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OWNERS magazine 2012 | 1
“Rommel, you magnifcent bastard, I read
your book!” —General George S. Patton
W
hether the story is true remains unclear, but
legend has it that in a gambit that changed the
course of history, General George S. Patton
was able to get the better of his adversary
Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel during
the North Africa campaign of World War II because he had read a
tactical manual the German military strategist had written. In his
book Infanterie Greift (“Infantry Attacks”) Rommel describes his
desert warfare tactics in painstaking detail, and General Patton,
having read it, was able to predict the movements of the German
troops and gain a decisive upper hand.
While we make no claim to authoring the real estate industry’s
version of Infanterie Greift, we at The Commercial Observer strongly
believe that knowing what makes the competition tick is half the
battle. And while it’s a stretch to compare a fve-star general to real-
estate icons like Stephen Ross, the similarities are worth noting.
Between them, Manhattan’s fraternity of commercial real estate
landlords control a purported 400 million square feet of property,
employ an arsenal of thousands of employees and pay literally
billions in property taxes. It’s for those reasons and more that titans
like Mr. Ross, Marc Holliday and Donald Trump command outsize
attention from elected offcials, who look to them to feed city and
state coffers. Meanwhile, the industry’s periphery of architects, dirt
lawyers, accountants and engineers seek their business, and agencies
like the city Landmarks Preservation Commission curtail them at
every stop.
In short, anyone who crosses their path seems to want a piece of
the modern-day landlord.
It was with such large stakes in mind that The Commercial Observer
set off to chronicle the life and times, struggles and substantive issues
of Manhattan’s hundreds of commercial real estate owners, from the
property tax increases that continue to impact the bottom line to
the ballooning list of city measures proposed or enacted that makes
operating a building more challenging and costly than ever before.
Indeed, with the help of real estate services frm Cassidy Turley,
we crunched the numbers to determine just how quickly those
operating costs add up in Midtown Manhattan, while Commercial
Observer staff writer Daniel Geiger took a closer look at the city’s
mysterious tax assessment formula and how, despite no property
tax hikes in more than a decade, real estate collections continue to
skyrocket—nearly double what they were in the salad days before the
21
st
century arrived.
Meanwhile, Mortgage Observer editor Carl Gaines sat down with
the scions of some of Manhattan’s oldest real estate dynasties to
learn whether their empires were continuing to fourish or, rather,
struggling under the weight of competing real estate investment
trusts and other young upstarts. And Commercial Observer staff writer
Daniel Edward Rosen rounds out the mix with a profle of Leslie
Wohlman Himmel, a principal of Himmel + Meringoff Properties
and one of the city’s very few female landlords. Read his story to
understand why so few women compete in such a male-dominated
industry, but also see psychologist Mark Banschick’s column on what
drives men to build.
Freelance writer Ian Thomas aimed a wide lens at the real estate
landscape in general and found that, while the economy is improving,
many owners still aren’t willing to break out the champagne futes just
yet. However, in a separate feature on the city’s smaller owners—those
who own less than 1 million square feet, for example—the subjects
voice a sense of hope and promise, if also continued uncertainty
surrounding the upcoming presidential elections.
And speaking of those elections, the heart of this year’s Owners
Magazine is a feature we’ve dubbed The Owners Inquisition, a
Proust-like questionnaire submitted to the city’s biggest and boldest
commercial real estate owners covering everything from favorite
vacation getaway to election predictions.
Those questionnaires, roughly 50 accumulated over the past two
summer months, act as a who’s who of the commercial real estate
industry and, as such, a roster of Manhattan’s power elite and a
veritable feld guide for battle coming into 3Q12.
—Jotham Sederstrom,, Editor-in-Chief
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OWNERS_2012_OPERATINGCOSTS.indd 1 9/13/12 4:35:46 PM
2 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
GROW. WISELY.
EisnerAmper’s Real Estate Services Group provides a wide
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Our goal is to help our clients structure sound transactions
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Let’s get down to business.
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aaron.kaiser@eisneramper.com
NEW YORK | NEW JERSEY | PENNSYLVANIA | CALIFORNIA | CAYMAN ISLANDS
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www.eisneramper.com
Kenneth Weissenberg, CPA, J.D., LLM.
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212.891.4070
kenneth.weissenberg@eisneramper.com
Table of Contents
Fuzzy Math
BY DANIEL GEIGER
P. 16

New York City property taxes
haven’t officially risen in more
than a decade. So why have
collections doubled since 2001?
Family Ties
BY CARL GAINES
P. 10

The next generation of dynastic
commercial real estate scions is
poised to take the reins—even as youthful
new owners attempt to hold their own
As the World Turns
BY IAN THOMAS
P. 6
Leasing numbers are still far from vibrant. But as tech and
media companies infiltrate Midtown South, spillover promises
to affect every crevice of Manhattan, and, subsequently, the
building owners themselves.
Does Size
Matter?
BY IAN THOMAS
P. 20

In a real estate industry
filled with Goliaths, Davids
abound.
THE FEMININE
MYSTIQUE
BY DANIEL
EDWARD
ROSEN

P. 22

In a testosterone-
dominated
industry, Leslie
Wohlman
Himmel defies
the odds
HOME
TURF
P. 24

SMOOTH
OPERATOR
P. 26

Owners
Inquisition
P. 29
Altman...............................................30
Behler.................................................32
Cohen.................................................34
Craig..................................................36
Durst..................................................38
Elghanayan, J.....................................40
Elghanayan, T.....................................42
Fetner................................................44
Fisher................................................46
Galin..................................................48
Golub.................................................50
Gray...................................................52
Gural..................................................54
Hidary................................................58
Himmel..............................................60
Holliday.............................................62
Kenny.................................................64
Kushner..............................................66
Laboz..................................................68
Lapidus...............................................70
Levinson.............................................72
Mainetti..............................................74
Malkin.................................................76
Meringoff............................................78
Phillips................................................80
Pizer....................................................82
Rechler................................................84
Resnick................................................86
Ross.....................................................88
Roth....................................................90
Rudin, M...............................................91
Rudin, W...............................................92
Schenker.............................................93
Shah....................................................94
Silverstein..........................................95
Speyer.................................................96
Sturner...............................................97
Trump................................................98
Wacht................................................99
Zar...................................................100
Zuckerman......................................101
Why Men Build
BY MARK R.
BANSCHICK, M.D.
P. 103

If Freud is to be believed,
father knows best
OWNERS_2012_INDEX-INTRO.indd 2 9/13/12 4:27:52 PM
Untitled-9 1 9/13/12 6:26:08 PM
4 | OWNERS magazine 2012
R E A C H I N G N E W
H E I G H T S I S I N E V I T A B L E
WH E N C O N D I T I O N S
A R E E X A C T L Y R I G H T
Expert financial planning is crucial to growth.
With our vast resources, global expertise and
real estate market knowledge, the professionals
at WeiserMazars explore the many opportunities
that can dramatically impact the ROI of your
portfolio. Let us provide the professionalism,
personal service and custom solutions that
are exactly right for your business.
Please contact
Shahab Moreh
Partner-in-charge, Real Estate Services
212.375.6791 | Shahab.Moreh@WeiserMazars.com
www.WeiserMazars.com
WeiserMazars LLP is an independent member firm of Mazars Group. Exactly Right.
A C C O U N T I N G | T A X | A D V I S O R Y
016461 CommObserv_v1.indd 1 8/27/12 4:01 PM
321 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036
212.755.2400
Jotham Sederstrom
Editor-in-Chief
Daniel Geiger
Daniel Edward Rosen
Carl Gaines
Stephen Kleege
Ian Thomas
Mark R. Banschick
Contributers
Noam S. Cohen
Copy Editor
Robyn Reiss
Director of Real Estate
Ed Johnson
Production and Creative Director
Peter Lettre
Photo Editor
Christe Wright
Designer
Lisa Medchill
Advertising Production
Joel Kimmel, Jordin Isip, Jonanthan Levy
Illustration Contributors
OBSERVER MEDIA GROUP
Jared Kushner
Publisher
Christopher Barnes
President
Barry Lewis
Executive Vice President
Jamie Forrest
Associate Publisher, Senior Vice President
Michael Woodsmall
Editorial Manager
Zarah Burstein
Marketing Manager
Mark Pomerantz
Controller
Tracy Roberts
Accounts Payable Manager
Accounts Receivable
Ian McCormick
Owners Magazine
OWNERS_2012_INDEX-INTRO.indd 4 9/13/12 4:28:35 PM
Untitled-15 1 9/12/12 11:27:22 AM
6 | OWNERS magazine 2012
As the World Turns
Leasing numbers are stiLL far from vibrant. but as tech and media companies
infiLtrate midtown south, spiLLover promises to affect every crevice of
manhattan, and, subsequentLy, the buiLding owners themseLves.
BY IAN THOMAS
A
s a pair of 26-foot steel beams were
hoisted high above Manhattan on April
30, the crowd below spoke of resilience,
hope and remembrance.
one world trade center had just hit a height of 1,271 feet, making
it the city’s tallest building. port authority executive director pat
foye said in a press conference that the building will “anchor Lower
manhattan and its rebirth for many generations to come.”
but tourists and tristate residents aren’t the only ones noticing
the change in the city skyline. a number of commercial property
owners are looking to the tower and other developments as a hopeful
bellwether for the future, despite what most analysts still describe as
a stagnant market.
the numbers speak for themselves. real estate brokers leased 12.9
million square feet through July 31, 2012, a
28 percent drop from the 17.9 million square
feet inked during the same period in 2011,
according to a cbre report. vacancy sat at
7.5 percent, no change from a year earlier.
even so, there’s a big thanks to be given to
midtown south, which has ridden the tech
and media boom in the area to the lowest
vacancy rate of all u.s. central business
districts in the second quarter of 2012,
according to cbre. the vacancy rate in the
area, which spans roughly from 34th street
to canal street, was 4.8 percent through July
31, compared with 6.9 percent at the same
time last year. Leasing activity is hot too, with
3.27 million square feet leased so far in 2012,
compared with 2.99 million square feet the
previous year.
needless to say, there’s a lot riding on the 2.6
million square feet expected to be unleashed
onto the market when 1 wtc is opened in
2014 by the durst organization and the port
authority of new york and new Jersey. Larry
silerstein’s 4 world trade center, with its 1
million square feet of space, and edward minskoff’s 51 astor place,
with its 400,000 square feet, are just a few of the high-profle towers
slated for ribbon-cuttings in the next few years, as more and more
property owners are hoping their gamble on downtown manhattan
pays off.
“midtown south is a hot market for media and tech frms, with the
lowest vacancy in the country, which will lead to spillover in other
markets,” said brookfeld offce properties chief executive dennis
friedrich, who operates seven buildings with 12.8 million square
feet downtown. “given the pricing disparity that still exists between
midtown and downtown, we believe that downtown is likely to be
the greatest benefciary of this spillover effect.”
the vacancy rate in the downtown market has continued to drop
since the third quarter of 2011, when it was 9.9 percent, according to
a report from cushman & wakefeld. it currently sits at 8.9 percent.
asking rents have decreased slightly to $40.06 per square foot from
$40.18 per square foot last quarter, according to the report, and the
infux of even more space may push tenants farther downtown.
“historically, midtown was the location that companies focked to for
affordable rent following a recession, but that’s not the case this time,”
said Ken mccarthy, senior economist and senior managing director
at cushman & wakefeld, in a recent market report. “instead, we’ve
seen companies look for space in the midtown south submarket, and
it’s so tight there that tenants are looking at neighboring downtown
and lower midtown, such as the garment district.”
no company fts that description better than media conglomerate
condé nast, which will leave its times square
digs behind for 1 million square feet as the
anchor tenant in 1 wtc in 2015. marketing
and advertising research company nielsen
is also in talks to lease 160,000 square feet
in metLife’s 85 broad street tower, moving
away from its vornado realty trust-owned
building at 770 broadway, according to the
wall street Journal.
“tenants are going farther afeld to satisfy
their space requirements,” said steven
durels, director of leasing and real property
at sL green, during a July 27 conference call.
“that may mean a tenant who is on fifth
avenue, who you normally thought was going
to stay in another two- or three-block radius
of the current space, is now opening it up and
saying, ‘i’ll go to midtown south because i
just like the lifestyle,’ or ‘i’ll go farther west
because i’m chasing a lower rate.’”
but perhaps the two factors that will
dictate where big tenants will decide to
locate themselves will hinge on this: asking
rents in midtown are up more than four
dollars compared with last year, $64.46 per square foot in July 2012
compared with $60.18 per square foot in July 2011, despite the fact
that the vacancy rate actually increased 0.5 percentage points, from
7.7 percent to 8.2 percent, according to data from cbre.
the other key: midtown south only has seven available blocks of
space greater than 100,000 square feet, down by more than half since
2009, according to cushman & wakefeld.
“the thing that downtown can do that midtown can’t, is that
the downtown market can lease very large blocks of space and
“Tenants are going farther
afeld to satisfy their space
requirements. That may
mean a tenant who is on Fifth
Avenue, who you normally
thought was going to stay in
another two- or three-block
radius of the current space,
is now opening it up and
saying, ‘I’ll go to Midtown
South because I just like the
lifestyle.”
OWNERS_2012_THOMAS_OVERVIEW.indd 6 9/13/12 3:59:39 PM
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1ABSRE116_Owners Magazine.indd 1 8/22/12 2:58 PM
Untitled-15 1 8/29/12 2:25:14 PM
8 | OWNERS magazine 2012
accommodate that size,” said Andrew Levin, senior vice president
of leasing at Boston Properties, which operates eight properties in
Manhattan totalling more than 8.6 million square feet.
Still, Mr. Levin said, the draw for companies to move into Midtown
has not declined, and leasing velocity and pricing are both stable in
the neighborhood.
“Midtown Manhattan for Class A offce space is a fxed-supply
market,” he said. “If we’re at stable levels, then we’re doing well.”
Boston Properties is set to boost that market when it opens the
1.1-million-square-foot tower known as 250 West 55th Street in 2014.
Law frm Morrison Foerster has signed up for space at the building,
and reportedly law frm Kaye Scholar will take space there as well.
“Every 10 to 15 years, the market needs that introduction of new
stock, of new property for companies to move and expand into,” said
Dave Cheikin, vice president of leasing at Brookfeld Properties. “The
beneft of the New York City economy is that it’s diversifed enough
that if it fips around, it can still be steady.”
Another steady aspect for the real estate market has been
concessions, with most property owners seeing little change.
“Concessions have been pretty fat,” Boston Properties’ Levin said
of the Midtown market, mentioning that there’s typically been 6 to 10
months of free rent, and TIs between $50 and $60 per square foot.
“It really depends on the size of the tenant you’re talking about,”
said Mr. Durels. “If it’s a small tenant, call it 10,000 square feet or less,
you’ve got to deliver the space built, which is why you’re not seeing us
stop the pre-build program.”
Perhaps one of the most important changes on the horizon has to
do with the upcoming presidential election, as some owners suggested
that policy changes and a more optimistic view of the world economy
could boost leasing activity.
“It feels like tenants are hesitant to make long-term lease
commitments until there is more clarity about the future,” said
Nicholas C. Bienstock, managing partner of Savanna. “The
uncertainties about the upcoming federal election, how government
regulation will affect fnancial institutions and their business models,
the continued deterioration in Europe and potential slowdown in
Asia make it diffcult for companies to feel optimistic about growth.”
For a lot of potential tenants, the leasing environment right now is
at a stable place that could set up 2013 quite well.
“I think a lot of people are getting their thoughts together for
the end of 2013,” said Fred Posniak, senior vice president at W&H
Properties, which operates a portfolio that includes the Empire State
Building and 1 Grand Central Place. “Summer is often a planning
stage,” he said, adding that while leasing has been slow, his company
has had a very busy summer in terms of touring, which gives him
hope for the rest of the year.
“You’re seeing a broader geographic search by a lot of tenants, and
that’s what’s adding a different twist to the competitive landscapes,”
Mr. Durels said.
Whether the favored landscape in 2013 turns out to be Downtown,
the West Side, Midtown South or other perennial favorites, the
only thing certain is that every property owner will be looking up,
looking for the next glimpse of hope for the future of commercial
real estate.
OM
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
8000
Boston Properties, $3,983.2 million
Meraas Capital, $3,949.0 million
Goldman Sachs, $3,949.0 million
Paramount Group, $1,522.7 million
Allianz, $1,460.0 million
Carlyle Group, $937.3 million
Shorenstein Properties, $924.0 million
Abu Dhabi Invt Authority, $799.2 million
Kuwait Investment Authority, $705.0 million
Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp, $680.0 million
Macklowe Properties, $6,392.0 million
Prudential RE Investors, $928.7 million
Sorgente SGR, $799.2 million
Hiro Real Estate Co. $680.0 million
Caisse de Depot, $310.0 million
SL Green, $310.0 million
McSam Hotel Group, $280.3 million
JD Carlisle Development Corp., $275.0 million
DLJ RE Capital Partners, $275.0 million
Kushner Companies, $257.3 million
top 10 most active BUyers dUring recession
(dec. 2007-jUne 2009)
top 10 most active sellers dUring recession
(dec. 2007-jUne 2009)
OWNERS_2012_THOMAS_OVERVIEW.indd 8 9/13/12 4:00:03 PM
OFFICE LEASING
David Cheikin
212.417.7102 | david.cheikin@brookfield.com
RETAIL LEASING
Edward Hogan
212. 417.7062 | edward.hogan@brookfield.com
REDEFINING
LOWER MANHATTAN
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Untitled-18 1 9/10/12 9:17:35 AM
10 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
Family Ties
THE NEXT GENERATION OF DYNASTIC COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE SCIONS IS POISED TO
TAKE THE REINS—EVEN AS YOUTHFUL NEW OWNERS ATTEMPT TO HOLD THEIR OWN
BY CARL GAINES
O
n a recent late-summer conference
call, William Rudin, Michael Rudin
and Samantha Rudin Earls—three
members of one of New York City’s most
venerable commercial real estate families—
were engaged in a bit of dactylonomy.
The three weren’t trying to come up with the number of buildings
currently in the family’s commercial and residential portfolio, but
rather were adding up the number of family members currently
working at the company.
“That’s two, four ...” Some names were mumbled. After a little
back and forth, they settled on nine.
In a city known for the prominence of a handful of families in
commercial real estate, single names like Rudin, Durst, Rose, Muss
and LeFrak have come to symbolize the industry. These families
have survived the worst economic catastrophe since the Great
Depression while witnessing, along with the rest of us, the rise of
real estate investment trusts, the top three of which now have a
combined New York portfolio of roughly 67.6 million square feet.
In a era when the word ‘dynasty’ is often overused and left to trail
behind words like—let’s face it—‘sports’ or ‘Kardashian,’ it finds
true meaning when one surveys these biggest families in New York
commercial real estate. Many of them, after all, are generations
old and still control vast portfolios of properties while wielding the
type of power that only comes with reputation and recognition.
They’re also doing something else quite extraordinary, given the
times: they’re building. This past spring, Richard LeFrak and P
H
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:

S
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(Top left) Sam Lefrak, Governor George Pataki, Ambassador
Charles Gargano, Richard Lefra; (Top Right) Larry Silverstein,
Burt Resnick; (Bottom left) Bernard Mendik, Harry Helmsley;
(Bottom right) Lew Rudin, Bill Rudin, Jack Rudin.

