Peter Castellana III
You could say that Peter Castellana III has a long history with food. His family’s been in the industry for more than a hundred years, since starting a string of butcher shops in the early 1900s. That legacy, as well as the family’s work ethic, has been passed through the generations to Peter, who started his first company, Nutty Gifts, at just 14 years old. Nutty Gifts sold its line of dried fruits and nuts to major supermarket chains in New York City, which Peter continued to do all through high school.
After attending NYU, at just 19 years old, Peter founded a global distributor of semiconductors and computer chips for nine years, handling 140 employees in 13 countries. Almost a decade later, he left the tech world to pursue asset-based lending, which resulted in his personal investment of real estate, particularly in supermarket properties. Peter served as president of Western Beef’s Florida supermarket division and just 14 months later, became president and CEO of its parent company, Cactus Holdings.
After 10 years with Cactus Holdings, Peter decided to take the company further into the real estate direction, buying 19 properties. He handled retail supermarket chains focused on ethnic groceries, as well as their wholesale divisions, selling meats and produce to over 1,000 markets. He owned, managed, and developed some 2 million square feet and created more than a dozen food brands sold in their stores, as well as doing commercial rehabs, self-storage, mixed use, and affordable housing projects, all under the parent company. After 13 years in this position, Peter decided to strike out on his own to really follow his real estate passion. He started Cactus Asset Management, a firm with an uncommon and specific focus on acquisitions of supermarket anchored properties.
Peter’s incredible experience in food retail, including growing up watching his family operate in the industry, and in commercial real estate, has helped him target grocery-anchored real estate during the year Cactus Asset Management has been operational. Because of his exceptionally extensive background in food retail, Peter is able to make informed, intelligent decisions about which properties to become involved with. “I’m not just some guy who invests in real estate,” he explains. “Very few people focus specifically on grocery anchored real estate and there are even fewer grocery industry veterans who transition entirely into real estate.”
Cactus Asset Management buys, invests in, and develops grocery-centered real estate in the greater New York and South Florida areas in addition to all major metropolitan areas nationally. Peter has focused on the Long Island market, and owns several properties in the Hamptons as well as Montauk. Cactus Asset Management has also started a grocery-anchored investment fund, in which they purchase vacant or non-grocery properties, install supermarket operators, stabilized grocery anchored properties, and build significant ROI, thanks to Peter’s careful assessment of location and community, using the company’s and investors equity. And grocery stores, being one of the most basic necessities, always perform well, even during unstable times like pandemics. “A grocery store is the epitome of essential, and thus stable,” he says.
A native New Yorker, Peter lives in Manhattan with his family, including one-year-old son, Peter Castellana IV. He serves on the board of directors for Catholic charities in Brooklyn and Queens, and on the board of advisors for the Founders Group at Morgan Stanley.
Peter Castellana III
Founder — Cactus Asset Management