David Lichtenstein bought his first piece of property, a single-family house in New Jersey, for $89K, obtaining the funds largely through credit card debt. He kept buying homes, and later expanded to retail and hotels. In 2007, he put in $200M in equity and $7.4B in debt to acquire Extended Stay America. The chain later went into bankruptcy protection.
His Lightstone Group now controls assets in retail, hotel and multifamily, spread across 26 states. — Scott Klocksin