OWNERS_2012_Gaines_DYNASTY.indd 10 9/13/12 3:43:23 PM
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Advised Toll Brothers City Living in their joint venture with Starwood Capital
to transform Brooklyn Bridge Park’s pier one site into a vibrant mixed-use
community with a 200-room hotel and 159 waterfront residences.
The Woolworth Building
Advised the joint venture owners of the Woolworth Building in the
conversion of the top 30 floors to a residential condominium unit, and the
$68 million sale of the unit to Alchemy Properties.
Union Square Hotel Acquisition
Represented Hersha Hospitality Trust in its $104 million acquisition of the
178-room Hyatt Union Square Hotel.
Empire State Building Mortgage Financing
Advised Malkin Holdings, ownership supervisor of the Empire State Building,
in connection with a significant mortgage financing for the building.
Starrett-Lehigh Building
Advising RXR Realty in office and retail leasing at the 2.3 million square-foot
Starrett-Lehigh building, one of Manhattan's ten largest office buildings.
Landmarked Manhattan Building
Helped one of the nation’s largest banks successfully navigate their
branding plan for a landmarked Manhattan building through approvals by
the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Domino Sugar Complex
Advised Community Preservation Corporation in the acquisition, financing,
development and rezoning of the 11.5-acre waterfront complex in
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, formerly home to Domino Sugar.
The High Line
Representing Sherwood Equities in the acquisition, financing and
development of several West Chelsea sites near the High Line Park, including
508 West 20th Street and 360 Tenth Avenue.
Acquisitions & Sales
Cooperatives, Condominiums
& Community Associations
Development & Construction
Government Relations
Joint Ventures – Public and Private
Land Use & Environmental
Leasing
Loan Workouts, Restructuring
& Foreclosures
Real Estate Finance
Real Estate Litigation
www.herrick.com

