Sunday, May 29, 2011
The 30-Minute Interview/David Barry
By VIVIAN MARINO
Mr. Barry, 46, is the president of the Ironstate Development Company in Ho-boken, which owns and manages over 6,000 apartments and over 500,000square feet of commercial space in New Jersey. Its projects include the W Hobo-ken hotel, 225 Grand in Jersey City and the Pier Village in Long Branch.
Q How do you divide up responsibili- ties with your brother, Michael, the firm’s other principal?
We overlap a tremendous amount, butI concentrate more on the developmentside of the business — particularly find-ing the sites, the concept and the devel-opment strategy. Michael concentratesmore on the asset management and thefinancing.
Q Why the focus on rentals instead of condominiums?
I like the business model of income- producing rentals better. At certain points of time in the cycle, the marketgoes down and it’s dangerous to hold alot of condo product. With rentals, evenif you miss your projection a little bit inthat early year or two — we’re in acredit crunch or rents are down — there’s an opportunity to improve as themarket improves.And condos got into this mode of seeingwho can be more luxurious than thenext guy and put out a crazy amenitynobody ever thought of before. It be-came silly.
Q So what do renters want?
They want to be in a solid location, ina building that they can feel good about;maybe it’s got a few cool touches interms of a health club or some stores inthe bottom or a restaurant or cafe.
Q What is Ironstate’s rental occupancy rate portfoliowide?
Definitely in the high 90 percentrange. We operate primarily in NorthJersey — it’s a very strong market be-cause it’s linked to the Manhattan mar-ket. The Berkshire and 225 Grand inHoboken were both delivered in 2010,and both are leased up.
Q And rental rates?
In mid-Jersey, like the New Bruns-wick and Long Branch markets, therental rates are $27 to $29 a foot, and asyou get closer to Manhattan, like JerseyCity and Hoboken, they tend to be $34to $40 a foot.
Q Tell me about your new projects.
We have four new hotel projects onthe books: one in Harrison; a hotel inthe next phase of Pier Village in LongBranch; W Marrakesh, where we have aMoroccan partner; and we’re also in theR.F.P., or request for proposal, for Ter-minal 5 at J.F.K. Airport with AndréBalazs Properties for a hotel.We’re also working on a lot of new resi-dential projects. In Jersey City, we’regetting ready to start a project in theLiberty Harbor redevelopment area. It’skind of a sister building to 225 Grand;