Who We Are

Copperwood Real Estate is a family business that has owned and operated buildings in New York City for four generations. We trace our roots back to 1921, when Julius Lemle, a German immigrant, formed J. Lemle & Sons with three of his children.


Born in 1874 in the small farming village of Rulzheim, Julius Lemle left Europe for New York City in 1887. At first he sold hats in downtown Manhattan, and then tried his hand at farming in upstate New York. After living on both the Upper East and West Sides, he later became a real estate broker, dealing mainly in the sale of tenement buildings in Manhattan and The Bronx. After years of brokering deals, the small company began buying buildings in the 1930’s to operate itself, principally in the Yorkville area of Manhattan, which had a large German-American population at the time.


In 1953, Leo, Julius’s second son, struck out on his own using the family name, and slowly built the company. Operating out of a storefront office at 163 East 87th Street, Leo, his wife, Trude, and a small office staff personally managed the properties they owned, modernizing every apartment that became vacant, while maintaining each building’s classic style.


Leo’s son, Robert, grew up in the family business and became an entrepreneurial business lawyer. After a career in the cable television industry and as chairman of two non-profit organizations, he returned to his roots and took on oversight of the family’s properties. In 2013 he formed Copperwood Real Estate with his son, Zach, to continue their family’s business under a new name. Working with a professional staff, our friendly approach is a refreshing departure from the norm in New York City real estate.


We invite you to check out our apartments for rent and visit us at our leasing office, located at 317 East 84th Street, which is in close proximity to most of our properties.