A real estate powerhouse

– Crain’s New York Business

One of the biggest practices
in the city

– The Real Deal


%SRIWXSTWLSTJSVVIEPIWXEXIQEXXIVWÁPPIH
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– Chambers USA Guide to Leading Lawyers
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Untitled-8 1 9/12/12 9:46:27 AM
12 | OWNERS magazine 2012
his sons spoke to The New York Times about their 600-acre mixed-
use Jersey City development called Newport, which had entered
its fnal phase. And, according to a spokesman, excavation work is
underway on the site for Durst Fetner’s multifamily tower on West
57th Street and the West Side Highway.
New York real estate is a tough business to break into, and the
next generation of these families’ commercial real estate elites is
poised to take the reins, even as some young upstarts—undeterred
by a family background that doesn’t include vast real estate
holdings—look to make their mark.
One member of that next generation, Ms. Rudin Earls—vice
president at Rudin Management and great-granddaughter of
Sam Rudin, who founded Rudin Management Co. along with his
brothers—was almost bound for a different stage.
“I studied theater at Tisch at NYU for four years, and guess I
didn’t have enough courage, really, to go out on auditions,” Ms. Rudin
Earls explained while on the call with her father and brother.
The next-next generation of Rudins was on the call as well—Ms.
Rudin Earls’s newborn daughter. She didn’t have much to add, but her
presence on a call about the family business wasn’t out of the ordinary
in the context of how talent is cultivated at Rudin Management.
“I would go to meetings, because our father would always
invite us to meetings, even before I started working,” Ms. Rudin
Earls remembered. “In 2007 I started to work full time and then
one day realized, as I was walking though the lobby of our offce
building—345 Park—that it just felt like home to me, and I’ve never
really looked back.”
Ms. Rudin Earls said that, though she still loves the theater, she
was drawn in by the appeal of working for her family, whose New
York offce holdings alone are sizeable.
For Samantha’s brother Michael, an associate at Rudin
Management, a desire to learn about the family business was
solidifed during the dark days following September 11, 2001.
Hard times for all, they were made even darker by the death of his
grandfather, Lewis Rudin, then head of the family dynasty, a little
over a week later.
“I took a semester off of high school after our grandfather passed
away,” he said. “I basically shadowed my father for about six months
to really learn exactly what it was that our family did in real estate.”
He was 16 at the time, and said that it was the frst time that he
could really grasp what the family did, at least in any signifcant
way. Bill Rudin later pointed out that the idea for the time off was
his wife Ophelia’s.
Regardless, after a little in-depth exposure, Michael said he
knew the real estate business was for him.
Both siblings said there was no pressure to join the business—they
came to it on their own, though both were immersed in it growing
up. Steve Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York,
which will soon see another member of this new generation ascend
to its chairman spot, said that this immersion is a key factor.
“For those who have grown up observing the business and
experiencing it daily, the vision is innate, and it’s exciting to see what
each subsequent generation will do to build upon the legacy that has
been left to them,” Mr. Spinola said. “As we welcome our soon-to-be-
chairman, Rob Speyer, who will be the youngest and also the frst
third-generation [member] of the same family to hold the title, it is
clear that the younger generations of real estate families continue
the tradition of a deep understanding and commitment to our city.”
1896
The Real Estate
Board of New York
forms with 27
members
1890
1901
The LeFrak
Organization formed
1902
Rudin Management
formed
1906
Muss Development
formed
1909
The Kaufman
Organization formed
1915
The Durst
Organization formed
1919
George Comfort &
Sons formed
1923
Brookfeld formed in
Montreal
1926
Ackman-Zif formed
1928
Rose Associates
formed
1928
Jack Resnick & Sons
formed
1929
Stock market
crashes
1934
Malkin Properties
formed
1943
Mayor LaGuardia
proposes to
establish fashion
district
1946
REBNY celebrates
50th anniversary
OWNERS_2012_Gaines_DYNASTY.indd 12 9/13/12 3:43:35 PM
OWNERS magazine 2012 | 13
Jason Muss, a principal at Muss Development and great-
grandson of Isaac Muss, the frm’s founder, said that New York real
estate is exciting because of its scale. For him, growing up within
the business sparked an interest, but he’s quick to point out that
getting into real estate without the family name “just would have
been a different process.”
Isaac Muss founded Muss Development, the company Jason
now leads with his father, Joshua, in 1906. Over the years, the
company has owned, developed and managed about 15 million
square feet of commercial real estate throughout the fve boroughs
and Long Island. Among its current roster of projects are the
1.5-million-square-foot, mixed-use Brooklyn Renaissance Plaza
and New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, the conversion
of 36,000-square-feet at 345 Adams from offce to retail and the
Oceana Condominium & Club—15 buildings and 1.2 million square
feet on the ocean in Brighton Beach.
Like others in the real estate families’ younger generation, he said
he was genuinely interested in the feld and didn’t feel pressured by
family members.
“I thought I was going to be a baseball player when I was about
10,” Mr. Muss said, laughing. “Besides that, listen, I went to law
school probably thinking that it was going to be more like business
school than law school. I didn’t intend to practice, but it’s a very
helpful thing for the real estate world. So I never really thought
about doing anything else.”
He’s been working for the family business since he graduated
from NYU School of Law in 1996.
But in addition to being realistic about the doors that being a
Muss opened—“It puts you on a faster track, maybe”—he also
insists that it isn’t a requirement, and that those open doors come
with not a small amount of responsibility.
“It’s something that you have to constantly think about and make
sure that you’re living up to past generations—that you’re doing
things the right way,” he cautioned. “People know that behind the
name there’s a certain reputation, which we’re very fortunate to
have, in terms of integrity and the way that we do business. All of
us here beneft from that and make sure not to screw it up. That’s
job one: Don’t screw up the reputation.”
F
or every real estate dynasty looking to preserve a reputation,
however, there are dozens of young upstarts busily building
theirs. They’re also busy building something else that
dynasties generally have in abundance—capital.
“If you’re speaking to real estate families—third- or fourth-
generation guys—they’re focused on preserving wealth,” said
Gregory Jones, who along with his brother Graham started GRJ—a
fund that has been buying multifamily properties in Manhattan,
starting with the purchase of 227 East 89th Street in November
2011.
They’re good-looking and well-dressed and look more upstairs
than downstairs, more Bridgehampton than bridge-and-tunnel.
But the New Jersey brothers said they weren’t funded by anyone.
“Graham and I used our own savings,” Gregory Jones said of how
they got their start. “We were not funded by anyone, we were not
fnanced by anyone, we didn’t have any investors ...”
Before buying 227 East 89th Street, they had deposits on several
buildings, only to have the deals fall through. It was a hair-raising
process, one that involved putting large amounts of their
2012
Circa 1950s
Fisher Brothers
formed
Circa 1950s
Cohen Brothers
Realty formed
1954
Harry B. Helmsley
takes over as
REBNY Rent Control
Committee Chair
1957
Silverstein
Properties launches
1958
Newmark Holdings
formed
Circa 1960s
Macklowe
Properties formed
1968
Paramount Group
formed
1969
Biggest housing
boom in NYC begins
1970
Mortimer
Zuckerman and
Edward Linde form
Boston Properties
Circa 1970s
Winoker Realty
formed
1973
52 structures
totaling 53.5 million
square feet added to
skyline
1978
Tishman Speyer
Properties formed
Circa 1980s
Real estate market
soars
1980
Stephen L. Green
forms SL Green
Properties
1982
Two Guys formed. It
would later become
Vornado Realty Trust
1983
Jamestown
Properties formed
1985
Blackstone Group
formed
1985
Himmel & Meringof
formed
1987
Stock market meltdown
1996
Conde Nast signs
large lease at Four
Times Square
1996
REBNY celebrates
100th anniversary
1997
SL Green goes
public
1997
Boston Properties
goes public
2000
L&L Holding
Company formed
2010
Forest City Ratner
breaks ground
at site of future
Brooklyn Nets
home
OWNERS_2012_Gaines_DYNASTY.indd 13 9/13/12 3:43:47 PM
14 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
personal savings down—Graham’s earned while working at a real
estate private equity firm and Gregory’s from banking.
It also involved a great deal of savvy and ingenuity in finding
buildings to target in the first place.
“Nobody knew that 227 East 89th Street was for sale,” Graham
said. “You can’t buy anything that Massey Knakal is sending out to
you. You’ve got to bring some type of value to what you’re doing.”
Following 227 East 89th Street, a five-story walk-up between
Second and Third Avenues, the brothers bought three multifamily
buildings at 50-58 East Third Street, bringing their total portfolio
of buildings to four. They said that they anticipate making an
additional purchase before the year is out, proving that the
toughest part about breaking into the business may simply be
gaining traction and momentum.
Part of the whole process of breaking in has to involve finding
ways to compete with the dynasties, or at least circumvent them.
So in addition to finding smaller deals like 227 East 89th Street that
aren’t actively being marketed, the brothers also compete, they
said, by sticking their necks out further.
“Honestly, we spend a good amount of our time cold-calling owners
and trying to get them to sell us their buildings,” Gregory said.
“We take a lot of risks that other people aren’t willing to take,
because at the end of the day we really don’t have any option,”
added Graham. “It’s not like throwing darts at the dartboard, but
we’re willing to make bets that other people might not be willing
to make.”
S
amantha Rudin Earls and her brother Michael currently help
run Rudin Management with those numerous relatives they
counted off—including their uncle Jack, who is chairman,
and their cousin Eric, who is vice chairman and president.
The siblings both worked on the recently 100-percent-sold 130
West 12th Street—the family’s condominium development, which
was marketed by Stribling Marketing Associates.
“I actually just had a baby, and the day my baby was born we had
our first closing, and it felt like that was sort of my first baby,” Ms.
Rudin Earls said. “It was such an amazing experience working with
the architect and the marketing team, Stribling, and our family and
the designers from Jed Johnson—Arthur Dunnam and Heather
Moore.”
Michael, who stayed out in Colorado after graduating from the
University of Colorado at Boulder, moved to Aspen to pursue real
estate opportunities of his own and “to get my feet wet a little bit,”
as he describes it. He subsequently bought a commercial building
there that is currently being redeveloped.
“But when I started working for the family full time about three
years ago, [that] was right around the time that we started working
on 130 West 12th Street,” he said, adding that the Saint Vincent
project has also been “pretty amazing to work on,” for the vantage
it has provided on the different stages of development.
With their different educational backgrounds—Michael studied
urban planning—the siblings bring different eyes to challenges
facing commercial real estate in New York today, like sustainability
and marketing. William Rudin said that it was crucial to pay close
attention to ideas coming not only from his children, but from the
other young people who work for the company.
“There’s no question about it,” he said. “And I think Eric and my
sister Beth and my other cousins—for us, we get in a room and have
discussions, and everybody puts their ideas on the table and vets them.”
He credits Michael with adding to the company’s knowledge
base in sustainability and Samantha with design and marketing
touches—like using pieces from her Aunt Beth Rudin DeWoody’s
internationally renowned art collection to stage apartments at 310
West 12th Street. People came for the art and ended up buying.
“That’s thinking outside the box and connecting the family into the
whole process,” William Rudin said.
And what about that youngest Rudin on the call? Are family
members already scoping out a career in commercial real estate
for her? “She’s going to be a fashion model,” Samantha said of her
daughter. “When you got it, you got it.”
OM
cgaines@observer.com P
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(Left) Charles Benenson; (Right) Harry
Helmsley, Irving Schneider.
OWNERS_2012_Gaines_DYNASTY.indd 14 9/13/12 3:43:58 PM
www.paramount-group.com
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Commercial Observer 7.875x9.75 V2_Paramount 8/20/12 5:21 PM Page 1
Untitled-11 1 9/12/12 10:28:48 AM
16 | OWNERS magazine 2012
Fuzzy Math
New York CitY propertY taxes haveN’t offiCiallY riseN iN more
thaN a deCade. so whY have ColleCtioNs doubled siNCe 2001?
By Daniel GeiGer
A
few years ago, a city Department of
Finance official noticed irregularities
in the way certain residential properties
had been appraised by the agency, leading to
slightly lower-than-normal valuations.
to compensate, the offcial suggested the department decrease
its assessments across the board for the group, which mostly
comprised single-family homes and small co-op buildings in an
area of one of the boroughs.
dropping the valuations slightly below usual thresholds would
reduce the taxes the city could collect, but only by a few percentage
points—a seemingly harmless amount in the face of the billions of
dollars the agency assesses—and it would allow the department to
restore uniformity and equanimity to its calculations, one of the
mandates of its process.
what appeared to be an innocuous adjustment, however,
garnered a backlash that was swift and forceful. top offcials at
the department were summoned to mayor bloomberg’s upper
east side townhouse. there they were confronted by the mayor
and irate senior executives from the city’s budget offce, the person
said. though the theme of the meeting was ostensibly to discuss
the irregularities and why the department had chosen lower
assessments, the underlying message was clear: don’t trife with the
city’s revenue.
“i feel like we got taken out to the backyard to get whipped,” the
source said, requesting anonymity because of the sensitive nature
of the meeting.
the episode would seem to lend credence to a complaint that
real estate industry executives and advocates have voiced for years.
though the city has not raised real estate tax rates in a decade,
these people say it has used a complex appraisal process to arrive
at values that essentially accomplish the same thing, albeit far
more conveniently, because it allows elected offcials to avoid the
political repercussions of lifting the tax rate.
indeed, total collections on commercial buildings have jumped
from about $3.8 billion in 2001 to nearly double that today.
few industry observers would disagree that commercial and
residential property has appreciated dramatically in that time. but
the fact that property taxes never fagged, even in the aftermath
of a serious recession, is evidence, analysts insist, that the city has
come to treat real estate as a golden goose for revenue.
“we had four years of falling prices, but real estate tax collections
never fell,” said robert knakal, a chairman at the real estate
brokerage and services company massey knakal, said. “how does
that even work?”
when mr. knakal launched his real estate career in the 1980s,
the city used a different method of calculating real estate values
that was more closely tied to sale prices. the formula was altered in
the early 1990s, he said, a conspicuous juncture for those who feel
the city has been leaning too heavily on the industry for revenue,
because that was when the recession of that period began pulling
values down.
“values started to drop, and then suddenly the old appraisal
system wasn’t good anymore and the city abandoned it,” mr. knakal
said, suggesting the city had adopted a newer methodology during
that period in order to raise collections from the industry.
to calculate an assessment for an offce building, the city frst
determines its income, which owners are required to report every
september, then plugs that number into a rate of return for the
property and deduces the value. detaching the process from
the value of a building as determined by its sale, or the sale of
a comparable asset, is not a decision landlords argue with, even
though a sale-price-based method would clearly have brought
taxes down during the recession when landlords were looking
for breaks. property values during that period plummeted by
40 percent. the fip side of such a system, however, would mean
that, as property sale prices have shot up during times of frenzied
buying, landlords across the city would have had to suffer the
consequences on their tax bills. M
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OWNERS_2012_GEIGER_PropertyTax.indd 16 9/13/12 3:41:31 PM
Untitled-2 1 9/11/12 2:10:48 PM
18 | OWNERS magazine 2012
“You could have an owner coming in from some far-off place and
he just wants to plant his money in a safe haven, and he’s willing to
pay a very high price and accept a 2 percent cap rate, but that’s not
the value I or another investor might pay,” landlord and developer
Edward Minskoff said.
W
hile owners generally agree with the rationale of
an income-based approach, many criticize certain
assumptions the city makes in its process. For instance,
city appraisers factor in both market vacancy rates and rents when
determining the value of an owner’s empty space, assumptions
that often sway value higher. So if a Midtown building has, say, a
20 percent vacancy rate, the Department of Finance would blend
that with the neighborhood’s overall vacancy, which is currently
around 10 percent, and arrive at a 15 percent estimate. Average
rents would be used to then determine income from that phantom
occupancy.
The valuation process gets more complicated in determining the
cap rate for the property, the return a building earns. To calculate
this fgure, the city weighs a number of factors, including the debt
a building may carry, which it constructs from prevailing market
lending rates and leverage levels—debt
that may or may not correlate with the
actual fnancing on a property. Some
landlords say the city has been quick
to adopt lower cap rates, which infate
values, as the sales market in Manhattan
swiftly recovered in the aftermath of the
recession.
“The assessments are a snapshot of cash
fow right now, but it often fails to weigh the
real fnancial conditions of the building,”
said Michael Lippman, an attorney
with the frm Sherman & Gordon who
represents major landlords in contesting
their property values with the city.
“I think the city makes an effort to
get it right,” he added. “It’s a complex
process.”
The result has been that property
taxes for commercial buildings have
risen steadily. Data released by the city and an individual analysis
of the tax bills for several major offce buildings show that
assessments have grown since at least the mid 1990s. During the
last 10 years, total collections for commercial properties in the
city doubled from $3.87 billion in 2001 to $7.67 billion this year,
even though the period includes two recessions.
To those who balk at the level of taxes the city levies from the
real estate sector, the numbers indicate a system designed to
capture steady gains but cede few, if any, declines.
Others, of course, disagree.
Allan Schwartz, a real estate tax attorney, says the steady or
rising building assessments of recent years is due to the fact that
real estate income is typically locked in through long-term leases
that are not impacted by rocky economic times.
“It’s a common-sense question: how is it possible from 2007 to
now, a few years after we have suffered a recession, for building
values not to have gone down?” Mr. Schwartz said. “It’s because
buildings’ incomes haven’t necessary suffered. And the city is
using that income to calculate the values.”
But Mr. Schwartz also said that tax gains have begun to consume
an unprecedented portion of the income landlords generate from
rents, a sign that tax growth has outpaced infation and other
reasonable measures of growth.
“The taxes are approaching 24, 25, 27 percent of the rents
commercial landlords collect,” Mr. Schwartz said. Numerous
sources familiar with taxes in other major cities in the U.S. say that
New York City’s tax burden is far higher than in other markets.
The situation doesn’t just put a strain on owners but also on
tenants, affecting the economic fabric of the entire city, landlords
say. That’s because most leases in the city are structured to pass tax
increases on to the tenants in a building during their occupancy.
The costs make it more diffcult for companies to afford to operate
in a city that is already expensive, landlords say.
“It would defnitely incentivize more and more companies to
want to be in the city if taxes went down or stopped rising,” Mr.
Minskoff said. “It would be very positive because, by lowering
taxes, the city could actually increase its tax base, because more
tenants would want to be here.”
Mr. Minskoff, who is in the process of building a 400,000-square-
foot offce property at 51 Astor Place, said taxes have been
an especially big hurdle for new
development in the city, construction
that is widely seen as necessary to keep
Manhattan’s offce stock competitive
with other global cities. Landlords
already have to charge premium rents to
justify the cost of these developments,
Mr. Minskoff explained, and the tax
payments that get layered on top of
the base rents make committing to
such projects an even more expensive
proposition for tenants.
The Real Estate Board of New York, the
city’s largest and most powerful real estate
industry and lobbying group, has stepped
up efforts to intervene on the issue in
the hope of staving off further increases.
Mary Ann Tighe, chairwoman of the trade
association, told The Commercial Observer
that taxes would be a leading issue for
the incoming REBNY chairman, Robert Speyer, a top executive at
the investment company Tishman Speyer, when he succeeds her in
January of next year.
“[It’s a] huge issue,” she wrote in an email.
Surprisingly, some real estate executives interviewed were
either resigned to or even supportive of the city’s collection
efforts toward the industry.
“No one complains when they’re buying or selling properties at
$1,000 or $1,500 a foot that in 2005 and 2006 they were paying
$700 or $800 [for],” said Norman Sturner, chief executive of
the real estate investment frm Murray Hill Properties. “No one
complains that the city has 4 million vistors a month, which is
making the retail, hotels and everything else do incredibly well.
[And] no one complains that since 9/11 we have been safe.”
“All of these things cost money, and where does it come from?”
he added. “I will not complain about a rise in taxes that are being
spent properly, and it seems that they have.”
dgeiger@observer.com
“We had four years of falling
prices, but real estate tax
collections never fell,” said
Robert Knakal, a chairman at
the real estate brokerage and
services company Massey
Knakal, said. “How does that
even work?”
OM
OWNERS_2012_GEIGER_PropertyTax.indd 18 9/13/12 3:41:46 PM
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Untitled-27 1 9/13/12 12:41:31 PM
20 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
Does Size Matter?
IN A REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY FILLED WITH GOLIATHS, DAVIDS ABOUND.
BY IAN THOMAS | ILLUSTRATION BY ED JOHNSON
O
n a balmy July afternoon, a few members of
SL Green’s management staff pushed their
way through the revolving doors of 711
Third Avenue, the company’s 500,000-square-foot,
20-floor tower between 44th and 45th Streets.
They passed through the gallery-style lobby, framed by both Greek
Thassos white and De Savoi grey-blue marble, carrying a few boxes.
An original Hans Hoffman mosaic mural, designed in 1956, adorned
the hallway farther down.
They sliced open the boxes and put on green aprons emblazoned
with the firm’s stylized logo—and so the ice cream party for the
building’s tenants began.
In a market full of haves and have-nots, there are benefits to being
the biggest fish in the pond.
SL Green, with more than 24 million square feet of Manhattan
office space, is the whale shark of the market, commandeering world-
class buildings with more features than a CLS-class Mercedes, and
offering clients a whole lot more than Italian ices and chipwiches
on a hot day.
But in the sea of buildings across the city, there are plenty of fish
awaiting their day to become the predator, and most possess game
plans similar to the big guys’.
“We try to buy very well located buildings, and our management
strategy is to be very hands-on,” said Kenneth Aschendorf, a principal
at APF Properties who oversees the company’s New York portfolio.
APF Properties’ buildings include 28 West 44th Street, a
370,000-square-foot asset the company purchased from SL Green in
a joint venture with Prudential Real Estate Investors for $161 million
in 2011, and 24 West 57th Street, a 110,000-square-foot building in
the Plaza district.
“It would be a lot less expensive to outsource the management,
but we are very mindful of our tenants’ complaints and experiences,”
said Mr. Aschendorf.
APF went a step further to make sure the company was aware of
its customer concerns at that building: it became a tenant itself. It
leased 5,000 square feet for 10 years on the seventh floor of what
is now called the Club Row Building after nearby collegiate clubs
Harvard, Cornell, Princeton and Penn.
“We’re going to be renovating all of the common areas, as well
as the elevator cabs, bathrooms and windows,” Aschendorf told The
Commercial Observer when the move was announced in June 2011.
While the issues the commercial real estate market currently faces
affect all property holders, no matter their size, some smaller owners
shared a sense of optimism about the varied types of businesses
hoping to call the city home.
“New York City has shown some remarkable strengths, which
we see reflected in leasing across our portfolio and tenant base,
including growth in technology, new media, education, health care
and professional services firms,” said Nicholas Bienstock, managing
partner of Savanna, which operates 3.4 million square feet of space
across Manhattan, including 100 Wall Street and the landmarked
104 West 40th Street.
The company has been bolstered in recent months by a flurry of
OWNERS_2012_THOMAS_SmallOwners.indd 20 9/13/12 4:00:35 PM
OWNERS magazine 2012 | 21
top 10 most active BUyers
jUly 2011- jUly 2012 (in millions)
top 10 most active sellers
jUly 2011- jUly 2012 (in millions)
leasing deals as well as by
the purchase of 576 Fifth
Avenue, a 72,000-square-
foot offce building, after it
took the property’s defaulted
frst mortgage in February
2011, as reported in The
Commercial Observer.
“The small tenant
market that we cater to
remains fairly active, and
by providing good value to
those tenants, we continue
to sign leases at a decent
pace,” Mr. Bienstock said.
Small tenants have been
strong in a stagnant market
and, as a result, so have the
rental market and asking
rents for owners.
“Rents in Lower Manhattan for the smaller deals, those under
16,000 square feet, have frmed up and, in some circumstances,
have moved up slightly,” said Kent Swig, president of Swig Equities.
“I would attribute this to the more diversifed tenant base, growth
in the creative industries and from more tenants looking to move
Downtown.”
Swig, which operates 1.3 million square feet in Manhattan, mostly
in the Financial District at buildings like the 900,000-square-foot 100
William Street, which the company signed a $161.5 million loan to
refnance and is now 97 percent leased .
“Complementarily to rents increasing, there has been a
corresponding slight fnancial improvement for owners, resulting
from reduced amounts of free rent and work allowances needed to
complete lease transactions,” said Mr. Swig.
In addition, investment in property in Manhattan and the city as
a whole hasn’t been as badly affected by the global recession, said
Savanna’s Mr. Bienstock.
“If you are an international investor who wants to invest in the
United States, you want to invest in two to three gateway cities, led
by New York, so New York will beneft disproportionately from that
capital fow and investment,” he said.
But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what type of tile your
building is foored in, how much ice cream you give away or how
many buildings you own; the success of a commercial property owner
comes down to one important detail.
“It’s not rocket science: it’s 100 percent customer service,” said Fred
Posniak, senior vice president at W&H Properties, which operates
the one of the city’s most recognizable buildings, the Empire State
Building. “Once the lease is signed, that should only be beginning.”
At 1359 Broadway, a 22-foor, 476,403-square-foot building located
in Midtown that W&H Properties owns, Mr. Posniak said, tenants
demanded a quality white-table restaurant.
“We want to know what’s wrong, not what’s right, and that’s what a
landlord should do.” Mr. Posniak said. “It’s all about what do I do that
differentiates me from others.”
The company is now seeking a high-end restaurant to fll the retail
spaces in the building, he said.
“It’s simple: happy tenants renew and they make referrals,” said Mr.
Posniak.
Words for all owners to live by, no matter how big a fsh they are.
OM
“The small tenant
market that we cater
to remains fairly active,
and by providing good
value to those tenants,
we continue to sign
leases at a decent
pace,” said Savanna’s
Nicholas Bienstock.
500
1000
1500
2000
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
◆Vornado Realty Trust, $2,262.7 million
◆SL Green, $ 1,200.1 million
◆RXR Realty, $1,200.0 million
◆Rockwood Capital, $1,081.0 million
◆Crown Acquisitions $1,014.8 million
◆Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, $988.6 million
◆Jef Sutton, $799.7 million
◆JP Morgan, $710.0 million
◆Sahara India Pariwar, $649.4 million
◆MetLife, $637.5 million
Chetrit Group, $1,792.7 million
Bank of America, 1,482.6 million
Kushner Companies, 1,260.4 million
Carlyle Group, 1,154.4 million
Barclays Group, 1,132.6 million
Rockpoint Group, 1,101.4 million
L&L Holding, 847.0 million
Crown Acquisitions, 816.3 million
Goldman Sachs, 797.2 million
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, 790.5 million
OWNERS_2012_THOMAS_SmallOwners.indd 21 9/13/12 4:00:49 PM
22 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
The Feminine Mystique
IN A TESTOSTERONE-DOMINATED INDUSTRY, LESLIE WOHLMAN HIMMEL DEFIES THE ODDS
BY DANIEL EDWARD ROSEN
C
urious onlookers often wonder aloud
whom Leslie Wohlman Himmel is
married to.
The question has less to do with her romantic life than with her
rise as one of New York City’s few female building owners, a position
she has navigated with aplomb as one half of Himmel + Meringoff
Properties, the real estate ownership group she has overseen with
partner Stephen Meringoff for nearly three decades.
To hear it from colleagues, competitors and peers, her gender has
caused many to presume, incorrectly, that she either married into
the industry or had exchanged vows with her partner in
business, Mr. Meringoff.
“She arrived on the scene, not from a New York City
family,” said Mary Ann Tighe, chief executive officer
of CBRE. “In the early years, when she was acquiring
properties, people would say, ‘Who’s she related to?’”
The number of women who can actually boast the title
“owner-slash-landlord” is slim, largely due to difficulties
in obtaining capital. Women like Laurie Zucker of
the Zucker Organization, Helena Durst of The Durst
Organization, Amy Rose of Rose Associates, and Veronica
Mainetti of the Sorgente Group are notable landladies
in a male-dominated field of New York owners. Alas,
they, like Ms. Himmel, are outliers in an era when it is
becoming harder for women to earn the money required
to elevate them to the same ranks as male owners.
“Women traditionally make less pay than men,
leaving less money available to them for startup capital,”
said Jennifer Carey, president of the Association of Real
Estate Women.
“Leslie Himmel is a very rare breed to have been able to create
and grow the business she created with her partner into such a
successful company,” Ms. Carey added.
The White Plains native was not a real estate scion, but rather
the daughter of an accountant and a housewife.
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and
Harvard Business School, Ms. Wohlman Himmel joined Integrated
Resources, a New York Stock Exchange Syndicator, for which she
procured properties across the country. It was during that time that
friends helped sneak her into the Real Estate Board of New York’s
annual gala, where, upon hearing the premier landlords of that
era—Harry Helmsley, Larry Silverstein, Bernie Mendick—speak,
Ms. Wohlman Himmel had an epiphany.
“I realized at that point, having the experience of buying with
other people’s money on behalf of a public company, that I wanted
to one day be an owner myself,” said Ms. Himmel.
She went into business with Mr. Meringoff in 1985, and the two
quickly snapped up properties while leaving those on the sidelines
to wonder if they were more than just business partners.
“I hate to say it, but in the mid-’80s, I think people thought we
were married,” said Mr. Meringoff, who, in fact, is not married to
Ms. Wohlman Himmel (that distinction belongs to Alan Shuch, a
retired partner and advisory director at Goldman Sachs.)
“Leslie said, ‘No. We’re just a business,’” added Mr. Meringoff.
Indeed, Himmel + Meringoff is a business, and a successful one
at that. Since 1985, it has amassed a portfolio estimated at more
than $500 million.
Ms. Himmel is arguably New York City’s most prominent female
landlord, and she belongs to the small sorority of female building
owners who inhabit the male-dominated world of commercial real
estate. She insists that the disparity still surprises her.
“I don’t actually understand it,” said Ms. Wohlman
Himmel. “I sit at the [REBNY] Executive Committee
table and I am the only woman owner. I don’t understand
why, because there is nothing that unusual about the
tasks involved with the business: The math, the law.
Women are certainly capable.”
Ms. Himmel believes that in the world of Manhattan
real estate, where there is a will there is a way—as long
as that will has access to substantial capital.
“You just have to really believe in yourself and in
your ability to create business opportunities and make
money with it, and you have to convince others to give
you money to do that,” she said. “I don’t think there is
anything stopping women from doing that at all.”
“She has a good eye for the assets themselves,” said Ms.
Tighe. “And she’s picked the right partner in Meringoff:
she’s the quant, he’s the lawyer, and they both speak
each other’s languages.”
Among her favorite deals was the one for 158 West
27th Street, a building Meringoff + Himmel closed on in December
2010 for $25 million.
“We had looked at it before it came on the market at all and had
the opportunity to buy it directly from the lender,” she said.
What helped that deal, and other deals she has closed in recent
years, was the favorably low interest rates.
“We’ve been a bit concerned that at these historically low cap
rates at these very high prices, that when the interest rates snap
back—which we think they will in a few years—we’re a little
concerned that people are getting too aggressive on the cap rates
for the secondary office buildings,” she said.
Competing in a market flooded with foreign funds and public
investment vehicles has been tough, she concedes.
“The dynamics of New York are constantly changing in terms
of office market opportunities,” she said. We’re lucky. We have
approximately 2 million square feet and a portfolio that had huge
increases in tenant rents, and we’ve enjoyed this wave, although
we’ve been frustrated in trying to buy new properties.”
OM
drosen@observer.com
OWNERS_2012_ROSEN_HIMMEL.indd 22 9/13/12 3:52:16 PM
Untitled-1 1 9/12/12 12:57:02 PM
24 | OWNERS magazine 2012
Home Turf
From Washington Heights to Lower Manhattan,
nearly every neighborhood includes at least a little
offce space. And while it can be diffcult to discern
on the ground, most neighborhoods and ZIP codes
have a single, predominant landlord who rules
the roost. To determine who controls each of the
borough’s nearly 50 ZIP codes, we combed the
portfolios of the Manhattan’s 20 largest owners
and drafted a turf map of sorts. In cases where
none of the 20 largest landlords owned offce
property, such as in some areas of the Lower
East Side and the West Village, no victor is listed.
Gathered from each company’s offcial website and
media liaisons, as well as the United States Postal
Service, the data includes ZIP codes for single
buildings, numbered in inset maps. OM
Single-Building Zipcodes
M
a
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OWNERS_2012_OPERATINGCOSTS.indd 24 9/13/12 3:38:36 PM
212.888.1811
Ownership & Acquisitions
Creating Value in Real Estate Since 1978
HMC-1027 H+M OwnersMagAd_rev2TM.indd 1 9/12/12 2:06 PM
Untitled-7 1 9/12/12 2:19:27 PM
26 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
SMOOTH OPERATOR
CLEANING
$2.68 per square foot
SECURITY
$1.06 per square foot
UTILITIES
$4.65 per square foot
WAGES AND
BENEFITS
$1.92 per square foot
ADMINISTRATIVE
$0.48 per square foot
REPAIRS AND
MAINTENANCE
$1.41 per square foot
INSURANCE
$0.51 per square foot
REAL ESTATE TAXES
$10.09 per square foot
» Before the typical Manhattan landlord even considers a new acquisition, his fleet of accountants, lawyers, risk managers and
engineers weighs the high cost of operating in New York City. Indeed, when even some midsize properties can rival the populations
of a Midwestern town, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the day-to-day expenses of everything from window washing and elevator
maintenance to office equipment, insurance and property taxes can add up faster than a New York minute. Analysts at Cassidy
Turley, a full-service commercial real estate services provider, averaged the operating costs of several dozen Midtown buildings—
ranging in size from 250,000 square feet to more than 1 million square feet—and then shared their findings with us. The result:
Annual operating costs ranging from $5.7 million to well above $23 million that would cause even the most successful real estate
titans to lose sleep. Below, a breakdown of the cost of owning in New York City today.
TOTAL:
$22.80
per square foot
window washing/rubbish
removal/extermination
services/snow removal/union
custodial/etc.
engineering costs/building
management/sta ng/etc.
tax assessment/ property
taxes/accounting/etc.
non-union concierge services/
outsourced 1- and 2-man
security details/etc.
Phones/o ce supplies/
computers/paper & pens/
management fees/etc.
elevator maintenance/
heating, ventilation & air
conditioning repairs/lighting/
light mechanical
gas/electric/steam/water/
cable/internet/etc.
property insurance/liability &
coverage based on valuation
of building/etc.
OWNERS_2012_OPERATINGCOSTS.indd 26 9/13/12 3:38:52 PM
Handler Real Estate is a driving force in the leasing and management of
premium commercial properties in New York City and beyond. We continue
to pursue third-party leasing assignments and in the past year our own
properties have reached 98% occupancy. What’s more, we have been retained
by a national retailer to be their exclusive leasing agent. During this period of
dynamic growth we are currently evaluating new acquisition opportunities
and are looking to aggressively expand our brokerage division. This is an
exciting opportunity to thrive, as we expand our commitment to excellence.
Contact Scott Galin:
sgalin@handler-re.com
The Future
With Half a Century of
Real Estate Leadership
Behind Us, We're All About
561 SEVENTH AVE, 15TH FL NY, NY 10018
212.398.1888 HANDLER-RE.COM
1HANDR077_8x8.25Comm.indd 1 9/10/12 9:53 AM
Untitled-2 1 9/11/12 2:01:03 PM
28 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
Verse From Book, Piece of Music,
Work of Art Referenced by Owner:
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Invictus, William Ernest Henley,
Leslie Wohlman Himmel,
Himmel & Meringoff Properties
Asset Most Desired:
Veronica Mainetti: Grand Central
Douglas Durst: Central Park
Scott Rechler: The NFL
James Wacht: Manhattan
Donald Trump: Versailles
Number of Owners Who Named Father as Role Model: 15 Number of Owners Who Named Mother as Role Model: 1
OWNERS INDEX
The Next President Will Be:
Obama: 48%
Romney: 48%
Stephen Colbert: 4%
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean Islands, Earle Altman, Charles Cohen, David Levinson; Block
Island, Rhode Island: Tommy Craig; Home: Douglas Durst, Abraham
Hidary; Central Park: James Wacht; Paris: Justin Elghanayan; The French
Riviera: Tom Elghanayan; Key Largo: Hal Fetner; St. Johns: Jeff Gural; Ana
Capri, Italy: Scott Galin; Italy: Robert Lapidus; Aspen, Colorado: Leslie
Himmel, Jonathan Resnick; Torres Del Paine National Park, Patagonia:
Jared Kushner; St. Bart’s: Albert Laboz; St. Martin, BWI: Norman Sturner;
Mediterranean: Stephen Meringoff ; Maine Islands: Michael Phillips;
Amagansett: Mitch Rudin; Palm Beach: Gregg Schenker, Donald Trump
Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Jason Pizer; Lake Powell, Utah: Scott Rechler
Quotable:
Most Prized Possession:
“I have a life-time supply of Purell. I don’t
know what I would do without it.”—Hal
Fetner, Durst Fetner Residential
Worst Mistake Made in Career:
“Opening a racino five miles from
an Indian casino that pays no taxes.”
—Jeff Gural, Newmark Holdings
What Book, Piece of Music or
Work of Art Has Most Influenced
Your Career: “None, I’m Not That
Cultured.”—Steve Kenny, Bank of America
Favorite Vacation Spot:
“Vacation? Who Takes Vacation?”—
Anthony Malkin, Malkin Holdings
Occupancy Tax: 5
Capital Gaines: 3
Estate Tax: 3
FIRPTA: 3
NYC Transfer Tax: 2
Tax Code Itself: 2
All Real Estate Taxes: 1
Gasoline Subsidies: 1
Inheritance: 1
Medicare Tax: 1
Tax You Would Abolish:
OWNERS_2012_INDEX-INTRO.indd 28 9/13/12 4:33:25 PM
OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012 | 29
I
t all began with a simple premise: If
you could ask the city’s biggest, most
powerful commercial real estate
owners 15 questions, what would they
be, and what would that list look like?
Sure, it would include market predictions and
boilerplate real estate stuff, like views on Midtown
South’s dramatic uptick in popularity and its ongoing
trendiness among tech upstarts. But it would also
feature more intimate questions about politics and
family, art and personal achievement. In short, it would
be our platonic ideal of a night out with some of the
most successful businessmen in New York.
And to our surprise, real estate owners responded
enthusiastically and, in many cases, with a level
of candor previously unseen in an industry where
owners often play their cards close to the vest.
Indeed, real estate titans like Anthony Malkin, Jason
Pizer and Donald Trump let down their guard—if
only for a moment—to share a lifetime of personal
wisdom, market predictions and some strongly
held convictions, from the outcome of November’s
presidential elections to a dollop of property tax angst.
However, even some of the omissions in their answers
to our inquisition were telling. When asked, “Is LEED
certification all it’s cracked up to be?” Douglas Durst,
the co-chairman of the Durst Organization, widely
considered to be one of the real estate industry’s most
outspoken boosters of sustainable building, avoided
the question altogether. So did a few political animals
when asked to predict the elections.
As much as possible, we viewed this, our First Annual
Owners Inquisition, as an opportunity
to include the city’s diverse array of
landlords, from real estate investment
trusts like SL Green and Vornado—who
together command in excess of 50 million square
feet of property in Manhattan—to smaller, nimbler
companies like RXR Realty, Newmark Holdings and
a host of other players whose well-known names
dot the borough’s skyline. The only requirement,
in fact, was that the submissions come from owners
boasting property in Manhattan rather than the outer
boroughs, which hundreds of additional landlords call
home.
Between July and September, we sent questionnaires
to the media liaisons of the 50 largest Manhattan real
estate owners, asking that they forward the questions
to their company’s president, chief executive and
chairman. In some cases we reached out to the
principals themselves, to managing directors or
anyone else with access to decision-makers. Still
later, we publicized the project through Twitter, The
Commercial Observer’s own website and other avenues.
By last month, with dozens of questionnaires already
submitted, we added a second layer of landlord profiles
in an effort to create as comprehensive a list of the
industry’s ownership community as possible.
As a result, the who’s who of commercial real estate
owners that follows is a lovely cross-section of strong
personalities, young up-and-comers and brash industry
veterans, all going above and beyond to share their
insights with the industry they lead.
—Jotham Sederstrom, Editor in Chief
Owners
Inquisition
OM
The 2012
OWNERS_2012_INDEX-INTRO.indd 29 9/13/12 4:34:47 PM
30 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Earle
Altman
CHAIRMAN, ABS PARTNERS
REAL ESTATE
Most prized asset: 380 Second Avenue, southeast cor-
ner of 22nd Street
Most prized possession: Southwest corner of Ninth
Avenue and West 55th Street
Asset you wish you owned: Additional buildings similar
to the buildings we currently control
Real estate prediction for 2013: Manhattan, New York
City strong demand/occupancy
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish? New
York City transfer tax
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be? Explain.
Well-intentioned, process should be simplified
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Encourage and assist in apartment
home ownership with self-liquidating mortgages.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Mitt Romney
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? The biography of Albert
Einstein
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? When Midtown South tenants
migrate to other markets, due to the high rents the tech
and creative sectors are paying, those markets benefit.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? $10 to $30 per
square foot
Best decision made in your career: To earn a decent
living as a broker, but more importantly, investing in
buildings with my clients, friends and associates.
Worst mistake made in your career: Selling my first
building (Union Square) corner of 14th Street, which
was my first deal as a partner with my longtime good
friend Lou Brause and his dad, Jack Brause
Personal role model: Harry B. Helmsley and Alvin
Schwartz
Favorite vacation spot: Caribbean Islands; the
Mediterranean area is outstanding as well ✯
Interviews_FIRST.indd 30 9/13/12 3:37:59 PM
LEASE IN GOOD COMPANY
TENANTS INCLUDE
CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
60 Madison Avenue
Fnt||e 8tn | !4.800 :|
72 Madison Avenue
Fnt||e 4tn cnc !!tn |cc|: !0.000 :|
115 E 57th (Galleria)
Fnt||e 8tn & ºtn F|cc|: 25.500 :|
535/545 Fifth Avenue
Fnt||e 3|c cnc !!tn F|cc|: 32.¯¯8 :|
17 Battery Place North
Fnt||e 4tn cnc 5tn F|cc|: 4ó.ó8ó :|
Citibank
Chase
Phillips International
Stroock, Stroock & Lavan
Universal Music
MCI International
Young & Rubicam
Weight Watchers
AIG
Elite Modeling Agency
Mimeo
Jazz at Lincoln Center
The Moinian Group | Moinian.com
17 Battery Place North:
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
Adam Leshowitz
212.233.8182
aleshowitz@newmarkkf.com
60 Madison Avenue
& 72 Madison Avenue:
The Moinian Group
Jovani S. Rampersad
212.808.4000 x 231
Jovani@moiniangroup.com
115 East 57th Street:
Savitt Partners, LLC.
Michael Dubin
212.452.6042
mdubin@savittpartners.com
535 / 545 Fifth Avenue:
&XVKPDQ:DNHÀHOG
Ben Shapiro
212.841.5007
Ben.shapiro@cushwake.com
17 Battery Place North 60 Madison Avenue 115 East 57th Street 535-545 Fifth Avenue 72 Madison Avenue
LGD-555_OWNERS_083112.indd 1 9/10/12 3:16 PM
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32 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Albert
Behler
PRESIDENT, PARAMOUNT GROUP
Paramount Group Inc., New York’s largest foreign
privately held real estate investment and management
firm, was undaunted by this year’s collapse of the
law firm of Dewey & Leboeuf LLP, which created a
450,000-square-foot vacancy in its building at 1301
Avenue of the Americas.
“With respect to New York, we have always been and
will continue to be bullish,” said Dan Lauer, vice president
of acquisitions, who declined to comment on the vacancy
or deals to re-lease the space.
Dewey & Leboeuf, in the largest law firm collapse in
history, listed the building owner as its second-largest
unsecured creditor.
Headed by President Albert Behler, Paramount has
established a reputation as a leasing juggernaut. The
Dewey & LeBoeuf debacle was followed by a spate of
deals, reported in The Commercial Observer,
that may have lessened the blow, including
an agreement by Chadbourne Parke LLP to
take about half of the space being vacated.
In addition, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich
& Rosati, whose founding partner Larry
Sonsini is known for providing counsel
and representation to technology firms,
signed an almost 40,000-square-foot lease
at the 1.7-million-square-foot building. And
Centerview Partners, a financial firm, signed
a nearly 18,000-square-foot expansion deal
at Paramount’s 31 West 52nd Street.
Chadbourne Parke had been shopping
around the Manhattan market for months in search of
a new home, coming close to leases at 1 World Trade
Center and 230 Park Avenue only to pull away and
resume its search. The firm had also been rumored to be
potentially taking space at 11 Times Square and 250 West
55th Street, Eighth Avenue buildings that have attracted
other law firms.
Sources said that one of the attractions of the deal at
1301 Avenue of the Americas is the fact that the firm can
inherit the office installation left behind by Dewey rather
than building it from scratch, an expense that can run
into the millions of dollars for a large office.
Paramount continued to add to its investments in the
New York market this year. In July, the company said
its joint venture with investment vehicles managed by
affiliates of Colony Capital LLC closed on a $125-million
preferred equity investment in connection
with the acquisition of 1 Court Square by a
partnership led by David Werner. The deal
was made through the Paramount Group
Real Estate Special Situations Fund.
“This investment affords Paramount
Group the opportunity to participate in the
continued revitalization of Long Island City,
an emerging NYC office submarket.” Mr.
Behler said in a statement announcing the
deal.
1 Court Square, designed by Skidmore,
Owings and Merrill, has been occupied by
Citibank since it was built. It is currently
net leased by the unit of Citigroup Inc. until 2020.
The 50-story tower has open views in all directions
and features a direct subway connection to Midtown
Manhattan at 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue, adjacent
to Citigroup Center.
“That’s a transaction where we loved our price-per-
square-foot exposure,” said Mr. Lauer, who represented
Paramount. “It’s a great asset with a great tenant, we
simply liked the metrics.” ✯
–Stephen Kleege
MAJOR HOLDINGS
1633 Broadway
2.6 million square feet
1301 Ave. of Americas
1.7 million square feet
60 Wall Street
1.6 million square feet
1325 Ave. of Americas
800,000 square feet
31 West 52nd Street
777,000 square feet
OWNERS_2012_PARAMOUNT_BEHLER.indd 32 9/13/12 3:51:33 PM
www.MONDAYRE.com
230 PARK AVENUE, SUITE 500, NEW YORK, NY 10169 212.490.7100
1000 WILSON BOULEVARD, SUITE 700, ARLINGTON, VA 22209 703.284.0200
A GOOD NAME STANDS TALLER THAN THE TALLEST BUILDING.
Untitled-1 1 9/11/12 2:48:56 PM
34 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Charles
Cohen
PRESIDENT & CEO,
COHEN BROTHERS REALTY
Most prized asset: My family
Most prized possession: My health
Asset you wish you owned: I’m very content with what
I have.
Real estate prediction for 2013: Challenging times
demand creative solutions.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
Commercial occupancy tax
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. Represents progress and more respect for
environment
What real estate policy should new York’s next
mayor make a priority? Reduce NYC real estate taxes,
the highest in the nation and a major burden for
commercial tenants.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Wish I knew.
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? Been influenced by many, not
just one.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? Depends on
various factors.
Best decision made in your career: Stick with what
I’m comfortable with.
Personal role model: My father
Favorite vacation spot: Caribbean ✯
PROPERTIES
1 623 Fifth Avenue
1.04 million square feet
2 3 East 54th Street
283,465 square feet
3 475 Park Avenue South
449,437 square feet
4 Three Park Avenue
977,745 square feet
5 750 Lexington Avenue
386,287 square feet
5
2
1
4
3
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36 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Tommy
Craig
SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR, NEW
YORK TRISTATE REGION, HINES
Most prized asset: My family
Most prized possession: My farmette in Vermont
Asset you wish you owned: Any and all Hines future
developments
Real estate prediction for 2013: Continued westward
tenant migration
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
Long-term capital gains
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. Hines is the No. 1 LEED developer in the
world, and we believe that high-performance buildings
make better investments.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Lower and more predictable real
estate taxes for new development
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Up to the Electoral College
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? The Last Lion by William
Manchester
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? We are designing new buildings
with sufficiently robust infrastructure to accommodate
both traditional tenancy as well as tech/creative open
plan environments.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? Along with
CBRE, we are identifying anchor tenant possibilities
for 7 Bryant Park and for the right tenant, we will be
flexible in designing a mutually agreeable economic
package.
Best decision made in your career: Joining Hines 30
years ago, when I graduated from Columbia Business
School
Worst mistake made in your career: Not buying 399
Park Avenue
Personal role model: The people I’ve worked for:
David Lawrence, Ken Hubbard and Chris Hughes
Favorite vacation spot: Block Island ✯
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38 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Douglas
Durst
CHAIRMAN, THE DURST
ORGANIZATION

