For Douglaston resident Carl F. Mattone, commercial real estate development is the family business.
After nearly four decades working with his father Joseph at the Mattone Group, which developed dozens of properties all across Queens — including the Jamaica Center theater and retail complex and the restaurant row that is located alongside the Queens Center Mall — Carl, along with his son Carl Jr., formed their own real estate company, CFM Development, based in Whitestone, late last year.
“We just ventured out to start a new family business with the blessing of my father and the Mattone Group, in fact I’m still president there,” Mattone said. “We just wanted to branch out and do our own thing — my son and I and recently my daughter Irene came aboard the team, so yeah. It’s the family business.”
When he began his career, Mattone was a building superintendent and worked his way up to president while learning every aspect of the business from maintenance to construction supervision, zoning and leasing, property development finance and management. Mattone is expecting an economic downturn and wants his new company to stay liquid, so for now, CFM Development will not be undertaking major projects like Jamaica Center.
“But we will be ready to take advantage of whatever situation comes along,” Mattone said. “We started out with a Class B office building in Bayside and fixed up really nice and now all of the tenants are happy and renewing our leases. So, for now that’s what we’ll concentrate on, getting properties back to where they should be be it supermarkets and other anchor retail or buying shopping centers upstate and back here in Queens.”
CFM Development looks to build its property portfolio while developing communities.
“When we do a project in a neighborhood, it’s not like we’re an absentee landlord, we get involved in the community be it sponsoring a football league in Jamaica and Springfield Gardens or a tennis club in Whitestone,” Mattone said. “We’re very community oriented and like to get involved with local activities especially when it comes to Queens. Queens is in our blood.”
Mattone watched as real estate development exploded in Long Island City and Flushing in recent years and he feels the borough needs more equitable development.
“Wherever we go it’s important that we create jobs and help people along the way,” Mattone said. “Finance and construction are the two biggest sectors in the city. We need to finance to build and create construction jobs but you always have to look out for the mom-and-pop businesses too.”
Mattone added that his father was his “greatest mentor and role model” who taught him the importance of philanthropy and supporting local charities and veterans groups.
“My father is tremendously involved in philanthropy and he taught me that life is not a one-way street,” Mattone said. “Look, Queens has been very good to me and my family so I feel a moral obligation to be good to Queens.”