Stanley Isaac Chera (October 22, 1942 – April 11, 2020) was an American real estate developer and founder of Crown Acquisitions. He died during the COVID-19 pandemic due to complications brought on by COVID-19.
|Died||April 11, 2020 (aged 77)|
New York City, US
|Occupation||Real estate developer|
|Known for||Founder of Crown Acquisitions|
Chera was born in 1942 in Brooklyn to a Syrian Jewish family. In 1947, his father Isaac Chera opened a retail store called Young World in Brooklyn, New York. The family later purchased the building and grew Young World into a chain purchasing the buildings as they expanded.
In the 1980s, Chera (then in charge of the family company) started purchasing real estate in New York City at first as a minority partner and later in 2000s as the lead developer. Chera was known for developing or "repositioning" the retail portion of his buildings and then selling the property.
In a joint venture with The Carlyle Group and Charles Kushner, Chera sold the retail portion of 666 Fifth Avenue in two transactions for more than $1 billion; and also the retail portion of the St. Regis Hotel in a joint venture with Lloyd Goldman and Jeffrey Feil for $380 million. In 2010, he began the restoration of The Knickerbocker Hotel in Manhattan. In 2012, Chera purchased 49.9% interest in a four-building Fifth Avenue portfolio that included the Olympic Tower for $1 billion from the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.
In June 2013, Chera purchased 650 Madison Avenue for $1.3 billion in partnership with Highgate Holdings from the Carlyle Group. He was an investor in the One World Trade Center and accumulated a lot of property in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Crown is also a prominent investor (along with Albert Laboz, Joseph Jemal, and Eli Gindi) in the Fulton Mall in Brooklyn. Chera had a conservative investment strategy borrowing no more than 25 to 35% of the purchase price given that they are long term holders in assets. In 2009, Crown held 15 million square feet of real estate in New York City.
Chera and his wife Frieda, nicknamed "Cookie", had three sons: Isaac "Ike" Chera, Haim Chera, and Richard Chera, all active in the family business. Chera was a leader in the Brooklyn Sephardic Jewish community. Chera was an associate and friend of Donald Trump, and donated to the Trump Victory Committee.
Chera was hospitalized for an unknown illness in March 2020 and later tested positive for COVID-19. Prior to his hospitalization, he had relocated to his home in Deal, New Jersey. Chera entered a coma the following week and died on April 11, 2020. His wife also contracted the virus, but recovered.
President Trump, in a recent Fox News interview, described Chera's death as having a high impact on his thinking:
"I’ve lost three friends. One, a very good friend, a very successful man, New York guy, employed a lot of people that were all crying over his death. Stanley Chera. He went to the hospital, he calls me up. He goes, “I tested positive.” I said, “Well, what are you going to do?” He said, “I’m going to the hospital. I’ll call you tomorrow.” He didn’t call. I call the hospital, he’s in a coma. Now, I know a lot of people that had the flu, they were never in a coma."
- Seelye, Katharine Q. (April 17, 2020). "Stanley Chera, Developer and Friend of Trump, Dies at 77". The New York Times. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
- Marino, Vivian (June 25, 2010). "Stanley Chera". New York Times. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
- The Real Deal: "The Syrian retail touch - An inside look at the Syrian Jewish investors dominating NYC retail — from Sutton to Sitt, including how much revenue they’re pulling in" By Adam Pincus January 1, 2014
- The Real Deal: "Clans with Plans" by Adam Pincus February 1, 2011
- "Crown Acquisitions Founder Stanley Chera Dies of Coronavirus". The Real Deal New York. April 11, 2020. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
- The Real Deal: "$1.3B sale of 650 Madison hinges on dramatic increase in retail value, sources say" by Adam Pincus June 3, 2013
- Jewish Voice New York: "Chera Family’s Crown Acquisitions Buys 650 Madison for $1.3 Billion" By Boruch Shubert June 5, 2013
- The Real Deal: "Stanley Chera dishes on the Knickerbocker" June 28, 2010
- The Real Deal: "Crown takes stake in $1B Fifth Avenue portfolio" May 14, 2012
- The Real Deal: "Families plot Fulton Mall face-lift - A parcel-by-parcel look at what the corridor's tight-knit group of owners has in store" By Patrick Egan January 31, 2011
- New York Observer: "Big-Time Fight Over St. Regis Retail; Chera Cries ‘Conspiracy’ in Lawsuit" By Dana Rubinstein November 10, 2009
- Weiss, Lois (April 13, 2020). "Stanley Chera, real estate mogul and friend of Trump, dead at 78 from coronavirus". New York Post. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
- Commercial Observer: "Cartier! Versace! Vuitton! Financing Next Gen at Crown’s Ritzy Retail Focus" by Alessia Pirolo May 29, 2013
- RASKIN, SALLY GOLDENBERG with SAM. "Trump's real estate buds". Politico PRO. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
- Haberman, Maggie (April 1, 2020). "Friend Who Trump Says Has Coronavirus Is a New York Developer". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
- Weiss, Lois (March 24, 2020). "Developer and Trump pal Stanley Chera hospitalized". New York Post. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
- "Stanley Chera in coma with Covid-19". The Real Deal. April 1, 2020. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
- "Stanley Chera In Coma With COVID-19 - The Real Deal". The Real Deal New York. April 1, 2020.
- "Stanley Chera, titan of NYC retail, dies of coronavirus". The Real Deal. April 11, 2020. Retrieved April 11, 2020.
- Staff (May 3, 2020). "Donald Trump Virtual Town Hall Transcript". Rev.com. Retrieved May 4, 2020.