Asset you wish you owned: Central Park
Real estate prediction for 2013: 1 WTC will be two-
thirds leased.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish? CRT
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Fixing NYC’s property tax system
Who will be the next president of the United States?
My candidate is Stephen Colbert.
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? The Teachings of Don Juan
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? A lot
Best decision made in your career: Marrying Susanne
Worst mistake made in your career: Looking at Soho
in the late 1960s and deciding that no one would ever
want to live there
Personal role model: My father
Favorite vacation spot: Home ✯
PROPERTIES
1 One Bryant Park
2,354,000 square feet
2 Four Times Square
1,800,000 square feet
3 114 West 47th St.
658,000 square feet
4 1133 Avenue of the
Americas
1,101,300 square feet
5 1155 Avenue of the
Americas
790,000 square feet
3
2 1
4
5
Interviews_FIRST.indd 38 9/13/12 3:50:00 PM
212.920.3360 | ll-holding.com
Excellence Redefined.
Untitled-1 1 9/11/12 4:52:26 PM
40 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Justin
Elghanayan
PRESIDENT,
ROCKROSE DEVELOPMENT
Most prized asset: The Archive Building, 666 Green-
wich Street, in the West Village
Most prized possession: My books are very valuable
to me. I mostly have paperbacks that have been read
roughly. I don’t like keeping my books pristine; I think
they should be really taken out for a spin.
Asset you wish you owned: More office buildings
in Manhattan. We are looking heavily for value-add
opportunities.
Real estate prediction for 2013: Steady commercial
rental rates, continued growth in residential rental
rates
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
This is a tough one. One thing I would like to abolish
is the United States subsidy on gasoline costs, which
discourages public transportation and encourages
a reliance on oil. Not a direct tax, but citizens are
ultimately taxed to pay for this subsidy.
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. In New York we find that LEED certification
is not very important to tenants, except for new
developments. D.C. tenants often require LEED
certification because of their interactions with the U.S.
government.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Completing the upzoning of Midtown
East. The upzoning will encourage the development
of new product, which is important for New York as a
global city.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Barack Obama
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? The Sopranos may not have
directly affected my career, but I think it’s a good
metaphor for running a medium-sized American
business. I also think it’s the best television show of all
time.
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? Other office markets are trying
to emulate the success of Midtown South. We’re seeing
more open office plans, exposed ceilings and generally
edgy design to attract these tenants.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? It depends on
the credit of the particular tenants, but we generally
provide TI in the range of $50 to 70 per RSF.
Best decision made in your career: Buying land in
Long Island City
Worst mistake made in your career: I remember I
was doing a lease once with someone who seemed
extremely trustworthy. But I learned that all that
glitters is not gold.
Personal role model: I admire Mike Bloomberg
greatly. I think he is very bold and willing to fight for
what he believes in.
Favorite vacation spot: Paris. It’s the closest thing to
time travel I’ve ever experienced. ✯
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42 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Tom
Elghanayan
CHAIRMAN AND CO-FOUNDER,
TF CORNERSTONE
Most prized asset: Carnegie Hall Tower (152 West
57th St), a Cesar Pelli-designed building adjacent to
Carnegie Hall, is the crown jewel of our commercial
portfolio and an architectural icon in its own right.
Most prized possession: Nude with Green Turban—an
Egon Schiele painting
Asset you wish you owned: A lot of things ... but
Chelsea Mercantile (252 Seventh Avenue) is one
building in particular that I wish we had not let go. We
converted the former government supply building into
a residential building over 10 years ago and held on to
only the retail space. The building is trading at great
numbers now, and we wish we had kept it.
Real estate prediction for 2013: Both commercial and
residential rents will be up 10 percent in our portfolio.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish? The
very onerous commercial occupancy tax
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. LEED certification is a tricky one because
the criteria is rigid and much of it is neither efficient
or cost-effective. We certainly prioritize sustainable
development, and efficiency in construction and
design, and as a result, much of our portfolio does
indeed meet LEED certification; it’s just not a label we
proactively seek to obtain.
What real estate policy should New York’s next
mayor make a priority? City pension fund and union
costs for the city are exorbitantly high, and the way
they fulfill those costs are to simply increase the
real estate taxes—now, to insupportable levels. This
may be a quick fix for the city, but it is not a long-
term solution. The mayor is only one player; he
will need to work effectively with the governor and
state Legislature to coordinate compromise with the
unions.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
It will be close, but President Obama will be re-elected.
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? Max Beckmann’s Self-Portrait
w/ Sailor Hat
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? We are seeing that Midtown
South is a very hot area for New York’s Silicon Alley;
one of our Midtown South properties, 387 Park Avenue,
is in the process of being upgraded in preparation for all
of the interest from tech startups. Soon, however, these
companies will certainly expand and migrate outward
from Midtown South, going as far north as 42nd Street
and as far south as 14th Street. This is a great hope for
New York in terms of jobs recovery.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? $40 per square
feet.
Best decision made in your career: The best decision
we made was to create an office portfolio of over 2
million square feet in Washington, D.C. We developed
eight separate buildings after 9/11 when we decided it
was time to diversify.
Worst mistake made in your career: We used to own
a lot of property in the Meatpacking District that we
sold off as far back as 25 years ago, including three
blocks of prime retail space that now houses very high-
end and profitable retail tenants.
Personal role model: My father, Nourallah
Elghanayan, who was both a global and New York City
entrepreneur
Favorite vacation spot: The French Riviera ✯
Interviews_SECOND.indd 42 9/13/12 3:56:01 PM
A Reputation
That’s Been Building
For Over 80 Years
110 East 59th Street, New York, New York 10022
212.421.1300
www.resnicknyc.com
Untitled-15 1 9/12/12 11:38:50 AM
44 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Hal
Fetner
PRESIDENT & CEO, DURST FETNER
RESIDENTIAL
Most prized possession: I have a lifetime supply of
Purell. I don’t know what I would do without it.
Asset you wish you owned: Something big in Brooklyn
Real estate prediction for 2013: Residential rents will
continue to climb as demand outpaces supply.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
Something has to be done about the taxes that Class
2 rentals pay. It’s hurting the development of rental
buildings and the long-term sustainability of affordable
housing.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Fix the broken property tax system.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Barack Obama
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? The Syracuse University fight
song
How much money are you willing to allocate
per square foot for tenant improvements? I’m a
residential guy, so I’m happy to paint the place.
Best decision made in your career: Bringing Damon
Pazzaglini in as my partner
Worst mistake made in your career: Blowing off a
pitch from Thomas Keller to invest in The French
Laundry
Personal role model: My father’s values, Larry
Silverstein’s patience and Douglas Durst’s intuition
Favorite vacation spot: Key Largo ✯
PROPERTIES
1 1212 Fifth Avenue
120,942 square feet
2 90 East End Avenue
104,898 square feet
3 The Helena
(601 West 57th St.)
547,239 square feet
4 The Epic
(125 West 31st St.)
473,783 square feet
5 345 East 94th St.
207,037 square feet
1
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2
3
4
Interviews_FIRST.indd 44 9/13/12 3:39:39 PM
Flatiron Building
230 Fifth Avenue
515
Madison Avenue
560 Broadway
520
Eighth Avenue
200 Varick
Street
40 Worth Street
Strong Corporate Capabilities
Matched with Strong Family Values;
A Winning Combination in Any Economic Climate.
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We are proud to live and work in the great city of New York and support our
peers who share our vision of continued growth and success for NYC.
H O L D I N G S
Untitled-31 1 9/5/12 1:21:38 PM
46 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Arnold
Fisher
SENIOR PARTNER,
FISHER BROTHERS
With its 5.2 million square feet of office space almost
fully leased, Fisher Brothers was focused earlier this
year on getting greater use from the space outside one
of its buildings, while senior partner Arnold Fisher
continued the family’s tradition of philanthropy
The company has plans to replace the fountains in
front of its 1.9-million-square-foot building at 1345
Avenue of the Americas with glass entryways to an
underground retail space—a vision that echoes the cube
retail addition to the GM Building, which houses an
Apple Store. One rendering of Fisher’s plan shows two
glass pyramids that would enclose elevators
to bring shoppers to an underground retail
space, while another shows glass spheres
outside the 50-story tower between 54th
and 55th streets, The New York Observer
reported in June.
The retail space will measure 15,545
square feet and will be marketed by
Cushman & Wakefield. If the plan succeeds,
zoning experts predicted more office
landlords will follow suit to take better
advantage of the wide plazas along the
Avenue of the Americas.
The 97-year-old company’s office space is
concentrated in just four buildings, three
of them larger than 1 million square feet. The company
website in August listed just two office spaces available,
both in 606 Third Avenue, for a total of less than 12,000
square feet, and a retail space at Park Avenue Plaza.
The company is also developing a mixed-use complex
in Washington, D.C., and owns a development site in
excess of 75 acres just off the Las Vegas strip.
Arnold Fisher was raising money for a $100 million
project by the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which
grew out of the philanthropic efforts of his uncle, the
late Zachary Fisher. In partnership with the Pentagon,
the fund plans to build 7 to 10 clinics on military bases
geared toward treating and researching the types of
injuries that have proliferated among American soldiers
harmed by roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The signature wounds of these wars are traumatic
brain injury and post-traumatic stress,” Mr. Fisher told
The New York Times. “And to this day, we are not treating
these people well.”
Army officials told The Associated Press that the
foundation has provided a way to sidestep
government bureaucracy on construction
projects. In 2007, the fund opened a $65
million rehabilitation center for severely
burned troops and amputees at Brooke
Army Medical Center in Texas, known as
the Center for the Intrepid. Its next major
project, the National Intrepid Center of
Excellence in Bethesda, opened in 2010.
Mr. Fisher said the success of the program
would hinge in part on the government
financing grants to hire specialized
personnel—something that may prove
problematic as troops leave Afghanistan
and the armed services cut their budgets.
He estimated those grants would cost $25 million to $50
million over the next three years.
“I don’t want anything else from the government”
except that it take care of its responsibility, he told the
Times. “These guys go out and get hurt and all you give
them is pills? Not in my America.”
Zachary Fisher founded the Intrepid Museum
Foundation, which saved the World War II carrier
and brought it to New York. The family then created
the fallen heroes fund, which initially paid grants to
survivors of troops who died on duty. ✯
–Stephen Kleege
MAJOR HOLDINGS
1345 Ave. of the Americas
1.9 million square feet
299 Park Avenue
1.2 million square feet
Park Avenue Plaza
(at East 52nd Street)
1.2 million square feet
605 Third Avenue
909,000 square feet.
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48 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Scott
Galin
PRINCIPAL, HANDLER
REAL ESTATE ORGANIZATION
Most prized asset: My family
Most prized possession: Watch collection
Asset you wish you owned: Chrysler Building
Real estate prediction for 2013: NYC, with few
exceptions, will be strong
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
Inheritance
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. Not certain
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Rezoning of certain areas so that they
are more consistent with “NYC 2013” than at the time
the specific zoning requirements were established
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Obama
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? “Conquistador”, Procol harem
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups
and creative tenants influenced office buildings in
other Manhattan markets? Yes, it has added a new
vital sector to the market, which makes us less reliant
on any one “use” to inhabit space.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? Varies,
depending on property, use, term and tenant credit
Best decision made in your career: To hire executives
who were smarter than me
Worst mistake made in your career: Don’t regret any
decision; just look forward
Personal role model: My dad
Favorite vacation spot: Ana Capri, Italy ✯
Interviews_SECOND.indd 48 9/13/12 3:55:16 PM
R A R E F U L L - F L O O R A V A I L A B I L I T Y
A full commission computed and earned in accordance with the rates and conditions of our agency agreement with our principal, when received from our principal, will be
paid to the cooperating broker who consummates a lease which is unconditionally executed and delivered by and between lessor and lessee (a copy of the rates and condi-
tions referred to above is available upon request). No warranty or representation, express or implied, is made as to the accuracy of the information contained herein, and same
is submitted subject to errors omissions, change of price, rental or other conditions, withdrawal without notice, and to any specific listing conditions, imposed by our principals.
ANDREW ROSS
Director
212-841-7896
andrew.ross@cushwake.com
JONATHAN FALES
Senior Managing Director, SAS
212-841-5989
jonathan.fales@cushwake.com
BARRY J. ZELLER
Executive Vice President
212-841-5913
barry.zeller@cushwake.com

