By Sabina Mollot
Stuyvesant Town Property Services, the now year-old subsidiary of Blackstone created for the management of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper, has recently completed a round of hires, including two in upper management.
One is new chief financial officer Andreas Spitzer, who previously served as CFO of the American Farmland Company, which he helped sell. He also worked for three years at retail REIT Equity One and four years at the New York City Housing Authority, where he served as CFO. He also spent 10 years as a mergers and acquisitions banker.
Spitzer has spent the last six months since getting hired by SPS conducting internal audits, which hadn’t been done on the property in over seven years.
The other hire, who started last week, is chief operating officer Kelly Vohs. Like SPS chief executive officer Rick Hayduk, Vohs has worked extensively in the hotel and resort industry. He is also an Army veteran who served in Iraq.
Before arriving at Stuyvesant Town, Vohs was general manager of Hilton’s newest luxury hotel, the Conrad Chicago, where he worked even when it was still an active construction site. He began working for the Hilton company in 2013 when he served as general manager of the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Florida. Prior to that, from 2003-2011 Vohs served in the Army, eventually becoming a sergeant first class in the Army’s Special Forces, and being awarded the Green Beret.
Hayduk, this week, said he made it a point to hire individuals who will make the place run more smoothly but also in doing so actively aim to make residents feel better about living in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.
“Our purpose is to create community,” Hayduk said.
With Vohs, who Hayduk knew from the Florida resort where he also used to work, as well as Spitzer, Hayduk said, “There’s a values synchronicity.”
Vohs said he’ll be involved in all aspects of management, including little things.
“Everything from are the lightbulbs on, are the streets clean, are your calls getting returned?” he said.
Along with his hospitality experience, Vohs’ military background has also to some degree impacted his work philosophy. While stationed in Iraq, he found himself wondering, “How do you leave people better than you found them?” Today, he said the question can apply to civilian life at an apartment complex.
“You’re trying to create a great place (for people) to live their lives,” he said.
Vohs added that he doesn’t find residential housing to be all that different from the hotel world, at least not from a management perspective.
“Our mindset is you’re helping people,” he said. “The length of stay is just longer. Instead of two nights, you might stay two years or 20 years or 40.”
Spitzer, meanwhile, has had less interaction with the community, as his attention has been on the audits, which were finally completed last week.
“The CPA background comes in handy,” he said, adding that in the future, the property’s financials will be reviewed on a yearly basis.
His next goal is to learn the ins and outs of the rent regulations that govern ST/PCV living. Fortunately, when at NYCHA he said he was able to quickly pick up the regulations of public housing and federal housing programs, so he hopes to do the same here.
“I know nothing about rent stabilization but I’ll learn,” said Spitzer.
Vohs recently moved to Peter Cooper Village and his wife and three sons will join him once the school year is done. Spitzer lives in the Upper East Side.
At this time, there are roughly 450 people employed by StuyTown Property Services. In the past few months, management has been attempting to be a good “corporate neighbor” with community service projects. These include a toiletry drive for veterans at the VA Medical Center and financial contributions to local schools.