Our Story
Here is how it all started.
The founder of Freshwater Investments, Alex Rozenfeld, always dreamed of starting his own business. He set out on this path by proving himself in various corporate functions after earning his MBA degree at Thunderbird Business School. He found inspiration in the stories of successful entrepreneurs and philanthropists who built schools, museums, hospitals, and more with the capital they earned. This led Alex to start his own real estate business in 2015, purchasing his first 44-unit apartment building in Arizona along with six other investors. Alex had the idea of increasing the building's value through renovations and improved management, while also enhancing the quality of life for tenants with the use of green and energy-saving technologies. The project was a success, and instead of the promised 15%, investors received 30% annual returns.
The company's name pays tribute to the history of Jewish entrepreneur and philanthropist, Osias Freshwater, who, before the Second World War, left Poland for the UK in order to obtain business visas for his family to save them from the Nazis. Sadly, this was not to be, and his wife and three children perished in the Holocaust. Far from giving up, Osias settled in the UK after the war, remarried, and founded his company, Daejan Holdings. This firm now belongs to his children and owns a number of properties in the UK and the US. After achieving business success, he donated millions to various philanthropic causes. This story impressed Alex so deeply that he chose the name Freshwater Investments for his company.

Alex was born in Ukraine and grew up in a typical, Soviet-style, 500-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment. After earning a Bachelors degree in Economics, he moved to the U.S. in search of new opportunities that could not be found in Ukraine in the 1990s. After the move, Alex rented a small studio apartment and experienced first-hand all the "joys" of rented housing and landlords who were not overly concerned with the comfort of their tenants. Once he started his business, Alex decided to prioritize his tenants' well-being, thereby combining his passion for entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
At the end of 2015, Barry Cohn joined the team as a partner, motivated by his belief in Freshwater vision and shared values. He brought to the team a wealth of experience in real estate management and development, along with his expertise as a commercial real estate broker in the U.S.

A fifth generation Bay Area resident, Barry started his career in Jewish community work, but was always drawn to real estate. In his own words, "It was the ability to see a project start and finish and thereby mark progress and make change for the community that was so attractive to me." Barry applied his community relations skills of bringing people together to the real estate world. In 1988 he started working for the brokerage firm Cushman and Wakefield.

After 10 years of transactional experience, Barry joined his brother-in-law to start a real estate development company Etz HaShaked. Since 2007, the company has built over 2,000 apartments and 500,000 sq. ft. of office space in Israel. Since Barry's role was to organize partnerships, raise funds and oversee financial management, he was able to maintain involvement in his non-profit work as well as his brokerage business. In Barry's 32+ years with Cushman and Wakefield, Barry has completed over $1.5B in 650 transactions.

As part of his involvement with the Jewish Community Federation, Barry sat on the finance committee and served as a mentor to its new members. This is where he met Alex Rozenfeld who joined the committee in 2014. Barry and Alex struck up a relationship that blossomed well beyond the Federation's finance committee. So much so that in 2015 when the two met to discuss the expansion of Freshwater Investments, they agreed to work on it together. This partnership propelled the growth of the company which now owns and manages more than 1,200 apartments in and around Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Colorado Springs, CO and Kansas City, KS.

By 2020, we already had 100 happy investors and 900 units. Two properties have been sold and another two refinanced, providing an average 22% per annum to investors. Our business model and investment strategy have clearly demonstrated their resilience in 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic. We did not lose one cent of investors' funds, nor did we evict tenants who were unable to pay rent or implement fines for payment delays.

Looking forward, we plan on broadening our operations to all areas of the U.S., expanding our team and investor base in order to continue our good work, and developing our philanthropic projects in education in the communities we invest in. We plan to further support schools, fund reading and art programs, and more.
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