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016449 Commercial Observer_v5.indd 1 8/27/12 4:25 PM
Untitled-15 1 8/29/12 2:29:49 PM
50 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Laurie
Golub
GENERAL COUNSEL & COO, HFZ
CAPITAL GROUP
Most prized asset: My incredibly supportive family,
including my 2-year-old daughter, Jayda Jynx
Most prized possession: My reputation
Asset you wish you owned: The Barclays Center.
It gives me great pride to see the impending
opening of the Barclays Center, as I was involved
and instrumental in all pre-development and legal
activities for the project. As an avid sports fan and
former general counsel to the Nets, it is so exciting to
see professional sports come back to that area.
Real estate prediction for 2013: The residential rental
and condo markets will continue to boom in New
York, the office market will grow as lease turnovers
continue, and the economy will thrive post-Obama.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish? The
estate tax. I have already paid my income taxes. Why
should my heirs have to pay on my savings again?
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. Like any system of accreditation or
certification, the LEED system is not perfect. But I can
tell you this ... 15 years ago, a green building was a pre-
war brick building covered with ivy.
What real estate policy should New York’s next
mayor make a priority? Thanks to the Bloomberg
administration, the real estate industry has enjoyed
an environment in which it has been able to thrive,
expand and meet the needs of the city’s business
and residential communities as well as support an
explosion in tourism. An important initiative would be
to focus on infrastructure, especially ways to privatize
it and turn it over to the development community.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Whoever it is, I hope it is someone with leadship skills
who can bring government together to be able to make
rational decisions, create jobs, bring back the dreams
that Americans have, move our education system
to its expected place of prominence, reinstate the
confidence that existed in America being the number-
one country in the world ... and repeal Obamacare.
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? Who Moved My Cheese? An
Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in
Your Life, by Spencer Johnson. The book contains
certain motivational concepts that really resonated
with me, including “What Would You Do If You
Weren’t Afraid?” I hung that page on the wall of my
office and it inspired me to push past my fears and take
chances I might not otherwise have taken.
Best decision made in your career: To transition
from being outside legal counsel to going to work on
the development side and negotiating the deals as a
business person.
Worst mistake made in your career: Staying in a job
for too long for which I had no passion. If you’re not
happy, find something you love to do and go do it!
Personal role model: Mary Anne Tighe, who is
incredibly smart, talented and polished. She has
risen to the top in a male-dominated industry—all
with elegance and grace. Also, my father, Gerry, who
was a self-made man, and taught me that hard work,
perserverance and integrity are the keys to success in
business.
Favorite vacation spot: The Colorado Rockies—skiing
has always been a favorite sport of mine and the
Colorado Rockies have some of the most majestic
views and amazing skiing conditions in the world.
Aspen and Vail are my happy places! ✯
Interviews_FIRST.indd 50 9/13/12 3:43:42 PM
A Modern Classic
61 Broadway was built by the Adams Express
Company in 1914 for a cost of $2 Million. At the
time, it was the 7th tallest skyscraper in Manhattan
A TRADITION OF
GREAT SERVICE
212.609.3700
WWW.BSDRE.COM
A Distinctive Office Tower
In The Heart of the Financial District
FULL FLOOR OF 24,000 RSF
IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE!
Additional Spaces Available from 2,000 - 25,000 rsf
Flexible Lease Terms From 5 to 10 years
Custom Floor Plans with the Ability to Group Multiple Floors
Two Blocks from Wall Street
- SINCE 1914 -
Comm'l Obs_61_OwnersMag_091812_Layout 1 9/10/12 2:31 PM Page 1
Untitled-1 1 9/11/12 2:41:21 PM
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Jonathan
Gray
GLOBAL HEAD OF REAL ESTATE,
BLACKSTONE GROUP
Blackstone Group LP, which owns approximately 8
million square feet of Manhattan office and hotel space,
stands in contrast to the family-owned companies and
REITs that dominate the New York commercial property
market.
Blackstone’s real estate unit, led by Jonathan D. Gray,
is one of five lines of business for the private equity
firm, which had a total of $166.2 billion of assets
under management at the end of last year. The firm
acquired most of its real estate in transactions before
the financial crisis, including the $39 billion leveraged
buyout of Equity Office Properties. Rather than nurture
portfolios and pass them from generation
to generation, Blackstone may need to sell
holdings to return money to investors in
funds that typically liquidate after 7 to 10
years, The Wall Street Journal reported in July.
“When we exit the real estate, my
expectation is that we will really crush it and
we will really do extremely well,” Stephen
Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chairman and
chief executive, told analysts in February.
The Journal, citing real-estate executives
who have discussed the matter with the firm,
said Blackstone was considering selling its
portfolio, worth about $22 billion, in regional
increments to take advantage of recovering
values and “strong demand from pension funds and other
institutional investors for the type of well-located, mostly
leased office buildings that Blackstone owns.”
That doesn’t mean a sale of New York holdings is
imminent.
“We are not actively marketing our office portfolio right
now,” Peter Rose, Blackstone’s senior managing director
of public affairs, said in an email in August. “We continue
to monitor the market and at the right time, when we
think we can achieve an optimal return for our investors,
we will consider dispositions. But we are not looking to
sell immediately.”
The New York-based firm has signaled a continued
commitment to real estate and to the city.
The firm has raised more than $23 billion for its last two
real estate funds, and its latest fund was expected to close
this year with a record $13 billion, said the Journal.
Blackstone this summer was set to purchase CalWest,
an $2.1 billion portfolio comprised of 95 industrial
properties, after acquiring the mezzanine debt on the
property, aiming to increase the occupancy rate to 95
percent from 84 percent.
Blackstone’s Manhattan properties include office
buildings at 1095 Avenue of the Americas
and 1411 Broadway that have more than 1.1
million square feet of space each, as well as
the Waldorf Astoria and New York Hilton
hotels. The firm has invested in completing
renovations to boost occupancies at 1095
Avenue of the Americas and a smaller
building at 1140 Avenue of the Americas.
The company also was active as a tenant in
New York this year, signing up to lease the
48th floor at 601 Lexington Avenue from
Citadel Group for the remaining five years
on Citadel’s lease.
The location is convenient for Blackstone,
which has its world headquarters just a block
away at 345 Park Avenue. Sources said the company plans
to the use the floor for a division involved in technology
within the company.
Since joining Blackstone in 1992, Mr. Gray has led the
privatization of public real estate companies valued
at more than $100 billion, including Extended Stay
America, Carr America, Equity Office Properties and
Hilton Hotels. He’s now among six executives being
groomed to succeed the 65-year-old Mr. Schwartzman,
who founded Blackstone in 1986, Reuters reported
August 27. ✯
–Stephen Kleege
MAJOR HOLDINGS
1411 Broadway
1,175,586 square feet
1335 Ave. of Americas
1,395,777 square feet
301 Park Avenue
1,681,000 square feet
1095 Ave. of Americas
1,1141,046 square feet
1065 Ave. of Americas
681,790 square feet
OWNERS_2012_GRAY.indd 52 9/13/12 3:42:33 PM
212.609.3700 WWW.BSDRE.COM
First Full Floor
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Comm'l Obs_55_OwnersMag_091812_Layout 1 9/10/12 2:27 PM Page 1
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54 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Jeffrey
Gural
CHAIRMAN, NEWMARK HOLDINGS
Most prized asset: Flatiron Building
Most prized possession: My family
Asset you wish you owned: Any of the few buildings
we have sold
Real estate prediction for 2013: Rents will be flat and
cap rates will rise.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
Abolish double tax on corporations that city assesses.
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain: Yes. Reducing energy costs and making the
planet better is our obligation.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? The next mayor should help create a
better method of assessing property to make it more
uniform and equitable.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Obama
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? Profiles in Courage, by JFK
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? Lowered rents in Midtown
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? TI allowance
depends on location and financial strength of tenant—
in Soho $10, in Midtown South $45 and in Plaza
district $65.
Best decision made in career: Bringing Barry Gosin
into Newmark and ending up partners with him
Worst mistake made in your career: Opening a racino
five miles from an Indian casino that pays no taxes
Personal role model: Jack Weiler
Favorite vacation spot: St. John ✯
Interviews_FIRST.indd 54 9/13/12 3:50:56 PM
When Location & Style Matter
Acquisition opportunities
Commercial rental opportunities
Residential rental opportunities
Clients “P” Parkoff • 32050_Observer Owners G • 7.875 x 9.75 • 4c
RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL & RETAIL
212-324-1600
212-319-3458
212-324-1602
Adam Parkoff
Michael Papilsky
Allison Foldvary
deals@parkoff.com
retail@parkoff.com
rentals@newparkmgmt.com
Untitled-18 1 9/10/12 9:16:19 AM
THANKS OUR LENDERS AND PARTNERS FOR $1 BILLION OF BUSINESS IN 2012
KUSHNER COMPANIES
New York Community Bank
666 FIFTH AVENUE NEW YORK, NY 10103 ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊӣӇxÓLJÇäääÊUÊkushnercompanies.com
COVE VILLAGES
ESSEX, MD
299 UNITS
DUTCH VILLAGE
PARKVILLE, MD
544 UNITS
FONTANA VILLAGE
ROSEDALE, MD
356 UNITS
HAMILTON MANOR
HYATTSVILLE, MD
245 UNITS
HARBOR POINT ESTATES
ESSEX, MD
650 UNITS
HIGHLAND VILLAGE
HALETHORPE, MD
1, 098 UNITS
COMMONS AT WHITE MARSH
MIDDLE RIVER, MD
1, 212 UNITS
PLEASANTVIEW TOWNHOMES
PARKVIEW, MD
259 UNITS
RIVERVIEW TOWNHOMES
HALETHORPE, MD
330 UNITS
WHISPERING WOODS
MIDDLE RIVER, MD
524 UNITS
54 BARROW STREET
NEW YORK CITY
20 UNITS
120 MACDOUGAL STREET
NEW YORK CITY
28 UNITS
156 SULLIVAN STREET
NEW YORK CITY
25 UNITS
318 E 11TH STREET
NEW YORK CITY
17 UNITS
267 E 10TH STREET
NEW YORK CITY
18 UNITS
99 E 7TH STREET
NEW YORK CITY
17 UNITS
SKYLINE APARTMENTS
HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ
124 UNITS
BOULEVARD APARTMENTS
HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ
214 UNITS
200 LAFAYETTE STREET
SOHO, NY
120,000 SF
55 CHALLENGER ROAD
RIDGEFIELD PARK, NJ
305,000 SF
GAIA
Untitled-4 2 9/11/12 4:19:12 PM
THANKS OUR LENDERS AND PARTNERS FOR $1 BILLION OF BUSINESS IN 2012
KUSHNER COMPANIES
New York Community Bank
666 FIFTH AVENUE NEW YORK, NY 10103 ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊӣӇxÓLJÇäääÊUÊkushnercompanies.com
COVE VILLAGES
ESSEX, MD
299 UNITS
DUTCH VILLAGE
PARKVILLE, MD
544 UNITS
FONTANA VILLAGE
ROSEDALE, MD
356 UNITS
HAMILTON MANOR
HYATTSVILLE, MD
245 UNITS
HARBOR POINT ESTATES
ESSEX, MD
650 UNITS
HIGHLAND VILLAGE
HALETHORPE, MD
1, 098 UNITS
COMMONS AT WHITE MARSH
MIDDLE RIVER, MD
1, 212 UNITS
PLEASANTVIEW TOWNHOMES
PARKVIEW, MD
259 UNITS
RIVERVIEW TOWNHOMES
HALETHORPE, MD
330 UNITS
WHISPERING WOODS
MIDDLE RIVER, MD
524 UNITS
54 BARROW STREET
NEW YORK CITY
20 UNITS
120 MACDOUGAL STREET
NEW YORK CITY
28 UNITS
156 SULLIVAN STREET
NEW YORK CITY
25 UNITS
318 E 11TH STREET
NEW YORK CITY
17 UNITS
267 E 10TH STREET
NEW YORK CITY
18 UNITS
99 E 7TH STREET
NEW YORK CITY
17 UNITS
SKYLINE APARTMENTS
HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ
124 UNITS
BOULEVARD APARTMENTS
HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ
214 UNITS
200 LAFAYETTE STREET
SOHO, NY
120,000 SF
55 CHALLENGER ROAD
RIDGEFIELD PARK, NJ
305,000 SF
GAIA
Untitled-4 3 9/11/12 4:19:32 PM
58 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Abraham
Hidary
PRESIDENT, HIDROCK REALTY
Most prized asset: We’re fortunate to have accumulated
some great real estate in Manhattan. Buying the note at
960 Sixth Avenue (corner Herald Square) in 2009, and
then foreclosing, at 33 percent of the 2007 sale price,
stands out … so does purchasing the development site at
133 Greenwich Street (corner World Trade Center) just
as that neighborhood is on the verge of its rebirth.
But the most prized might be 240 West 35th Street
(steps from Penn Station). We purchased it two weeks
before the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Together with
our partners, Meritage Properties, we were successful
in rebranding and re-tenanting the building during the
depths of the recession, through a significant capital
improvement campaign, and working with the best
brokers and tenants in the city. The building is nearly
100 percent occupied at rents substantially higher than
at purchase, and is a testament to the hard work and
creativity of our staff and partners.
Real estate prediction for 2013: Continued
improvement in real estate fundamentals as tenants,
buyers, lenders and visitors to Manhattan all feel
better—as our country and others around the globe get
their affairs in order
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be? Explain.
Absolutely. It’s not as expensive up front as some think;
it actually generates significant annual savings and
makes a building more appealing to many tenants.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Landmarking. I think it has gotten a
bit out of control.
Worst mistake made in your career: Spending time,
energy and money on real estate deals outside of NY.
NY is the best market in world and it’s where me and
my family live and what we know. Why go anywhere
else?
Favorite vacation spot: Home. Enjoy life … and every
day is a vacation. ✯

