JOSEPH J. SITT
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, THOR EQUITIES
CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING PRINCIPAL, THOR URBAN PROPERTY FUND
Born in 1964 in Brooklyn, New York, Joseph Sitt was taught at an early age the value of hard work and social responsibility. While attending New York University, he began entrepreneurially working flea markets at the Aqueduct and Roosevelt racetrack parking lots.
Joseph J. Sitt, 47, is the founder and CEO of Thor Equities, a multifaceted international real estate development company that specializes in value-added investments in shopping centers and mixed-use urban developments in the United States, Europe, and Latin America.
“It’s interesting dealing with history—through preservation you’re able to build a brand that then drives a for-profit model that exceeds what the value of an asset might have been had it not had that rich history, that rich story.”
Joseph J. Sitt – CEO Thor Equities
After developing a strong interest in retail at an early age, Mr. Sitt founded Ashley Stewart (part of Urban Brands) in 1991 based on serving the urban consumer, a traditionally overlooked and underserved market segment by many national retailers. The company experienced considerable success in a relatively short period of time, growing to over 380 stores in 100 cities which generated approximately $400 million in annual sales. A key to Mr. Sitt’s success at Ashley Stewart and Urban Brands was identifying and leveraging the best urban real estate opportunities for its stores, and he decided in 1998 to divest his interest in the company and focus his energy primarily on the development and acquisition of prime real estate in urban markets with his real estate company Thor Equities.
Today, Thor Equities has an international retail, office, hotel, and residential portfolio valued at more than $5 billion and totaling more than 15 million square feet and is a leader in urban real estate development, leasing and management. Mr. Sitt also serves as Chairman and Managing Principal of the Thor Urban Property Funds whose investors include pension funds, investment banks, top-tier college endowments, and foundations. Notable developments under Thor’s umbrella include the award winning restoration and redevelopment of the historic Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, London’s oldest and most historic indoor shopping bazaar The Burlington Arcade, and the recently acquired Takashimaya building in the heart of Fifth Avenue—one of the most heavily trafficked and valuable retail streets in the world. In addition, he oversees Thor Retail Advisors which provides tenant representation and advisory services to retailers seeking premier retail locations around the world, and TOWN Residential, a full service, tailored luxury residential brokerage service in New York City.
Mr. Sitt is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and various universities including Columbia University, New York University, and Notre Dame and is an active board member of The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, one of the most renowned and respected community development organizations in the country. He also serves on the board of the Real Estate Roundtable in Washington D.C., the Department of Real Estate at Baruch College, and is a member of the Partnership for New York City. He was an honoree of Crain’s New York’s annual “40 Under 40” list in 2004 and has been named by the New York Observer in its annual list as one of the most powerful people in New York Real Estate. Harvard professor Michael Porter and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) have also honored him for his commitment to fostering healthy competitive business conditions and new opportunities in inner city neighborhoods. He is a graduate of New York University.