By lara bricker
January 11, 2009 6:00 AM
When the other 8-year-old children in his neighborhood were outside playing, Elliott Berkowitz's parents found him tucked away reading.
It was not a classic children's story they found in the hands of their son outside on the porch in his Queens, N.Y., home, but rather the United Farm Agency catalogue. He was reading up on land and farms for sale.
"I was always very entrepreneurial," said the 63-year-old Exeter man who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.
He would have liked to have forged his path in adulthood in keeping with his favorite game, Monopoly, buying up land and developing it with buildings. But his parents urged their son to consider a more secure future, as a police officer, like his father who was a captain in the New York Police Department. The younger Berkowitz spent 15 years and four days working in the narcotics division of the NYPD, before he retired.
Almost 25 years later, Berkowitz had harnessed the entrepreneurial spirit from his youth to run a successful real estate development company, the Pairpoint Group, with his wife Nancy Phillips. Their offices are now based in downtown Exeter.
Since the fall of 2004, the couple has purchased three downtown Water Street properties and renovated them, which many local observers point to as breathing new life into a portion of the downtown long due for a boost. The first two buildings now house five upscale shops, tenants that were handpicked by Berkowitz.
"I think it was definitely a revitalization of that whole area," said Steve Goren, the membership director for the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce. "Just having five shops that are quality, destination-type shops; it revitalized not just that part of Water Street, but the whole downtown." CLICK HERE TO READ ENTIRE STORY