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This profile was last updated on 9/2/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Mr. Frank Castagna

Wrong Frank Castagna?
 
Background

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

Education

  • civil engineering degree
    Widener University
  • honorary doctorate degree
    Long Island University
44 Total References
Web References
Press - Americana Manhasset
www.americanamanhasset.com, 1 Aug 2012 [cached]
It is, as its developer, Frank Castagna, said, the ''premiere shopping destination on Long Island.'' With its limestone facade, designed by the society architect Peter Marino; its swathes of meadow flowers and grasses, arranged by the modish landscape architects Oehme, van Sweden & Associates; its 225,000 square feet of retail space devoted almost exclusively to luxury brands; the Americana has become an alternate Madison Avenue, a mini Rodeo Drive, the parking lot where America's economic steamroller gets its ticket stamped.
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It wasn't always so lucrative. ''We had a disjointed center,'' said Mr. Castagna, whose family construction firm also built the Nassau Coliseum and the cell blocks at Rikers Island. When Mr. Castagna bought the land that would become the Americana from the developer William Levitt in 1956, he optimistically incorporated the new center as the Fifth Avenue of Long Island. As it turned out, he was off by an avenue and several decades. Among the early tenants were a Magic Pan and Baker's Shoes. ''At a certain point,'' he added, ''we did a study and discovered that the land was more valuable with no buildings on it.
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"The Udells are successful in all their stores," said Frank Castagna, chairman of Castagna Realty and developer of the Americana. "This is a family that for four generations has been very devoted to their business. Their secret is they work hard. They work seven days a week. They know the customers and we have confidence in them."
That's why when Louis Vuitton and St. John, which were on either side of London Jewelers, decided to relocate to the Americana's new wing last August, Castagna decided to negotiate with the Udells on their expansion proposal.
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The center was developed by Frank Castagna, who had just joined the family business Castagna & Son, then a general contracting firm. From the start, Castagna, then 28, envisioned the project as an upscale shopping center. Nut the process wasn't quick or easy. "It was the early stages of all shopping centers," he explains. "The mix was eclectic because we didn't know any better. At a certain point we realized that the way to compete effectly was by being very good in a certain area. We chose apparel, which includes jewelry, shoes, etc." Hirshleifer's department store, which opened in the Americana in 1960, acted as a sort of upscale beacon. And over time, Castagna managed to add Brooks Brothers and Ann Taylor.
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In the early Eighties, Castagna decided to redesign the center to make it attractive to more top-tier luxury houses. When he asked architect Peter Marino in 1980 to conceptualize his dream, Marino, who is responsible for much of the world's high-end retail architecture, hesitated, saying that he didn't do shopping centers. Castagna persisted and ultimately succeeded in snagging Marino for team Americana.
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With six Hirshelfiers on staff, the store remains very much a family affair, one quite happy to be part of the larger Americana family, headed by Castagna.
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Ten percent comes from the stores and Castagna provides the remaining 15.
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Like the Hirshleifers, the Udells have only glowing words for Castagna. "Mark and I call Frank our little angel," Candy Udell says.
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Even as Castagna acknowledges Manhattan as his biggest competitor, he has obviously discovered a formula that trumps city shopping by appealing to his customers' sense of aesthetics and community, and even their hearts. An older customer heavily involved in local charities says, "Sometimes I'm in Florida at Bal Harbour and I see something; I'll call here to see if they have it. [Castagna] is so good to the charities in our area that I don't even want to give my business to anyone else."
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In 1985 Frank Castagna, chairman of Garden City-based Castagna Realty Co. - which has owned and operated the Americana since acquiring the property for it in 1955 - approached Marino about creating a master redevelopment plan.
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"I responded that I'm not asking you to do a shopping center," Castagna told the gathered guests, "but to redefine the Americana and plan our future.
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But Mr. Castagna wanted the shopping center, which once had a Baker's Shoes, a Swenson's ice cream parlor and a movie theater, to be a premier shopping destination, not a mall.
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Mr. Castagna said the 40,000-square-foot renovation was a milestone in the center's evolution.
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''There is always more to go,'' Mr. Castagna said.
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"Peter's vision imagined 18 years ago substantially is what you see here today," said Frank Castagna, chairman of Castagna Realty and developer of the property.
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"The evolution of Americana Manhasset will continue," Castagna said.
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Americana was originally named Fifth Avenue of Long Island by Frank Castagna, an owner.
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"Peter's vision imagined 18 years ago substantially is what you see here today," said Frank Castagna, chairman of Castagna Realty and developer of the property.
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While Castagna didn't give a cost for the revamp, the trade publication Women's Wear Daily estimated such a project could cost between $30 million and $40 million.
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Castagna is bringing in the high-end brand wagon at a time when the economy is weak, but experts said Long Island has the wealth to support it.
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Castagna also is hoping to create a retail model that might be viewed as the next step in the evolution of the department store.
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By the 1980s, owner Frank Castagna, the son of original developer Ferdinand Castagna, embarked on a repositioning of the center.
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"This is the single largest change that we've ever made at one time," stated Frank Castagna, partner of Castagna Realty Co. Inc., developer of the center. "We've been planning on this for at least 10 to 12 years."
During an exclusive interview about the long-awaited expansion, designated Section IV, Castagna explained that the 29,000-square-foot Waldbaum's at the center's eastern end always resisted vacating, even though from the center's perspective it was practically an eyesore.
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There's rarely a time when the center isn't fully leased, and the designers, according to Castagna, sign 10- to 15-year leases. "Any top-flight tenant is not about to take a five-year lease," he said.
