Who We Are
Universal Properties is a Boston based privately owned, closely held real estate management and Investment Company founded by Stuart Levey in 1996.
Universal’s core business is the acquisition and management of investment grade, income producing multifamily apartment communities. By focusing on underperforming and undercapitalized assets, Universal’s team is able to leverage its acquisition, finance, ownership, condo conversion/sales and operational expertise to improve cash on cash returns.
Our success with these properties is achieved using a business strategy designed to diminish risk while creating added value through cash flow, capital appreciation and strategic re-positioning of assets. We believe that the key to adding value lies in identifying and crafting the right business plan for each individual property, acquiring the asset at a price consistent with the risk, then implementing our customized plan quickly and efficiently.
Our multi-family communities have historically provided investors with stable and consistent returns. As part of Universal’s hands on and smart management practices approach in repositioning our resident communities, we add capital improvements that reduce operating costs, increase energy efficiency and improve sustainability.
All of our resident communities are managed in-house and on site. We take a comprehensive, responsive approach in overseeing all aspects of the buildings we own. Our thirty-year experience has shaped our approach to ownership with a focus on being creative and effective in anticipating and responding to our residents evolving needs. Universal property managers are seasoned and sensitive to the needs of our residents. Combining research, creative investment strategies, a senior management team with a proven track record, and the hard work of some of the most talented real estate professionals in the industry, Universal has the experience, skill and management resources to take advantage of real estate investment opportunities that provide quality living for our residents while reaching investor goals.
Universal currently owns and manages 1500 residential units in 7 markets throughout Greater Boston and southern New England. In addition to multi-family, Universal owns and operates a significant commercial real estate portfolio consisting of office and industrial properties.
Stuart R. Levey
President, Founder and CEO
As chief executive officer of Universal Properties and its affiliates, Stuart R. Levey directs and oversees all operations of the company and is responsible for the overall investment strategy of Universal and its affiliates.
Stuart founded Universal in response to a market driven need for price sensitive family centered residential units. Building Universal Properties from the ground up, he set its strategic priority as the acquisition of underperforming, undervalued properties that could be repositioned into quality, affordable residential units for working families the “Universal Way”— through attention to detail, smart, hands-on management, opportunistic refinancing and sale. Levey’s true strength however, rests in his relationships with people and his ability to understand what’s most important in achieving the outcomes they desire. Forming a series of partnerships and joint ventures, as principal, Mr. Levey successfully acquired, re-positioned, operated and sold over 2,000 apartment units as well as 700,000 sq. ft. of commercial space throughout the United States.
With thirty plus years of experience in real estate development, property management, bridge lending, and financing, his unparalleled business talents are demonstrated in his unique ability to predict and act on market trends and trust his instincts. With a sixth sense in forecasting and negotiations, Stuart led his team in assembling a portfolio of quality, diversified, value added properties that produce maximum long term cash flow and excellent returns for its private investors.
It’s Stuart’s “can do” attitude that is at the heart of Universal Properties. With his creative leadership and eye on the future, he’s built a company designed to last, distinguished by its integrity, resident-centered management services and record of excellent returns for its private equity investors.
Stuart lives in Brookline with his wife, Deborah. Two sons, Mitchell and Drew have joined the Universal family to create the second generation of leadership insuring its continued commitment to provide quality, high value multifamily housing and high investor returns.
Mr. Levey graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Northeastern University.
He holds real estate brokerage licenses in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and serves on the boards of directors of several New England based non-profit organizations including the Tufts-New England Medical Center.
As vice president, Mitchell ushers the second generation into the family business of real estate development and property management. Mitchell’s role within the company includes , overseeing all aspects of the day-to-day operations, monitoring property performance and all capital expenditure projects. He is also involved in all the strategic planning with emphasis on the company’s financial relationships. He helps report operational and financial data to lenders, underwrites prospective acquisitions as principals either for value added acquisitions or condo conversions.
He plays a key role in setting the company’s business plans for its properties and oversees the company’s financial planning and analysis, projects and risk management functions.
Prior to Universal, Mitchell worked two years with Boston commercial real estate brokerage firm NAI Hunneman as part of the Capital Markets Group. During his tenure at NAI, he focused on middle market real estate investment sales, encompassing all asset classes: industrial, office, retail and multi-family properties throughout Boston for individual and institutional clients. His team was responsible for generating over $100 million in real estate sales.
With an eye on diversifying Universal’s portfolio in the future, expanding its reach in the New England area, he remains committed to continuing its tradition of providing quality, value added residences for working families and insuring continued growth in the value of its assets.
Mitchell received a Bachelor’s degree from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.
Known for bringing a “big picture” perspective to his position as controller, David takes an organized approach to his oversight of the day-to-day accounting operations of Universal’s residential and commercial properties.
Joining Universal in 2009 with over 25 years in the accounting industry, he is responsible for the oversight of all accounting functions which include property and corporate level financial reporting, the development and review of annual and quarterly operating budgets and business plans, banking and cash management, contract management and implementation of management information systems that provide levers of control between the properties and corporate office. David’s business and accounting experience have shaped his philosophy as controller of always “over deliver” that has contributed to Universal’s success.
David received his Bachelor of Science degree from Worcester State College and is a Massachusetts Certified Public Accountant.
Chief Financial Officer
As Chief Financial Officer, Barbara is responsible for the financial and accounting functions of Universal Properties, including financial reporting, analysis of asset performance, and managing debt and equity capitalization.
With over two decades of management and operational experience Barbara’s expertise is in finding ways companies can retool themselves into a more efficient organization. Her choice of cutting edge accounting systems and property support management software streamlined management and reporting enhancing Universal’s ability to anticipate and respond to resident needs insuring the highest level of service and value.
