A Historical Beginning
Mr. Robert Olnick completes his Pacific theater Naval assignments and returns to New York an experienced amphibious landing veteran. Upon his return, he pioneered in the post-war development of the Riverdale section of the Bronx with the building of the Knolls. This facility consisted of four towers containing 600 cooperative apartments and a shopping center. He continued his operations in Riverdale and today owns and operates the 600 unit Century Tower. He also was the developer and original owner of the 450 unit Whitehall and 350 unit Winston Churchill and the 300 unit Manor Towers.
By 1952, Mr. Olnick became the sponsor of Lenox Terrace, one of the first Urban renewal projects built in New York City's famed Harlem section. Working with then City Construction Coordinator, Robert Moses, the project was originally called Godfrey Nurse Houses. Renamed Lenox Terrace, the facility consisted of 1,716 apartments and five shopping centers. This development was a major step forward in the plan to reconstruct Harlem. Despite being nearly 60 years old, Lenox Terrace is still recognized as one of the neighborhood's finest dwellings and was once home of Percy Sutton (former Borough President of Manhattan), Harold Stevens (Former justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York), Brooklyn Dodgers phenomenon Roy Campanella and the famed lyric comedian Nipsy Russell.
Mr. Olnick bought a controlling interest in an old New York construction firm, then known as Starrett Brothers and Eken, Inc., which name was later changed to Starrett Housing Corporation. Despite this notable record of performance the Starrett Company had only a net worth in 1961 of approximately $600,000. Upon Mr. Olnick’s retirement in February, 1976, as Chairman, the company had a net worth of $18,128,000.
Other developments built by Mr. Olnick are the 500 unit Clarendon Hill Towers, Somerville, Massachusetts; the 372 unit Nob Hill garden apartment development in Bridgeport, Connecticut; the 35 story Murray Hill Mews in Manhattan; the 20 story Chesapeake House in Manhattan; the 20 story Courtney House in Manhattan; New Jersey's tallest apartment building on the Palisades opposite New York City, the 35 story Stonehenge; the 774 unit apartment development known as Fairways of Inverrary in Lauderhill, Florida. He also built the garden apartment developments in Palm Springs, Riverside and Los Angeles, California. In 1965 he built the Excelsior on East 57th Street, New York's tallest apartment building, which he later converted into a cooperative.
Mr. Olnick received the Annual Alumni Achievement Award from the New York University. He participated both as Chairman and honoree in many industry and charitable functions of the real estate and construction industry in New York. He was a Trustee of the New York University School of Continuing Education and Extension Services, where he lectured on housing and real estate investment analysis.