PROPERTIES
1 240 West 35th St.
162,000 square feet
2 133 Greenwich St.
135,000 square feet
3 960 Avenue of the
Americas
100,000 square feet
4 35 West 36th St.
87,000 square feet
5 25 West 37th St.
70,000 square feet
5
4
3
1
2
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jt co ad.indd 8 9/10/12 9:30 AM
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60 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Leslie
Himmel
MANAGING PARTNER, HIMMEL +
MERINGOFF PROPERTIES
Most prized asset: My enduring partnership with
Stephen Meringoff
Most prized possession: My sense of humor
Asset you wish you owned: I have always wanted to
own the Empire State Building.
Real estate prediction for 2013: There will be a lot of
new properties for sale as mortgages from 2006-2008
come due and cannot be refinanced.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish? The
new Medicare tax as it applies to investment income,
which will especially hurt the elderly and people on
fixed income
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. Yes. It has stimulated the construction of
some of the most technologically smart buildings
in N.Y., for example the new Goldman Sachs
headquarters and Bank of America Tower.
.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? We need to deal with both short-term
issues like underfunded pension liabilities and the
long-term fiscal health of New York City.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
We desperately need significant change in the Federal
government’s economic and fiscal policies. Hopefully,
Romney/Ryan.
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? The poem “Invictus” by
William Ernest Henley
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups
and creative tenants influenced office buildings in
other Manhattan markets? It has shifted the nexus
of office occupancy southward, as new areas like
Lafayette Street have become highly desirable office
locations for tenants seeking creative space in a trendy
neighborhood.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? We prefer to
let the tenant share in the cost of improvements, but
will build for a credit tenant.
Best decision made in your career: Choosing to form a
partnership with Stephen Meringoff in 1985
Worst mistake made in your career: Not being more
acquisitive in the early 1990s
Personal role model: Harry Helmsley, for his sense of
humor, sophisticated financial structuring and his love
of the real estate game
Favorite vacation spot: Skiing in Aspen, Colo. ✯
Interviews_SECOND.indd 60 9/13/12 3:54:33 PM
Announcing a
rare opportunity for
discerning tenants.
7 Bryant Park is a masterpiece of
stainless steel and light, and the
embodiment of today’s luxury office
environment. Designed by acclaimed
architect Henry Cobb of Pei Cobb
Freed & Partners, with 21st century
technology and prominent views
of Bryant Park, it will rise above
Avenue of the Americas creating a
visual dialogue with Bryant Park and
the city. 7 Bryant Park, elevating the
high rise office tower to high art.
Visit 7bryantpark.com and
download our iPad App.
Untitled-2 1 9/11/12 2:12:07 PM
62 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Mark
Holliday
CEO, SL GREEN
SL Green Realty CEO Marc Holliday and President
Andrew Matthias displayed the clout that comes with
being New York’s biggest commercial landlord when
they signed Viacom Inc. to renew and expand its lease
at 1515 Broadway, rather than follow its Times Square
neighbor Condé Nast downtown.
Viacom agreed in April to take over the entire tower,
increasing its space to 1.6 million square feet from 1.4
million. It was the largest non-sale leaseback office lease
in Manhattan history, the company said.
“This lease will allow Viacom to increase its corporate
visibility to millions of New York City visitors at the
‘Crossroads of the World’ for years to come,” Mr. Holliday
said in a statement announcing the deal.
“The transaction reaffirms the desirability
for trophy assets located in the prime areas
of Midtown Manhattan.”
The agreement with Viacom, the owner
of brands ranging from MTV Network to
Paramount Pictures and Shockwave online
games, was one of 57 Manhattan leases for a
total of 2.3 million square feet by SL Green
during the second quarter. It followed a $775
million first mortgage refinancing of 1515
Broadway by Bank of China, which replaced
a previous $447 million loan.
The loan “demonstrates the strength of
the relationship we have developed with
Bank of China,” Mr. Mathias said. “We
appreciate the bank’s confidence in us and our portfolio,
and we look forward to continuing to expand this key
relationship.”
The firm also closed on a 10-year, $230 million
mortgage at 100 Church Street, acquired the
215,000-square-foot, mixed-use office and retail building
at 304 Park Avenue South for $135 million or $628 per
square foot, and renewed Random House’s 361,044
square-foot lease at 1745 Broadway.
In addition, it sold 379 West Broadway for $48.5 million,
resulting in a gain of $6.5 million, and completed the
previously announced sale of 1 Court Square in Long
Island City for $481.1 million, including the assumption
by the purchaser of $315 million of existing debt.
Now the REIT, which was founded in 1970, is poised
for its first major foray into developing an office tower, a
planned 1.2-million-square-foot building across the street
from Grand Central Terminal. SL Green
tapped Hines, the Houston-based developer,
as a consultant on the project, The Wall
Street Journal reported in June.
After purchasing 51 East 42nd Street, SL
Green owns all of the buildings on East
42nd and East 43rd Streets bounded by
Madison and Vanderbilt Avenues. The
building envisioned for the one-acre site
may resemble “prestigious properties”
like the Burj in Dubai, Mori Tower in
Tokyo, the ICC Tower in Hong Kong, the
World Financial Center in Shanghai or the
Petronas Tower, Edward Piccinich, a vice
president of property management and
construction for SL Green, said during an
investor conference in December.
“Developing East Midtown will not be for the harried
or the faint of heart,” Architects Newspaper reported, after
the Department of City Planning went to Community
Boards 5 and 6 to open the discussion on East Midtown,
the yet-to-be-defined business district surrounding
Grand Central. “The applicable zoning codes in the area
are a paralyzing mess of contradictory allowances.”
Based on its recent run of deals, SL Green may just be
able to see the project through. ✯
–Stephen Kleege
MAJOR HOLDINGS
1515 Broadway
2.056 million square feet
388-390 Greenwich Street
1.87 million square feet
1 Astor Plaza
1.758 million square feet
919 Third Avenue
1.457 million square feet
The Graybar Building, 420
Lexington Ave.
1.422 million square feet
OWNERS_2012_HOLLIDAY.indd 62 9/13/12 3:44:36 PM
78-40 164th St., Fresh Meadows, NY 11366 | 877.404.7438 | www.use-group.com
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- Denis Muzio, Director of Management,
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Untitled-18 1 9/10/12 9:14:21 AM
64 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Steve
Kenny
NEW YORK & NEW JERSEY MARKET
EXECUTIVE, BANK OF AMERICA
MERRILL LYNCH

Most prized asset: My health

Most prized possession: Sheila, McCayla, John and
Haley—my wife and kids!

Asset you wish you owned: Beach house
Real estate prediction for 2013: I try to avoid making
predictions.

If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
Capital gains

Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. Yes, if nothing else it encourage the right
behaviors; in addition, I work in the Bank of America
Tower, which is a Platinum building, and it is a
fantastic facility in part due to many of the green
characteristics.

What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Property tax assessments is a major
issue for owners and future development.

Who will be the next president of the United States? I
believe President Obama will be re-elected.

What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? None, I am not that cultured.

How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? Too new for me to judge, but the
industry diversification it brings is a strong positive for
N.Y.’s future.

How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? N/A
Best decision made in your career: Joining Fleet
Bank in 2000, which became/was acquired by Bank of
America in 2004

Worst mistake made in your career: I stayed too long
at the Greater N.Y. Savings Bank earlier in my career.

Personal role model: My parents

Favorite vacation spot: The beach ✯
Interviews_FIRST.indd 64 9/13/12 3:50:23 PM
VISION.
The Rockefeller Group
has developed more
than 21 million sq. ft.
of distinctive
0DQKDWWDQRIÀFH
property —
buildings that
set a standard for
vision, quality and
enduring value.
Untitled-2 1 9/11/12 2:14:49 PM
66 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Jared
Kushner
PRESIDENT & CEO,
KUSHNER COMPANIES
Most prized asset: Priorities
Most prized possession: My first chess set —a hand-
carved collection that my father bought me in Poland at a
flea market in 1989
Asset you wish you owned: Time machine
Real estate prediction for 2013: Slow recovery. As long
as interest rates stay low, we won’t see much volatility.
Inflation, jobs and interest rates will be the determining
factors. It is important to continue focusing on buying
better assets in better markets as over time, the good
assets will thrive. People continue to move to cities. Soho
office market will continue to see unprecedented rents.
Tech companies will drive growth in New York City.
Nationally, we will see apartment rent growth as little
new supply has been built and demand will continue to
grow.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
Repealing FIRPTA would be a big win for the real estate
industry. Personally, my problem is less with taxes and
more with my taxes being spent inefficiently by our city,
state and federal government.
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be? Explain. No.
there are too many requirements that are costly but don’t
do much by way of energy efficiency. At the end of the day,
most newer buildings and renovations are more energy
efficient because it keeps operating costs down, which
allows a landlord to be more competitive on rents. Landlords
like the LEED badge, and do impractical things sometimes
to get it, but it is not crucial. At the end of the day, tenants
care more about rental cost than if they are in a LEED
building.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Focus on keeping real estate taxes
in check. Focus on making it easier to develop in NYC
through a fresh review of some archaic procedures,
agencies and zoning rules.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Mitt Romney
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty
where he discusses the merit of a marketplace of ideas —
basically saying that you should encourage out-of-the-
box thinking and discussion as it will lead you to a better
place on way or another. I always like to have people
around me challenging my ideas, and its always through
good conversation that we come to the right outcome.
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech start-ups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? It has made them appreciate
that amenities like bike storage and outdoor space are
important to creative tenants. All companies want to
act like startups today, and they are adopting more
open office layouts, tighter configurations and exposed
ceilings.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? Whatever it
takes to make the right deal.
Best decision made in your career: Building in the
flexibility in my 666 debt stack to release the retail at a
previously agreed upon price
Worst mistake made in your career: So far, I have
avoided making the same mistake twice, so all of my
mistakes have been great learning experiences.
Personal role model: My grandfather Joseph Kushner
Favorite vacation spot: Torres del Paine National Park,
Patagonia ✯
Interviews_SECOND.indd 66 9/13/12 3:54:15 PM
HFZ Capital Group is a Manhattan-based real estate investment and
development company with expertise in a broad range of real estate
disciplines including underwriting, analytics, structured finance, investment,
development and asset management.
www.hfzcap.com
WHERE OTHERS SEE RISK,
WE SEE REWARD.
HFZ CO Ad_03.indd 1 10/09/2012 10:16
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68 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Albert
Laboz
PRINCIPAL, UNITED
AMERICAN LAND

