Building for Life

Developer, Builder, Owner and Manager of
Residential and Commercial Properties Nationwide


“Visionaries build what dreamers imagine.” – Toba Beta

Alvin Benjamin was both dreamer and visionary. As a dreamer, Alvin believed you could do good for the world and make money, that there needn’t be a schism between the two. As a visionary, Alvin’s early commitment to, and success with, affordable multifamily and senior housing proved that the two beliefs could be complementary business objectives. In his later years, Alvin’s vision of community transformation through smart-growth development translated into the ground-breaking Arverne By The Sea project, the largest development in New York City outside of the World Trade Center.

Alvin Benjamin’s story is quintessentially American. Born in the working, middle-class neighborhoods of Brooklyn in 1920, Alvin graduated Brooklyn College before enlisting in the Navy during World War II. He rose to the rank of captain and was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions aboard a landing vessel during the battle of Iwo Jima. Upon his return from war, Alvin enrolled in law school and took a position as a mortgage broker with the LeFrak Organization, under the tutelage of Sam LeFrak. Alvin became so successful writing mortgages that he left law school to pursue a full-time career in the real estate field.

Sam LeFrak recognized great potential in Alvin and encouraged him to start his own business. Alvin took LeFrak’s words to heart and founded Benjamin Development in the early 1960's. Alvin’s imprint was initially in New York and focused on affordable senior housing – a niche he saw as not being adequately served. Quickly his company spread up and down the East Coast. His development portfolio similarly expanded to include affordable multifamily units (another niche Alvin pioneered), luxury multifamily units, commercial properties, and smart-growth communities incorporating residential, commercial and retail.

Alvin was resolute in his commitment to community and his responsibility to the environment. He was proud that the hallmark of his projects – what he would become known for as a developer – was building in harmony with the environment and fulfilling the needs of the local community. “A developer must respect nature’s gifts and build to complement what she has given,” Alvin was often quoted saying. “A developer should not overpower or try to change nature.”

In his later years, Alvin illustrated this commitment to nature through his pioneering work in the area of adaptive reuse developments. Examples of this include the Greens at Half Hollow, the Central Islip projects and Dover Knolls.

Through his vision and by his example, Alvin Benjamin positioned The Benjamin Companies as a market leader in forecasting and establishing trends and setting standards in development, construction and management. Alvin brought extraordinary quality to every project he undertook; the thousands of women, men and children who have been touched by the man and his real estate development company serve as a fitting legacy.