Earlier this month, real estate legend Bernard “Bernie” Huberman, 65, passed away peacefully in his home. A son of Russian immigrants who grew up in Boyle Heights working at his father’s scrap metal yard, Huberman pioneered the concept of a waste transfer and recycling facility early in his career.
This was a move that transformed the industry and paved the way for the creation of BLT Enterprises in 1984. Huberman started the business driving a trash truck, and during his career developed, owned and operated large-scale transfer stations and recycling facilities throughout California, with a core focus on sustainability and recycling.
Huberman and his business partner Dan Rosenthal, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at BLT, jumped into the real estate business early in their careers. They bought their first property together in 1987, and once they got the real estate bug, they never stopped.
“Our first large-scale waste facility was in downtown Los Angeles on Washington and Alameda,” says Rosenthal. “We spent a lot of time in the area at the time and came across opportunities to acquire industrial properties that most real estate investors shied away from. After we acquired a significant number of properties, Bernie and I realized that we couldn’t run the real estate business without building a leadership team like we did in the waste business.”
Today, BLT is a multi-faceted real estate development and investment company.
“Bernie had the rare combination of business acumen, empathy and passion,” says Robert Solomon, chief development and legal officer of BLT. “His early experiences as a truck driver and operator of waste facilities gave him an insider’s knowledge into industrial real estate at a time when that product type was rarely considered attractive. Today, with the rise of e-commerce, the growing demand for logistics facilities and the supply/demand imbalance in most areas, industrial product is the most in-demand in the nation, putting BLT in a tremendously strong position.”
The company currently has more than 3 million square feet of industrial, creative office and sound stages under ownership.
“Bernie was a champion for measured strategic growth,” says Rosenthal. “That guiding principle drives everything we do at BLT, resulting in our strong financial position and reputation as a trusted buyer, seller, owner and operator.”