CRE Midwest

Morningside's David Strosberg on building a home right after college and what he says is his ultimate 'dream'

David (far left) and his family on vacation swimming with dolphins.

Morningside president and CEO, David Strosberg knew he was going to end up in the industry one way or another. A self-starter since his teenage years, Strosberg was determined to take on some challenging, yet remarkably impressive projects that he started on his own in high school.

Morningside president and CEO, David Strosberg, knew he was going to end up in the industry one way or another. A self-starter since his teenage years, Strosberg was determined to take on some challenging, yet remarkably impressive projects that he started on his own in high school. In a Q & A, Strosberg lets IREJ in on how he started in the industry, the large, new Mariano's development that offers 102,000 square feet of retail, and the one important thing on his bucketlist.

msc-025Q: What are your day-to-day responsibilities as president and CEO of Morningside?

A: I oversee the acquisition, development, and management of the firm’s investment and development portfolio. Morningside is a vertically-integrated organization that performs nearly all aspects of development in-house:  from planning, finance, and entitlements through construction, marketing, and property management. As President and CEO, I manage our team of in-house experts and third-party consultants.

Q: How did you get your start in commercial real estate?

A: While in high school in metro Detroit, I started a sprinkler irrigation contracting business that I continued through my time in college.  After college graduation, I built a single-family home and self-performed all the trades except mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. I received a B.S. degree in architecture from the University of Michigan and a MBA in real estate from Columbia University in the City of New York City. Prior to founding Morningside Group 22 years ago, I was an executive with Sam Zell’s Equity Group, general partner of a national property investment firm, and a construction manager of residential and commercial projects in the northeast U.S. Morningside’s focus has always been on mixed-use and multi-family development on urban and suburban infill sites in the Midwest.

Q: What's your favorite part about working in this industry?

A: Walking through a completed Morningside development is very rewarding. Each project is very unique, and I enjoy seeing how all the pieces fit together to make a unified project that benefits a community.

Q: What are some of your firm's most recent successes, including the new Mariano’s?

A: The new Mariano’s is a piece of a larger development called NorthShore 770, which offers 102,000 square feet of retail.  The other retailers include Panera, PNC Bank, Chipotle, Kriser’s Pet Supplies, Sleepy’s, Noodles & Co., Fuddruckers, and PNC Bank. On an adjacent parcel, a 347-unit, ultra-luxury rental building is under construction.  Our goal there is to create the finest apartment building in suburban Chicago.

The building’s unique features include a doorman, heated indoor parking, virtual golf simulator, putting green, outdoor pool and sundeck, two green roofs with grilling stations and cabanas, health-club quality fitness center, private dining room seating 20, cinema room, and e-business center. A penthouse level offers 10-foot ceilings, expanded window heights, upgraded appliance and finish packages, and lots more.

Over the past few years, Morningside completed a 306-unit rental building in downtown Wheaton, Illinois and is under construction with a mixed-use development in downtown Elmhurst, Illinois.  New construction and historic redevelopments were completed in Royal Oak and Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Soon to be announced is a for-sale residential project in the River North neighborhood of Chicago where I’ve lived and worked for more than two decades.

Q: On a more personal note, what do you like to do outside of work?

A: I enjoy spending time with my wife, Jory, and our three children. I am a pilot and fly both personally and as a volunteer for Veterans Airlift Command and Angel Flight Central.

Q: What's your greatest accomplishment outside the industry?

A: Sorry for the cliché, but it’s my family.

Q: Best advice you’ve ever received?

A: A former boss told me to avoid following the pack and rely on your own expertise.  That’s how Morningside has survived multiple cycles without ever giving a property back to a lender or experiencing a foreclosure.

Q: One thing you'd like to do that you haven't already done in your lifetime?

A: I would love to develop an urban hotel, and I’m working on it.

Q: What's one interesting thing about yourself that not many people would know?

A: My dream is to take six months off and hike the Appalachian trail before I get too old to survive it.