Most prized asset: Soho Mews: though it’s completely
sold out (save for one unit) and not much of an asset
remaining, except for the retail and parking lot, which we
retained and are cash-flowing, it is a condo project that I
am extremely proud of and happy to have played a major
role in creating.
Most prized possession: My family
Asset you wish you owned: Too many great assets to list,
but I am happy and thankful with what I have.
Real estate prediction for 2013: Due to the dearth
of availabilty of new condo units, any new condo
developments to come on line will be absorbed quickly
at strong prices. Thriving retail pockets in the city such
as Soho, Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue and Downtown
Brooklyn will continue to strengthen with rising rents
as retail tenants selectively expand in those areas.
With the advent of the Barclays Arena coming on line,
coupled with the continued resurgence of the Downtown
Brooklyn retail, residential and office markets, will make
the country’s fourth-largest city in Brooklyn the place
to be. With interest rates at sub-4 percent, the dearth of
availability and money chasing deals, prices for prime
buildings will continue to rise, which might lead one to
ask, are we approaching another bubble?
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish? The
estate tax, without question
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? 1) To make the Dept. of Buildings
much more user-friendly. To empower smart people at
the DOB to be fair and responsive problem solvers to
reconsideration requests. The DOB is the bureaucratic
Achilles’ heel to further development of this city. 2) To
rezone Soho, which is still considered a manufacturing
district. It is ludicrous to go through all types of zoning
gymnastics (such as variances) to get a legal retail use
approved for a building on Broadway.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Realistically, I think it will be Obama.
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? How To Win Friends and
Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It gives a sensible,
effective approach to deal with people and sell yourself,
in almost any situation. I highly recommend it to any
young person coming into the business world.
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? We are seeing tech and creative
companies signing the overwhelming majority of our
leases in the Soho office submarket.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? As mostly a
retail and residential developer, we rarely give TIs.
Best decision made in your career: We assembled a
750,000-square-foot development site and sold it off
at the height of the market, in separate parcels with
multiple closings, and successfully reinvested most of the
sales in multiple 1031 acquisitions.
Worst mistake made in career: Investing in several real
estate and equity funds that I did not control.
Personal role model: My late father, Jack Laboz. He was
smart, personable, humble and compassionate. He was a
great and honorable deal-maker and had a keen instinct
on reading any situation. Most importantly, he gave my
brothers and I the confidence to take our business to a
higher level by respecting our decisions (after vigorous
debate) and letting us run with our ideas.
Favorite vacation spot: St. Bart’s ✯
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Robert
Lapidus
PRESIDENT & CHIEF INVESTMENT
OFFICER, L&L HOLDING COMPANY
Most prized asset: 200 Fifth Avenue
Most prized possession: My dog, Bailey
Asset you wish you owned: Lever House, 399 Park
Avenue
Real estate prediction for 2013: Slow, steady growth
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
Estate tax
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. Yes
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Freeze real estate taxes.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Romney
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? The work of the Grateful
Dead
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? It highlighted the importance of
a tenant experience
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? Market- and
building-specific—could be up to $75 per square foot
Best decision made in your career: Partnering with
David W. Levinson
Personal role model: My father
Favorite vacation spot: Italy ✯
PROPERTIES
1 200 Fifth Avenue
704,950 square feet
2 195 Broadway
1,052,861 square feet
3 150 Fifth Avenue
207,697 square feet
4 142 West 57th St.
493,860 square feet
5 425 Park Avenue
567,340 square feet
4
5
1
3
2
Interviews_FIRST.indd 70 9/13/12 3:44:33 PM
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Untitled-2 1 9/11/12 2:13:29 PM
72 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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David
Levinson
CHAIRMAN & CEO,
L&L HOLDING COMPANY
Most prized asset: 200 Fifth Avenue
Most prized possession: N.Y. Yankees World Series
trophy and ring
Real estate prediction for 2013: Gradual improvement
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish? Real
estate taxes
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. Yes. Every reasonable effort should be
made to design energy-efficient and environmentally
friendly lifestyles to assure the best future for our
children.
What real estate policy should New York’s next
mayor make a priority? There are many “low-hanging
fruit” policies that could be changed to encourage
investment, some of which include reduced real estate
taxes and expediting all city agency processes.
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups
and creative tenants influenced office buildings in
other Manhattan markets? It’s clarified the need for
larger open spaces within the office that allow for
collaboration and creating the opportunity for the
intersection of ideas—less space for individual and
more space for common usage.
Best decision made in your career: Partnering with
Robert Lapidus
Worst mistake made in your career: Not starting L&L
sooner
Favorite vacation spot: A yacht in the Caribbean ✯
PROPERTIES
1 200 Fifth Avenue
704,950 square feet
2 195 Broadway
1.05 million square feet
3 150 Fifth Avenue
207,697 square feet
4 635 Madison Avenue
149,881 square feet
5 600 Third Avenue
493,860 square feet
4
5
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2
3
Interviews_FIRST.indd 72 9/13/12 3:43:15 PM
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Untitled-15 1 9/12/12 11:46:12 AM
74 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Veronica
Mainetti
PRESIDENT, SORGENTE
GROUP OF AMERICA