Prior to joining Universal in 2008, Barbara was Managing Director of a nationally based real estate investment company. She has extensive experience originating and structuring over 30,000 multi-family apartments in 29 states, investing over $ 2.5 B of institutitional equity. Most of the equity investors utilized low income, historic and or solar energy tax credits.
Barbara received her Bachelor of Science degree from Boston University and her M.B.A. from Simmons Graduate School of Management.
Regional Property Manager
As Regional Property Manager, Gail Levey is responsible for planning, controlling and directing the day- to-day operation of Universal’s properties in the Southeast Region.
With extensive management and operations experience gathered during her tenure as Senior Manager of Boston’s historic Longfellow Place Apartments and Director of Sales at Marriot-Cambridge, Gail joined the family business in 2005 with a proven track record of success in personnel management as well as mastery of the administrative, financial and maintenance functions essential to property management. Her experience in sales and knowledge of the inner workings of rental properties made her invaluable. Universal Management became stronger.
This seasoned professional’s work is the benchmark from which Universal Property Managers performance is measured. Gail meets budget and occupancy goals, fulfills administrative requirements, manages expense controls as well as the daily direction and review of management and maintenance staff effectively and efficiently.
Finding creative solutions to problems and improving the efficiency of Universal Properties is Gail’s measure for success. She relishes the challenges that come in dealing with the ever present needs that go with managing residential properties. As she deftly negotiates the delicate balance of the needs of residents, owners and employees Gail best typifies Universal’s drive for quality and excellence.
Known for his wide-ranging skill set, Jeffrey Gerson, Esq. is a gifted attorney and business executive with over twenty-five years of demonstrated expertise in all aspects of the acquisition, financing, leasing, management and disposition of commercial and residential real estate.
Joining Universal in 2013 as In-House Counsel to Universal Management and its related entities, Jeffrey is responsible for the oversight of all legal matters including acquisition and disposition of investment properties, litigation, risk management, contract negotiations, employment issues and a wide variety of tenant concerns stemming from Universal’s apartment and commercial office holdings. Jeffrey lends his extensive legal expertise to all transactional activities, compliance and corporate governance matters. Taking a pro-active bidirectional approach to his role that links his experience in business with the practice of law, Jeffrey’s brings a unique understanding of business concerns unique to real estate.
Prior to joining Universal Jeffrey represented a wide range of real estate clients including institutional lenders and investors, developers, and real estate investment companies, providing In-house Counsel to Charles River Park Management Company and The New Boston Fund, Inc.
He received a Bachelor of Arts from Boston University and Juris Doctor from Cornell Law School. He is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association.
With a keen interest in the real estate industry, Amanda left her position with a general accounting company to join Universal Properties in 2014. Amanda has a variety of administrative roles within Universal that consist of financial data collection, entry and report generation. However, Amanda’s primary responsibilities revolve around accounting support for the Controller. She provides support in the area of financial reporting, information systems, banking, and cash management.
Loving the challenges that come in dealing with accounting tasks that arise from the development, investment and management real estate she is eager to learn the business from the inside out.
Amanda has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Accounting from Worcester State University.
As Drew began his freshman year at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business Management in 2010, he also joined Universal as an Office Assistant in its Corporate Offices. With a belief that “the best way to learn a business is from the ground up,” he worked on small property related projects where he learned rudimentary administrative skills, multiple accounting/property management software programs as well as clerical skills that support Universal’s holdings. This experience grounded him in the operational aspects of managing a real estate properties and business in its entirety. After 2 years at corporate, he left to work in the field as an Assistant Property manager to learn the logistics of direct property management and how to balance the competing needs and demands of residents, management and the business.
In 2014, Drew advanced to Property Manager and continues to focus on managing all aspects of Universal’s resident community. With an eye on the future and a particular interest in innovation, Drew is eager to move Universal forward as he looks for new technology that increases the effectiveness of property management and maximize Universal’s operating efficiencies.
Drew received his Bachelor of Science degree from Boston University, Questrom School of Business Management in 2015.
Director of Facilities Operations & Property Manager
As Director of Facilities Operations, Casey Medas has responsibility for the maintenance of all of Universal’s Massachusetts and Rhode Island residential properties including value add upgrades for apartments, common areas, and common amenities. His proactive approach in overseeing day-to-day facility operations insures tenant satisfaction and assures that Universal’s property management goals for building efficiency and safety are met.
Casey joined Universal in 1997, working from the ground up in all aspects of condo conversions, renovations, sales and management. When Universal expanded its reach into owning and managing 1500 market rate apartment properties, Casey’s experience in condo conversion proved invaluable. His solid communication and organization abilities, vocational skills and knowledge of electrical, carpentry, HVAC and construction gave Universal the immediate tools to transition to value add apartment management.
Casey has a distinctive 20-year track record of achieving excellence for Universal. His focus, commitment, attention to detail and follow-through, best typify the “Universal Way.”
Bob Merowitz has enjoyed a 44-year stellar career in real estate development, investment and management. However, moving away from the day to day responsibilities of his real estate business, he currently utilizes his talents and expertise in the non-profit arena working as a trustee at the Landmark School in Beverly which specializes in educating children with language-based learning disabilities, acting as Vice President on the Board of Directors of the American Liver Foundation which promotes liver health and disease prevention liver disease, an as an active board member of Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children. His long-term love and involvement with the Wilbur Theatre spurred his participation in the Tony Voter League of American Theatres and Producers in New York, New York.
Bob lives in Sudbury with his wife of 38 years, and has two grown children.
He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Husson College in Bangor Maine.