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Millennial Entrepreneur Works to Build High-End Student Housing

Is it possible to have luxury housing as a student or recent grad?

Since 2000, Temple University has had a record-breaking enrollment, which has helped revitalize the traditionally lower income neighborhood.

Philip Michael is a Danish-born, millennial entrepreneur who founded New York Equity Group (NYEG), a New York City real estate investment and tech company that will start building property in Philadelphia within a couple of weeks.

“You can literally see [the neighborhood] transforming as you’re standing there,” Michael said. “You see old boarded up houses; then you see high risers right next door. It’s surreal but also exciting. And there’s lots of value to be had.”

Michael said the end goal is to complete large projects with 30 units or more in the short term.

“We want to get into bigger developments, bigger properties,” Michael said. “Ideally down the road, the goal is to own a skyscraper at some point, that’s what we’re building towards, but you have to crawl before you walk. You don’t want to be in over your head.”

Millennials can be high maintenance, and Michael understands that, which is why he desires to help build high-end housing for students and recent grads in the Philadelphia area.

“That’s the trend right now for student housing — and I know because it wasn’t that long ago I was a student myself,” Michael said. “They like luxury…Before you threw them in an old dorm with bunk beds, but now they want swimming pools and roof decks.”

Luckily, Michael has great mentors and family ready to assist him. His father, a Denmark-based investor, and businessman, started HTH Køkkener in Esbjerg, Denmark (HTH Kitchens in English). HTH Kitchens is the country’s first retail kitchen and bath manufacturing store and has grown to 130 stores in 12 countries.

To make his Philly project “top notch,” Michael is bringing his father out of retirement to oversee this part of the development.

“He’s done many big-scale developments in the past,” Michael said. “He knows how to maximize the budget, understands dimensions better than anyone I know and knows how to do it in a very cost-effective way.”

Danish soccer star Martin Braithwaite, Michael’s nephew, is involved in the investment side as well, bringing three generations of business together in one project.

“That’s huge to me, I love that we can do that together,” Michael said. “Martin and I share similar visions and mindsets, which I’ve really adopted from my dad. So bringing it full circle is a blessing.”

Michael has raised a $25 million fund from investors, recently closed his first big deal and launched a tech arm of his company.

Back in 2014 when Michael arrived in New York, he had a media background, but a desire to dive into the business world. While attending a Bisnow event (a leading real estate media and events company), Michael utilized his journalism tools and offered to contribute to Bisnow Media for free in exchange for access to events. He now uses his media background for creating ventures like SquareFootLabs. 

“I truly believe you become your environment, and I was trying to figure how to make ‘big time real estate’ my environment. So that’s why I made that move,” Michael said.

Since starting NYEG, Michael also added a tech component to his business with NYEG:AX, a real estate investment software similar to investment app Stash, but for real estate. In addition, he also invests in various startups in the media and tech sectors such as Sharebert, advised by former PropertyShark CEO and mayoral candidate Bill Staniford

“When I do this stuff with my real estate and early-stage startups, I want to make sure I have my responsibilities focused and super targeted so I can actually produce results,” Michael said. “If you spread yourself too thin, no matter how great you are, you’re just going to leave a lot of average everywhere.”

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