When you ask Philip Michael where he sees himself in five years, he almost doesn’t want to tell you. He admits it sounds bold, cocky, and over the top.
“I want to own a billion dollars of real estate by the end of the decade,” Michael, a Danish native who also serves in a director role at Bisnow Media, where he manages the national editorial team and $2 million native advertising department.
“I used to say that I wanted to be there by the time I turned 40, but that’s what I’m pushing towards now.”
For Michael, who has been everything from a SiriusXM radio host to a sportscaster before getting into the real estate business, 40 just seems too long of a wait … after all, he’s only 31 now.
Michael’s whirlwind career path to date has tinges of Howard Hughes, Sam Zell, and a touch of Forrest Gump. Growing up, Michael felt himself chomping at the bit to get out of Denmark and make his own mark on the world.
“I felt stagnant. I didn’t want to be codependent on my family, but there was no incentive to go for excellence,” Michael says. “It’s a breeding ground for mediocrity, and the only way to get out of that was to completely break away by myself where I couldn’t call for help.”
After obtaining an MBA, an administrative visa mishap forced him to return to Denmark for financial reasons before fate turned during a four-day layover in New York City and he was offered the chance to cover a boxing match.
“I had been getting money from my father, and I was going to have to go home, but I thought, there’s no way I’m going back,” Michael recalls, facing a 10-year bar, if leaving during the Green Card application process. “You can’t work while that’s going on, but I was able to figure out a way to push the process through, get a few work opportunities, and from there a place to live.”
Sportswriting led him to SiriusXM, live TV, and later a deal with Fox Sports. With growing writing media credentials he was able to secure a position at Bisnow, wanting to get back to his real passion: real estate.
“I came on board writing at Bisnow, and two days later they made me editor, even though I hadn’t mastered the style yet,” Michael says, laughing. “I was able to start meeting people and making moves to invest in real estate from there.”
Taking pointers from Michael Stern and Larry Silverstein, Michael recently closed on his first big building, located in the Journal Square district of Jersey City. He and his partners were closing on a 47-unit and 20-unit building at press time.
Altogether, Michael estimates he co-owns or manages some $5 million in real estate, but plans to go outside the New York market to really gain momentum before coming back into the Big Apple.
“My focus is going to be Class B multifamily, 50+ units, in secondary markets; there are some intriguing prospects there,” Michael says. “Places like Orlando, Atlanta, and Detroit are what we’re looking at, and then eventually leverage those properties to really make some big moves in the city.”
Big buildings, big dreams, big moves. All in a day’s work for Philip Michael.