And His Unique Briefcase: A Woven Guatemalan Shoulder Bag
Don’t expect Pres Kabacoff, the executive chairman of HRI Properties, a multi-faceted company with $2.5 billion worth of work in 16 states underway right now, to carry the standard leather briefcase. No indeed. Pres is a man who marches to the beat of his own drum. “My 25-year-old hand woven Guatemalan shoulder bag is an easy briefcase for me,” he says. “I can just sling it over my shoulder and be on my way.”
Not cut from the usual cookie dough of other successful businessmen, Pres is a man who climbs mountains such as Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world, with his wife Sallie Ann Glassman, the undisputed leading voodoo priestess in New Orleans. “We climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2014 and last year we hiked in Choquequiroa, Peru, known for the deepest canyon in the world,” he says.
It isn’t that Pres doesn’t have Brooks Brothers worthy suits to wear when the business situation calls for dress-up attire, but for his-day-to-day garb, he prefers gently worn, soft cotton shirts that he finds at Robyn Halvorsen’s Bargain Center second-hand store in Bywater (3200 Dauphine St.), where he and Sallie built an environmentally “green” house and developed a unique mixed use operation in an old furniture store that is called New Orleans Healing Center (2371 St. Claude Ave.), and his collection of sandals fits perfectly with his casual style.
Currently HRI Properties is completing a new mixed housing revitalization where the Iberville public housing project once existed, and its Homewood Suites hotel is well underway. “We are especially proud of the development of the work training program for former residents of the Iberville project that is part of the hotel venture,” he says. “My passion continues, as it has always been, to revitalize cities, with an ongoing interest in New Orleans, although I am proud of the broad scope of work we have across the country.”
A impressive short list of projects of completed HRI Properties in New Orleans includes: Hotels – Hyatt French Quarter, Hilton Garden Inn Convention Center and French Quarter; condominiums – Federal Fibre Mills, The Henderson; apartments – American Can Company, Blue Plate Artists Lofts, Bywater Art Lofts, Fidelity Building Gravier Place, D.H. Holmes Apartments, River Gardens Historic Apartments, Woodward Wight Apartments, Hibernia Tower, and 225 Baronne Building. Each project has improved the landscape of New Orleans. “And don’t forget our successful efforts to create affordable housing with projects such as Flint Goodridge and Mater Dolorosa apartments,” he stresses
He proudly notes that HRI Properties is enjoying a growth spurt that has grown the company to nearly 2200 employees. “The company is doing great things,” he says. “We have many new projects in the different stages of development and we feel the future is indeed bright for HRI Properties.”
Is Pres looking to conquer another mountain? “Our next trip next fall will be to visit the Tibetan Monks in the foothills of Nepal. Yes, we will do some climbing in the Mount Everest area, but we aren’t undertaking a climb to the top of the mountain,” he says.