-old methods of construction think anew? One developer bet yes, and the results are stunning

By Jessica Jones-Gorman • Photos by Amessé Photography
In 2003, after years of working for some of the city’s top construction firms, Anthony Rinaldi took a risk and opened a non-union based building group in the traditionally union-heavy New York City construction landscape.

“In the early 2000s, I started to see a change in the dynamics of the city” Rinaldi said. “I started to see a desire for developers to go non-union. And as a new company, competing for work with major construction companies with long histories, I knew I had to do something that made my company unique.”

So, Rinaldi, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University, and with years of experience and technical expertise, took on a sort of David and Goliath battle with some of the city’s construction giants.

“I knew if we could combine the sophistication, technical know-how, and experience of a major union construction management firm in a non-union setting, we’d have success,” he said. “We could provide the owner with a price that was 20 to 30 percent less, which is huge for developers who are paying far too much for their dirt. There has to be relief somewhere, and where we find it is in the cost of construction. I was offering a product that separated us from the rest.”

But historically, this is the largest Union City in the country, where a great many jobs and wages have been union controlled since the 1800s. However, in recent years, things started to change, Rinaldi said, and he felt it was time to modify how some of the city’s major construction projects were managed.

“I think there was a time in this country when labor was abused and unions had a function. They were necessary to protect the worker, but the pendulum has swung and unions went from necessary to almost abusive,” Rinaldi explained.

There were a number of jurisdictional disputes, Rinaldi claimed, which often stopped work and put both contractor and developer at risk financially.

“It was a mentality in the construction world that just got worse and worse,” Rinaldi said. “I’m trying to produce the best work for my client, but am unable to do so because of so much conflict and battle for control. I simply decided that I would not let anyone else control my business but me.”

The transition wasn’t exactly simple for Rinaldi. He was raised union—his father was a Hoboken police captain and his father-in-law a laborer with Local 79, both men of union backgrounds. And after earning his degree from Lehigh, Rinaldi worked for both George A. Fuller and HRH Construction, two of the city’s major union-based construction management firms.

And the developers he was courting had reservations, too. But when a number of fully licensed and insured non-union crane companies started cropping up, Rinaldi says many union guys started to convert.

He opened his Secaucus-based company, The Rinaldi Group, and secured a first big break in 2005 when a former colleague reached out for assistance on a $500 million project in White Plains.

“We worked hand in hand to build the Ritz Carlton Hotel and the two adjacent 47-story condominium towers,” Rinaldi recalled.

That led to another major project funded by John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group in 2008.

“Catsimatidis owns a lot of real estate and a variety of businesses, but this was his first development project,” Rinaldi said.

It was a massive undertaking, consisting of two city blocks in downtown Brooklyn: one area reserved for a 40-story high-end condominium tower, the other for a mid-rise affordable housing project. That year the financial industry collapsed, however, so Catsimatidis reorganized the project, breaking it down into four smaller phases.

The mid-rise buildings were built smack in the middle of a then-trending neighborhood—in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge, not far from the Barclays Center and all of its booming commerce.

“Catsimatidis gave us a real big shot,” Rinaldi said.

Other Brooklyn jobs followed. One on Nassau Street (also at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge), another on Water Street (the latter named multifamily residential project of the year by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce).

“That project was a 200,000-squarefoot conversion of a landmark shoe factory,” Rinaldi said. “We turned it into 135 luxury high-end loft rental units and the work had to be coordinated with the Landmarks Preservation Commission and other local and state agencies. It really was a wonderful transformation.” It also served as proof that Rinaldi had carved a niche in this city for his brand of building.

“There are only a handful of companies like ours in this city, but I think our willingness to go the distance for our clients really separates us from the competition,” he said. “We do a number of things relative to cost that our competition does not do. Plus we provide a level of trust that has given our name a very good reputation in this industry.”

For Rinaldi and his staff, that translates into consistent growth. The group is currently working on a hotel, theater, and mixed-use space in Harlem which will break ground in 2015, while an ultra-high-end condominium conversion in Manhattan is slated for a 2017 completion.

The Rinaldi Group currently maintains a book of business in excess of $400 million, and was recently recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in America.

“It’s been an action-packed ten years,” Rinaldi said. “It took a lot of hard work and dedication, and we’ve certainly paid our dues to be here, but I feel very blessed and thankful to be in this position.”

Read more from Industry Magazine…