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Asked about the center's recent performance, Castagna replied, "Business is good.
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However, Castagna, who is a co-partner in the real estate company along with members of his family, said he has every intention of holding on to what he considers his crown jewel and a work always in progress. "We're not for sale," he said.
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However, Castagna has maintained a different vision for the Americana Manhasset for more than 20 years, evolving it into a rare breed in retailing that includes Bal Harbour Shops in Miami, The Atrium at Chestnut Hill near Boston, and Highland Park Village in Dallas.
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Castagna says over $360,000 is spent annually on flowers alone, and more is spent on keeping up the ornamental grasses and perennials, creating a meadow around the center's perimeter.
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Best known for creating retail spaces like Barneys New York on Madison Avenue, Marino was hardly gung ho to work for Castagna at first, and copped an attitude of his own.
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"Peter told me, "I don't do shopping centers," Castagna recalled.
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However, Castagna, who is known for his patience and reserved, methodical manner, continued to pitch the Americana Manhasset and eroded Marino's resistance.
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"The tenants are happy to comply, but we would never do anything that would hurt their brands," Castagna said.
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But as Castagna sees it, it's not the smell of wealth that makes the initial impression. It's the smell of the flowers, which is perfectly fine by him.
"The first thing people say is, 'Don't you love the flowers?'" observed Castagna.
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"Our strongest competitor is New York City," Castagna said.
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Castagna and his team see the constant tweaking of Americana as similar to working over a very high-end department store. There are similarities, considering the limited amount of space that's available to work with and the politics of dealing with the always-demanding designer crowd. As Castagna explained, it's an ongoing, delicate process, involving renegotiating leases, and waiting for leases to expire.
"Section IV opens up a whole new avenue, a whole new perspective, but it doesn't end here," Castagna said. "We're always anticipating changes as new trends and new designers arise."
The remerchandising process, he said, is "like a perpetual chess game, of moving the pieces, but in some ways it's simpler.
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The mall's owner, Frank Castagna - the son
Frank Castagna, principal of ...
www.americanamanhasset.com, 7 April 2010 [cached]
Frank Castagna, principal of Americana Manhasset, says "Toku's fine cuisine and sophisticated atmosphere create a global dining experience in keeping with the caliber of Americana Manhasset."
Council of Overseers - Tilles Center for the Performing Arts
www.tillescenter.org, 21 Sept 2013 [cached]
Frank Castagna Castagna Realty Company
FRANK ...
www.networkwomen.com, 13 Jan 2005 [cached]
FRANK CASTAGNA
Chairman, Castagna Realty Company, Inc.
As principal and partner with his wife Rita of Castagna Realty Company, Frank Castagna continues the traditions of his father's successful construction company, Gerace and Castagna Inc., founded in 1922 as a masonry contracting business.The company grew quickly into a dynamic general contracting firm, and built a lasting legacy by specializing in major construction projects, including hospitals, libraries and prisons, and such notable structures as the New York City Police Headquarters, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, North Shore Hospital in Manhasset, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the University Hospital at Stony Brook.
After graduating from Widener University (PA) in 1950 with a civil engineering degree, Castagna joined his father's company.Five years later, the company purchased what would become its flagship property and began the development of Americana Manhasset.In 1965, the company was renamed Castagna and Son, Inc.
Some 20 years ago, Castagna recognized the need for a master plan for the Americana Manhasset property, which, he says, at the time "consisted of a J.J. Newberry store and a couple of supermarkets."
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Through Castagna's leadership and vision, the company has moved beyond general contracting and has channeled its energies solely in real estate, becoming a well known name in the New York-Westchester-Long Island area.Today, Castagna says the company "builds for its own account, manages properties, and has been active in entering into joint ventures."Yet to every project, Castagna brings the company's commitment to quality and dedication to the development of profitable, environmentally responsible projects that enhance the community.
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"There's been a general up-tick in the economy on the Island in the last couple of years with a relatively low unemployment rate," says Castagna.Knowledgeable of local construction trends, he notes that "Long Island's currently experiencing a period of conversions of older office buildings in efforts to upgrade the structures and make them more viable in the marketplace."Home construction and renovations are accelerating because of the number of aging homes built following World War II.The current trend, he says, will continue, "as long as the local economy can support it."
Over the years, Castagna has developed a strong sense of commitment to, and concern for, the communities in which he does business.His community service focuses on areas he considers "key to communities" - hospitals, children's programs, health services, education and cultural institutions.
After serving a two-year term as president of the Board of Trustees of the Nassau County Museum of Art, Castagna is currently senior vice president of the Board of Directors, and is a major player in the proposed expansion wing that would include art galleries, an auditorium and classrooms.In addition to serving on the Board of the Institute for Student Achievement, Friends Academy and National Center for Disabilities Services, he is a member of the Board of Directors of Old Westbury Gardens, the Anti-Defamation League and Honors College at Hofstra University, and is chairman emeritus of the Council of Overseers for Tilles Center for the Performing Arts.In October 2004, Castagna was recognized by the American Jewish Committee, and received the AJC's prestigious Human Relations Award.He was also awarded an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters, and Castagna Realty was named Family Business of the Year, by Long Island University.
Six years ago, Castagna initiated Americana Manhasset's Champions for Charity®, one of the first efforts of its kind to harness the revenues of the holiday season and direct dollars to nonprofit organizations.
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Catherine and her husband Joseph have four sons, Brian, Michael, Mario and Frank.
Board of Directors | Abilities: Smeal Learning Center
www.smeallearningcenter.com, 14 April 2014 [cached]
Frank Castagna Principal Castagna Realty Co., Inc.
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