Like many of his tenants, Lukas Glockner was an immigrant who hoped to find a decent home and prosperity in America. The tenement at 97 Orchard Street fulfilled these dreams: the building provided Glockner with an ample source of income and eventually enabled him to move to a fine home on Astor Street.
When Glockner decided to build a tenement, he was taking a considerable financial risk: the tailor-turned-landlord spent roughly $8000 to complete the building. However, Glockner's gamble paid off and his initial investment blossomed into a handsome fortune. According to the 1870 census, Glockner's personal wealth stood at $1800. Moreover, he had earned enough money to buy additional property; by 1870, the value of Glockner's real estate holdings had ballooned to $45,000.
During the next fifteen years, 97 Orchard Street continued to swell Glockner's coffers. He finally sold the building in 1886, raking in $29,000 for the five-story building.
Though owning a tenement didn't always prove to be quite so lucrative, other landlords were able to parlay their buildings into tidy profits. Indeed, most tenements earned landlords about a 20 percent return on their investments.