Local Developer Fred Daibes: A Reflection of Community
By Michael Scivoli
It’s almost impossible to take a drive down River Road in Edgewater and not notice a highrise that has recently been developed or is in the process of being built. With the town’s developments come more people, a diverse group of residents moving in each year because, simply, the town has become an ideal place to call home. The reason for this, other than the obvious fact that it has stunning views and is at Manhattan’s doorstep, is that it has become a community, a neighborhood of like-minded individuals who continue to improve the area’s culture.
What some may not know is that, for the last few decades, almost everything that’s popped up in the riverside borough has, in one way or another, involved Fred Daibes, owner and CEO of Daibes Enterprises, a consortium of subsidiaries which specialize in fields such as real estate development, contracting, architectural design, banking, property management and insurance brokerage, among other things.
On a residential level, Daibes Enterprises is best known for their big projects such as The Alexander, Mariner’s Landing, Saint Moritz (now Riello) and Cliffside Views. And with each new residence, Daibes and his team make a solemn promise to not only improve on their previous projects, but to set a standard for luxury living in Edgewater. However, the company and its subsidiaries have contributed (built and managed) so much more to the community than just a few highrises; they’ve built everything from libraries, restaurants and retail hubs, to schools and assisted-living centers, and in some cases, they’ve even facilitated road work.
Daibes Enterprises’ inception was in the mid-1980s, a few short years after the passing of Daibes’ father, who formed a small masonry business with his two sons just 10 years after immigrating to the U.S. from Lebanon. But from that modest family business, Daibes and his siblings would forge a respected general contracting company and shoot for the stars. “I didn’t have much when my father passed. And in our culture, the oldest son is responsible. My mother didn’t speak English, and I had siblings that were all younger than me. Sue Sue (his sister) was nine years old at the time, I had to go out and work,” Daibes told me during an afternoon spent at The Alexander.
By 1985, Daibes Enterprises was formed, and in time, it would grow into one of the largest regional developers in the tri-state area. Though each company and subsidiary is in fact its own entity, they all collaborate and grow beneath the management of a single governing company. This allows them to build and develop land with both haste and efficiency, without plans or ideals changing hands.
Part of Daibes’ success, apart from working closely with family, has been a strong (and firm) business philosophy. The consistency his companies have shown in maintaining high standards in every project has been instrumental to why they’ve continued to grow each year. “We take a lot of pride here. If it’s got our name on it, I expect it to be the best. No matter what we build, we believe if you put your name on it, it better be good,” he said. “It’s a representation, a reflection of me and my family. I want my name to be known with building the best product. Whatever you do in life, be the best. I tell my kids all the time, even if you want to be a garbage man, be the best garbage man. Strive to be the best at what you do. We try to improve with every building; we hope to have it become better than the one before it.”
Perhaps one of the largest examples of Daibes’ devotion to delivering a quality product is The Alexander, a residential address on River Road that sets a high standard for living along the Hudson. The building’s focal point, aside from its notable high-profile residents, is its concierge experience. “As you pull up [to The Alexander], the concierge opens the door for you, helps you with your bags—anything you need, you can call downstairs and they will get it for you. Whether that’s theater tickets, limousines, whatever you need we should be able to supply. The attitude is to have hotel living,” Daibes explained.
The living experience at these highrises of course isn’t just about first-class service, it’s about offering people a luxurious lifestyle. Gyms for instance, like the facilities at The Alexander, are a huge draw. With each year, they become “bigger and fancier” as Daibes put it, and with that mentality, it’s no wonder The Alexander itself features an indoor pool, steam room, sauna, and full fitness studios.
For someone like Daibes, a man who has not only witnessed all of the colossal changes along the Hudson Waterfront, but has helped shape it, he often recalls how Edgewater has blossomed from a once waterfront factory community to an affluent neighborhood. “It was all industrial. Now it’s an upgraded residential community. We’ve become almost like an extension of Manhattan. In the next five to ten years, I think it’ll get more congested and you can bet there will be more development, we’re already planning for it.”
On the topic of residential congestion and traffic, Daibes offered some truth about what residences can expect as development continues. “You have to accept that if you’re going to live this close to New York, it’s going to be congested. It’s funny, as much vacant land as there is in our country, people tend to keep gravitating towards where there’s more people. If you look around today, the value of property in Edgewater is going up. While the value of property, 15 to 20 minutes west of here can get so much more. People want to be closer to the middle, and the middle is Manhattan. That’s why you see Jersey City and Brooklyn going through so much development and change themselves.”
Currently, Daibes Enterprises is working on a three-tower, 320-unit residential complex on River Road near Palisades Medical Center. Though it doesn’t have a name yet, many are eagerly waiting for its unveiling once construction wraps up later this summer. If it’s an improvement on Daibes’ previous projects, one can only help but feel excited about what awaits future residents upon its completion.