Most prized asset: Galleria Colonna, Rome, Italy, $250
million
Most prized possession: My son, Giulio Massimo
Asset you wish you owned: Grand Central
Real estate prediction for 2013: As usual, there are
different schools of thought, and the upcoming year is
no exception. We’ve heard so many times in the past
years that the bottom has yet to arrive. Others have
suggested there will be a big housing comeback for 2013.
I, however, tend to fall in the middle, and my outlook is
for moderate growth, which in my opinion makes me an
optimist.
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. As a developer, my goal is to build side by side
with sustainability. LEED certification should be the
minimum that any developer should strive for in today’s
world. Quite frankly, I want to go above and beyond that.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Obama
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? Piece of music: Yumegi’s Theme
by Shigeru Umebayashi
Best decision made in your career: Fall in love with the
brick.
Worst mistake made in your career: Fall in love with the
brick!
Personal role model: Julius Caesar and Mahatma Gandhi
Favorite vacation spot: Where it’s private ✯
PROPERTIES
1 60 White St.
11,500 square feet
2 62 White St.
33,300 square feet
3 66 White St.
658,000 square feet
4 1 East 23rd St.
180,000 square feet
5 34 Greene St.
22,716 square feet
4
5
1
2
3
Interviews_FIRST.indd 74 9/13/12 3:51:57 PM
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Untitled-3 1 9/7/12 10:36:21 AM
76 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Anthony
Malkin
PRESIDENT, MALKIN HOLDINGS
Most prized asset: Reputation amongst our investors and
tenants for whom we work, and the lenders, brokers and
service providers with whom we work. We have earned
this over close to 80 years, and I never lose track of it.
My wife’s grandfather fled Poland in October 1939, and
then succeeded in getting his wife and three children out
via Berlin, Paris, Spain, Central America. He used to say,
the only thing people cannot take away from you is your
reputation and your education.
Most prized possession: While they are not possessions,
I prize most my relationship with my wife and our
relationship with our children.
Real estate prediction for 2013: Interest rates stay low,
our improved prewar office trophies, suburban office
properties and well-located retail continue to outperform
the market, which remains sideways for the finance
and finance-dependent industries, but looks positive for
well-capitalized companies which continue to innovate.
Tenants look more and more for value and reliability, and
landlords are viewed more and more for their ability to
offer service and savings through energy efficiency.
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be? Explain.
LEED was a very good first mover for focusing attention
on sustainability in the environment. In the end,
the “scavenger hunt” for LEED points does not give
landlords or tenants an indication of what return in the
form of savings they will get for what investment they
make. LEED in its present format will become less and
less relevant as tenants and landlords focus more on
investment and return on energy savings.
What real estate policy should New York’s next
mayor make a priority? We are investing billions in
infrastructure in the Grand Central district, yet we
are encouraging development and tenant movement
with zoning and incentives in locations which are not
convenient to Grand Central Terminal. This policy makes
no sense.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
While I am not a Republican, I sure hope our next
president has some business experience. We can afford
to fight for social issues in a country with a functioning
economy and a decent balance sheet. I have no interest
in living in Europe, and that’s where we’re heading
economically at present.
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? As winning companies from this
area mature and stabilize, they look more for well-
located and configured spaces with good access to mass
transportation. We have seen a lot of companies which
have transitioned from “burn-rate” to “bottom line” look
to move from Midtown South to our buildings between
Herald and Times Square and to the Empire State
Building. In the end, stable companies focus on working
with upgraded, efficient spaces in buildings which can be
used to attract and retain employees. They like buildings
with personality, but after the startup phase, workers
jammed on top of each other and working on picnic
benches wears off … people don’t stay in their 20’s forever,
and companies which stay in their 20s don’t stick around
for long.
Best decision made in your career: Going to work out of
college for someone other than my family. Getting my
head kicked in by the real world taught me, toughened me
up, and made me appreciate the opportunity of working
with my father in the business my grandfather created.
Worst mistake made in your career: Not buying more in
the mid-’90s, but we did a bunch of deals and made our
investors and ourselves a lot of money.
Personal role model: My grandfather Lawrence A. Wien,
and my father Peter L. Malkin. From the two of them I
learned the value of hard work, innovation, responsibility,
possibility and patience … o.k., I may not have learned the
patience part as well as the first three.
Favorite vacation spot: Vacation? Who takes vacation?
Ask anyone with whom I do business … or fight. Always
on. 24/7, from anywhere. In my life, I don’t vacate! ✯
Interviews_SECOND.indd 76 9/13/12 3:53:35 PM
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Untitled-30 1 9/5/12 12:33:56 PM
78 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Stephen
Meringoff
MANAGING PARTNER, HIMMEL +
MERINGOFF PROPERTIES LLC
Most prized asset: My enduring partnership with
Leslie Himmel
Most prized possession: My four daughters
Asset you wish you owned: Any of the 50 largest office
buildings in Manhattan—with no debt
Real estate prediction for 2013: Flat in leasing and
an increase in the number of distressed sales of
Manhattan office buildings
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish? The
alternative minimum tax
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. Yes, because it increases environmental
awareness and helps stimulate new ways of thinking
about the workplace.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Continue to attract new industries
to come to NYC, increase the city’s broadband
infrastructure, and put the city’s fiscal house in order.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
It is the Republicans race to lose and so far they are
doing so. Paul Ryan may change things.
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? The books of Ayn Rand
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups
and creative tenants influenced office buildings
in other Manhattan markets? Owners of office
buildings in Midtown are rethinking the standard
workletter in light of the lower cost of improvements
for “creative” space.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? Totally
depends on the rent and the creditworthiness of the
tenant
Best decision made in your career: Choosing the best
business partner I could have imagined
Worst mistake made in your career: Allowing ego to
overcome logic and caution in an acquisition many
years ago
Personal role model: Paul Newman, a talented actor
and groundbreaking philanthropist who lived a life of
both personal integrity and surprising humility, given
his fame
Favorite vacation spot: The Mediterranean ✯
Interviews_SECOND.indd 78 9/13/12 3:55:35 PM
80 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Michael
Phillips
CEO, JAMESTOWN PROPERTIES
Most prized asset: Chelsea Market
Most prized possession: Scout, my Jack Russell
terrier
Asset you wish you owned: Rockefeller Center
Real estate prediction for 2013: Increased investment
in the boroughs outside of Manhattan
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish? I
wouldn’t abolish a tax; I would simplify the tax code.
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. Yes, if it’s used as one point of reference for
sustainable initiatives in real estate—but not if it’s the
only filter applied
What real estate policy should New York’s next
mayor make a priority? Sustainability, as well as
improvements in mass transit and infrastructure
Who will be the next president of the United States?
It’s anyone’s guess.
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? A Pattern Language by
Sara Ishikawa, Christopher Alexander and Murray
Silverstein; Speedboat’s Wake by Milton Avery (a
painting)
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? Technology and media tenants
have made buildings in all the boroughs relevant
in ways they haven’t been before. Building owners
need to be prepared to examine the ways existing
buildings can offer the kind of work environment that
is conducive to these industries.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? There’s no
one-size-fits-all answer: It’s very specifically related to
the tenant’s business, their needs and their credit. In
general, Jamestown is committed to partnering with
our tenants to make the best work environment.
Best decision made in your career: Choosing quality
over quantity
Worst mistake made in your career: Not buying more
properties surrounding my projects
Personal role model: Olin Stephens
Favorite vacation spot: Maine islands ✯
Interviews_FIRST.indd 80 9/13/12 3:51:19 PM
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Untitled-31 1 9/13/12 2:50:42 PM
82 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Jason
Pizer
PRESIDENT, TRINITY REAL ESTATE
Most prized asset: My family
Most prized possession: I don’t place a high value on
possessions. The friends and family in my life are the
things I treasure most.
Asset you wish you owned: 111 Eighth Avenue
Real estate prediction for 2013: I think we will see
moderate growth, much like 2012. I believe we will
continue to see strength in Midtown South and growth
in creative-sector jobs. I think more expensive properties
in areas like Midtown will continue to face challenges.
Also, with 2012 being an election year, I believe there will
be a lot of uncertainty in the market. Many big law firms
and financial firms will wait to make any major moves or
decisions until after the election.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish? I
wouldn’t abolish any single tax. I would abolish the tax
code. I would replace it with a single line of text that says
that every person and every business should pay a flat tax
rate regardless of income or earnings.
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be? Explain.
I think that the LEED-certification process can create
obstacles. It can complicate tenant and developer decision-
making. There are simple, cost-effective and genuinely
impactful steps that every tenant and every developer can
take that contribute to sustainability but don’t necessarily
count toward LEED certification. Every small step helps,
so we should encourage realistic changes and sensible
sustainability policies that are achievable for any business.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? It would be beneficial if the process was
made easier for developments to be eligible for the 421A
tax credit.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Obama
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? Tai-Pan by James Clavell.
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups
and creative tenants influenced office buildings in
other Manhattan markets? I am not certain that it
has influenced other submarkets. Tech and creative
companies were first drawn to Midtown South by the
comparably affordable rents, but as more companies
discovered the area they were drawn by the huge floor
plates, open layouts, light, huge windows, the views and
the energy created by the entrepreneurial, artistic and
cutting-edge businesses in the area. Companies in these
sectors continue to be drawn south and west where the
building stock suits their tastes ,and I am not sure that
it can be found or recreated in Midtown or other more
traditional commercial sub-districts.
How much money are you willing to allocate per square
foot for tenant improvements? That is very market-
driven, but generally between $30 and $40 per square foot.
Best decision made in your career: Going to law school
Worst mistake made in your career: I try to think of my
mistakes as learning experiences.
Personal role model: My father
Favorite vacation spot: Jackson Hole, Wyo. ✯
Interviews_FIRST.indd 82 9/13/12 3:42:10 PM
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Untitled-31 1 9/13/12 2:53:58 PM
84 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Scott
Rechler
CEO & CHAIRMAN, RXR REALTY
Most prized asset: Buildings are like children ... You
“love” them all equally but “like” certain characteristics
better in each.
Most prized possession: My family
Asset you wish you owned: The New York Giants
football organization
Real estate prediction for 2013: For the NYC real
estate markets it will be more of the same ... a flight to
quality, “idea-based” companies continuing to grow, and
financial companies still trying to figure out their future.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish? Foreign
Interest in Real Property Tax (FIRPTA) ... put in place to
prevent foreign investors for buying up U.S. real estate as
a response to the xenophobia in the early ’80s. It makes
the U.S. uncompetitive and less able to attract capital from
around the world to deleverage the US real estate markets.
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. I believe a focus on sustainability is important,
but am not sure that LEED certification is the best
measure to achieve same.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? A continued focus on investing in
infrastructure, quality of life and making NYC attractive
to the most talented workers from around the world.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Too close to call.
What book, piece of music or work of art has
most influenced your career? When I first got into
the business, my Dad gave me the biography of the
visionary developer William Zeckendorf. It taught
me that the real estate business cannot just be about
being good at the “bricks and mortar” part; it is equally
important to be good at managing your balance sheet.
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups
and creative tenants influenced office buildings in
other Manhattan markets? Midtown South used to be
a place where tenants went when Midtown rents got too
expensive for them. Today it is its own distinct market
with strong demand from the growing creative class
tenant base, rents that rival Midtown and the lowest
vacancy rates in the country. It is likely that tenants
will start to look to Lower Manhattan as the lower cost
alternative in the future.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? In today’s
economic climate, more tenants are looking for the
landlord to invest more capital to offset their relocation
costs rather than come out of pocket. We are here to
service the tenants needs, and are willing to uniquely
structure each deal to so. If tenant improvements are
important to a tenant, we will accommodate that need
within the deal’s overall economics.
Best decision made in your career: Selling our public
company in January 2007 ... a very tough decision but in
retrospect the right decision!
Worst mistake made in your career: Giving N.Y. real
estate reporters my cell number!
Personal role model: Too many to list. The real estate
industry and New York have and have had so many
incredibly talented and philanthropic people in it that
have served as great role models for me over the years.
Favorite vacation spot: Lake Powell, Utah, where my
family and I have gone camping every summer for over
20 years. Sleeping under the stars, removed from the
hustle and bustle and making unforgettable memories
with the people I love! ✯
Interviews_FIRST.indd 84 9/13/12 3:49:32 PM
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Jonathan
Resnick
PRESIDENT, JACK RESNICK & SONS
Most prized asset: They are all of equal importance to
our firm, our investors and our partners
Most prized possession: All you own is your time here.
Everything else is borrowed.
Asset you wish you owned: Thou shalt not covet.
Real estate prediction for 2013: Similar to 2012,
flatlining
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
I’d increase some (like the cigarette tax) and rework
others (like estate taxes, property taxes).
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. It may be losing its appeal, but the real
impetus is a cleaner environment, better buildings
and happier, healthier and more productive
building occupants. That being said, we have two
LEED-certified buildings and two more registered
for certification, and we are very proud of those
achievements.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
If I knew that, I would not be sitting here filling out
this questionnaire.
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups
and creative tenants influenced office buildings in
other Manhattan markets? It has made some other
submarkets look like comparative “bargains.”
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? Many tenants
obviously look for turn-key work or 100 percent of
their fitout cost. It’s deal-specific ... depends on the
building, size of the lease, term ... etc.
Best decision made in your career: Leaving the cable
news industry
Worst mistake made in career: Not leaving sooner
Personal role model: My father, Burt, obviously
Favorite vacation spot: Any ski area with snow ✯
Interviews_FIRST.indd 86 9/13/12 3:42:36 PM
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Stephen
Ross
CEO & CHAIRMAN,
RELATED COMPANIES
Stephen M, Ross, the 72-year-old chairman and chief
executive officer of the Related Companies, is focused
on New York’s last frontiers for development.
To the west is Hudson Yards, where groundbreaking
is scheduled for October for the first building in a
$44 billion development, at a site where the city had
proposed a stadium in its failed bid to attract the
Olympics. To the east, in an area sometimes referred
to as the “valley of ashes,” Related is planning 5 million
square feet of development at a contaminated site near
Citi Field.
Related is the largest owner of luxury
residential rental properties in New York,
with more than 5,000 units in its portfolio,
and is known for mixed-use projects such
as the Time Warner Center. The new
projects fit in this mixed-use mold, and
both are proceeding with heavy backing
from the city.
“The Hudson Yards represents the
future growth corridor for New York and
the opportunity to create a mixed-use
community with grand public spaces,
great cultural amenities, an extraordinary
destination retail center, hotels, thousands
of new apartments and the modern, green,
high-tech office space our city needs,”
Ross said in a written statement. “The
Willets Point development will transform
a 23-acre dilapidated area into a stunning
new mixed-use neighborhood.”
Hudson Yards’ first building, set to open in 2015, is a
$1.3 billion, 46-floor tower with a glass atrium next to
the High Line, The Associated Press reported in August.
Almost half of the building will be occupied by Coach
Inc., and Ross told the news wire he may announce
other tenants by year’s end. By 2017, the developer plans
a second office tower, nine residential buildings, a retail
complex and a hotel at the site between 10th and 12th
Avenues and West 30th and 33rd Streets. Plans also
include a riverfront park and a cultural center.
The project benefits from $106 million in property-
tax exemptions for the first office tower and retail
areas, the AP reported. The developers are counting on
an extension of the No. 7 subway line to 11th Avenue,
which the Metropolitan Transportation
Authority now says is on schedule—after
several delays—to open in mid-2014 and
to be fully completed at the end of 2015.
The developers are leasing air rights to the
property from the MTA.
The Willets Point development site, at
the other end of the same subway line, is
currently occupied by a jumble of auto-
repair shops. The name “valley of ashes”
comes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The
Great Gatsby,” describing a dump that used
to exist in the vicinity along the route from
Manhattan to the title character’s estate.
“Today the ‘valley of ashes’ is well on
its way to becoming the site of historic
private investment, major job creation
and unprecedented environmental
remediation,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg
said in June as he announced the first phase of the
project, including a $3 billion investment by the
joint venture of Related and Sterling Equities Inc.
Ultimately, the plan will unlock over 5 million square
feet of new development, including retail, hotel and
commercial spaces, and 2,500 housing units, of which
875 units will be in the “affordable” category. ✯
–Stephen Kleege
MAJOR HOLDINGS
Time Warner Center
2.8 million square feet
MiMA, 250
West 42nd street
1.2 million square feet
The Bertelsmann/Random
House World Headquarters
and The Park Imperial
condominium, 1745
Broadway
854,000 square feet
Revlon Building,
625 Madison
537,000 square feet
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Work with a REBNY COMMERCIAL BROKER
for the advantage.
Ask your broker if they
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rebny.com | 212.532.3100
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Untitled-36 1 9/13/12 4:55:45 PM
90 | OWNERS MAGAZINE 2012
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Steven
Roth
CHAIRMAN, VORNADO
Battling to build investor confidence, Steven Roth
is beefing up Vornado Realty Trust’s holdings in
Manhattan retail and residential property while
shedding non-core assets in Washington, Boston and
Los Angeles.
Since Mr. Roth’s vow in April to restore “luster” to
shares that have trailed the broader market for REITs
for the past three years, Vornado said it would spend
about $707 million to acquire retail space at 666 Fifth
Avenue in Manhattan, bought a 50 percent stake in two
Upper West Side residential buildings in a deal that
values the properties at more than $100 million, and
agreed to a 20-year lease on the shops at
the Marriott Marquis Times Square hotel
that enables Vornado to purchase the retail
space from Host Hotels and Resorts Inc. at
a price based on future cash flow.
At the same time, Vornado, which controls
19.4 million square feet of office space and
2.2 million square feet of retail space in
New York, is in the midst of selling as much
as $1 billion in non-core assets. The day
it announced the purchase at 666 Fifth
Avenue, Vornado also said it was selling
properties including the Washington
Design Center, the Boston Design Center
and the L.A. Mart, plus an office building in
Washington, for net proceeds of $330 million.
“Capital wants to invest in our home markets of New
York and Washington more than anywhere else in the
United States—and that’s a good thing,” Mr. Roth, who is
chairman of the board, wrote in April in the company’s
annual report. He also promised to hold quarterly
conference calls with analysts, beginning with Vornado’s
second-quarter earnings report.
The initial reaction to the plan was positive. “The tone
has changed,” Alexander Goldfarb, a managing director
at Sandler O’Neill & Partners, told The New York Times.
“Rather than being very defensive, there was much
more receptiveness.”
The shares jumped from $79.33 on April 10 to $88.07
on May 8.
Second-quarter results disappointed some investors,
however, as the company recognized a $58.7 million
loss on its derivative position in retailer
JCPenney and funds from operations fell to
89 cents a share from $1.27 a year earlier.
“It’s not very awe-inspiring,” Richard
Imperiale, president of Uniplan Investment
Counsel Inc. told Reuters. The shares
dropped 15 percent in the four days after
the announcement.
“We’ve done retail investments of this
nature a dozen times before over the last
large number of years,” Mr. Roth said
when analysts pressed him on Vornado’s
investments in JCPenney and Toys “R” Us
during the company’s maiden earnings
conference call.
“The JCPenney investment is an investment that we’re
committed to,” he said, noting that he is also a director
at the retailer.
Michael Fascitelli, president and chief executive
officer, said the quarter marked “substantial progress
on simplifying the company,” and that Vornado will
benefit from a strong property market in its hometown.
“The safety and resiliency of New York City continues
to draw a significant investor interest in this borrowing
world,” he said. “Asset values have recovered to near
peak levels.” ✯
–Stephen Kleege
MAJOR HOLDINGS
11 Penn Plaza
1,103,000 square feet
1 Park Avenue
1,000,000 square feet
280 Park Avenue
1,280,000 square feet
1 Penn Plaza
2,585,000 square feet
909 Third Avenue
1,300,000 square feet
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Mitch
Rudin
PRESIDENT AND CEO, BROOKFIELD
OFFICE PROPERTIES
Most prized asset: The World Financial Center; the
land held for development of Manhattan West project
Most prized possession: My family
Asset you wish you owned: The next one we pursue
Real estate prediction for 2013: Fundamentals should
improve at a slow and steady pace; leasing velocity
will accelerate in the fourth quarter resulting from
decisions from large-scale expiries and consolidation
needs.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish? The
commercial rent tax in NYC, which adds to tenants’
occupancy costs
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? To further Mayor Bloomberg’s
initiative to attract and retain education- and research-
based institutions like Cornell-Technion to create a
more diverse economy in NYC
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Mitt Romney
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? Anton Myrer’s Once an Eagle
and Charles Demuth’s My Egypt
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups
and creative tenants influenced office buildings in
other Manhattan markets? The success of Midtown
South will benefit other submarkets in Manhattan,
particularly downtown, as space tightens and tech and
creative firms seek high-quality office space at lower
rents in proximity to so many of their workers.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? In New York
we’re currently between $55 to $65 per square foot
depending on building and submarket.
Best decision made in your career: Willingness to
embrace change
Worst mistake made in your career: Relying on
an individual whose reliability I questioned to do
something important
Personal role model: Theodore Roosevelt
Favorite vacation spot: Amagansett ✯
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William
Rudin
PRESIDENT, RUDIN
MANAGEMENT COMPANY
For William Rudin, 2012 has been the year the
redevelopment of St. Vincent’s Hospital shook off the
shackles of community opposition and moved forward.
The City Council approved a revised plan for the project
in March. Meanwhile, all 42 luxury condo units in 130
West 12th Street, a former St. Vincent’s building that
Rudin Management Company had acquired outside the
hospital’s bankruptcy, were sold within eight months of
going on the market, for an average of about $2,100 a
square foot.
It’s also been the year when a fourth generation—his son
Michael Rudin and daughter Samantha Rudin Earls—took
a bigger role in the family business, Mr. Rudin said.
Getting the St. Vincent’s project off the
ground had preoccupied Rudin Management
since 2008. Last year, a federal bankruptcy
judge signed off on the $260 million sale
to Rudin and the North Shore-Long Island
Jewish Health System. Rudin concluded an
equity partnership agreement with Global
Holdings Inc., chaired by shipping heir Eyal
Ofer. The company also got an acquisition
and construction loan from a bank group
for more than $500 million—“a significant
accomplishment” in the midst of the
European and U.S. debt crises, Mr. Rudin said.
In the deal, which was approved in
March, Rudin agreed to cut the number
of apartments to 350 from 450 and the
number of underground parking spaces to
95 from 152, The New York Times reported.
The company agreed to preserve a building that would
have been torn down and to make donations of $1 million
to the arts program at three Village elementary schools
and another $1 million toward affordable housing. The
project includes a free-standing emergency room to be
run by Lenox Hill Hospital and a 16,500-square-foot
neighborhood park, about one-tenth of whose space will
be devoted to an HIV/AIDS Memorial.
Mr. Rudin told the Times he expects the $900 million
project to be finished in 2015.
Other major initiatives included the purchase of the
Rose family’s half interest in 1 Battery Park Plaza for
$80 million, which gave Rudin full ownership of the
800,000-square-foot office building. Dentsu Network,
a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Dentsu Inc., added 33,000
square feet to its offices in Rudin’s building at 32 Avenue
of the Americas, bringing the total to 183,000 square
feet. And as part of a renovation on the Upper East Side,
Rudin removed the white brick exterior from a 660 unit
apartment building at 215 East 68th Street
and replaced it a with white terra-cotta
screen wall.
“It saves on energy, lasts longer and is less
invasive in terms of impact on tenants,” Mr.
Rudin said.
William Rudin is chief executive officer and
co-vice chairman of the family business; his
uncle Jack is chairman and his cousin Eric
Rudin president and co-vice chairman. His
sister, Beth Rudin DeWoody, is an executive
vice president whose artwork was on display
in the model apartments, helping to market
130 West 12th Street.
Mr. Rudin’s son and daughter not only serve
as vice presidents in the family business,
they’re following in a family tradition of
philanthropy, he said, with Samantha serving
on the board of the Big Apple Circus and Michael on the
board of The First Tee of Metropolitan New York.
Now the 57-year-old Mr. Rudin says a fifth generation
may be waiting its turn. This summer he became a
grandfather with the birth of Samantha’s daughter, Elle
Rudin Earls. ✯
–Stephen Kleege
BIGGEST HOLDINGS
345 Park Ave.
1.83 million square feet
2 New York Global
Connectivity Center, 32
Avenue of the Americas
1.13 million square feet
80 Pine Street
1.1 million square feet
Reuters Building,
3 Times Square
855,000 square feet
1 Battery Park Plaza
800,000 square feet.
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Gregg
Schenker
CO-MANAGING PARTNER/PRESIDENT,
ABS PARTNERS REAL ESTATE
Most prized asset: One of the first deals I was able to
put together was an ownership interest in the Flatiron
Building. While my group has a small ownership
interest, I am delighted to be affiliated with this world-
renowned iconic property.
Most prized possession: Clearly not a possession,
however I am very proud of the team of professionals
we have organized at ABS Partners Real Estate.
Asset you wish you owned: The Empire State Building
Real estate prediction for 2013: Manhattan will
continue to be one of the most sought-after and
desirable alternatives for investment. Sophisticated
executives will continue to understand the desirability
of Manhattan and seek to locate and expand their
businesses in NYC.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
Gambling is a regressive tax and often brings about the
lowest common denominator. Therefore, I would not
permit gambling in the great state of N.Y.
I would reinstate the commuter tax, and bring reform
to the municipal worker pension system. During
the Pataki Administration, both of these items were
modified toathe detriment of N.Y.
Is Leed-certification all it’s cracked up to be? Explain.
It is very important for companies to be aware, and
control their carbon footprint. As the world population
grows exponentially—presently at 8 billion (1 billion in
the 1920s), soon to be 16/32/64 billion—we must find
ways to use our natural resources more wisely.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? To follow through with the great
work done by Mayor Bloomberg in all respects. More
specifically, the focus on rezoning areas of NYC to be
more consistent with present-day uses, potential uses
and appropriate density.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Winston Churchill said democracy is the worst form of
government except for all those others that have been
tried. It seems to me we have reached a point where
reform in government is essential, particularly related
to campaign-finance laws.
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? The Fountainhead by Ayn
Rand, The Man in the Arena by Theodore Roosevelt and
If by Rudyard Kipling.
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups
and creative tenants influenced office buildings in
other Manhattan markets? As Midtown South and
Soho become highly sought after and costly, other
neighborhoods become more attractive on a relative
cost basis, such as Midtown south of 42nd Street and
Lower Manhattan east of Broadway.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? In most cases,
50 percent of cost, not to exceed $50 per square foot
Best decision made in your career: To work hard
Worst mistake made in your career: Not trying for a
larger share of equity ownership earlier in my career
Personal role model: My father-in-law Leonard Baron,
and my longtime business partner and mentor, Earle
S. Altman
Favorite vacation spot: Palm Beach ✯
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Michael
Shah
PRINCIPAL & CEO,
DELSHAH CAPITAL
Most prized asset: 55 Gansevoort Street
Most prized possession: I try not to prize possessions,
since they are often transient.
Asset you wish you owned: Flatiron Building
Real estate prediction for 2013: Overheated market
with record values
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
Capital gains
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. No. Energy efficieny is all about behavior and
active management. Good boiler/heat management
software makes so much more difference than if a
building is LEED-certified.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Reinstating the 421a
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Obama will be re-elected.
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? The Count of Monte Cristo.
It teaches you to never get too complacent because
someone is likely plotting against you.
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? I think office owners are starting
to realize that trendy buildings with some quality
design is more valuable than plain white boxes.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? Three to six
months rent
Best decision made in your career: Refinancing the
affordable housing portfolio to go buy distressed debt
right after the start of the recession
Worst mistake made in your career: Using too much
leverage pre-recession

Personal role model: Steve Cohen, partner at Wachtell
Lipton Rosen & Katz. That guy can finger out the
angles on any situation.
Favorite vacation spot: Why go somewhere when
you’re in the center of it all in New York City? ✯
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Larry
Silverstein
PRESIDENT & CO-CEO
SILVERSTEIN PROPERTIES
With 7 World Trade Center now fully leased and a
second of his four planned towers at the site topping
out at 72 stories in June, Larry Silverstein is looking to
export his company’s hard-won expertise in bringing
huge projects to market.
Silverstein Properties has an acquisition and
development team stationed in Warsaw, where it’s
purchased three buildings as part of a joint venture
with Poland’s richest man, Yan Kulczyk. The company
also plans to open an office in Shanghai in October
or November, said Marty Burger, the 81-year-old Mr.
Silverstein’s co-CEO and heir apparent.
“We have incredible talent in this firm in
building large projects,” and China is one
of the few markets with the demand to
support them, Mr. Burger said.
7 World Trade Center was the first
building to reopen at the site of the twin
towers, which were destroyed in the 2001
terrorist attacks shortly after Silverstein
acquired them. 4 World Trade Center,
which topped out in June, is just over 50
percent leased to the city and the Port
Authority, and the company expects the
building to be open and operating next
year, Mr. Burger said.
Of the two remaining structures, 3 World
Trade Center has been built up to seven of its planned
80 floors and 2 Word Trade Center up to two floors of
an eventual 79. Construction will proceed once tenants
can be lined up, under an agreement that sets targets to
trigger financing from the Port Authority. Mr. Burger
said he’s confident tenants will come.
“It’s going to be a mixed bag, not all dependent on
the financial industry,” he said. 7 World Trade Center
has drawn from the advertising and entertainment
industries, as well as nonprofits and technology firms,
among others. Contrary to expectations after the
terrorist attack, the neighborhood has gained in appeal
as a residential area, more than doubling in population
to over 60,000, as lower Manhattan became the richest
ZIP code in the nation, he said.
Among Silverstein’s other projects in the city are a
residential and hotel tower at 99 Church Street—now
called 30 Park Place—where Moody’s Investors Service
was located before moving to 7 World Trade Center.
Mr. Burger said he expects construction to begin next
year.
A Four Seasons Hotel will occupy the
first 22 floors of the 80-story tower, which
will also include a specialty restaurant
operated by the hotel chain. The upper
floors will be devoted to apartments as
large as 6,500 square feet.
Mr. Silverstein, who pioneered
residential development near the west
end of 42nd Street, is planning another
project near his 921-unit River Place and
1,359-unit Silver Towers. The company
is working with Mercedes-Benz on what
Mr. Burger said is likely to be a mixed-use
development on the site of the German
automaker’s former showroom on 11th
Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets.
Mr. Burger, who calls himself “part of the solution for
the future” at Silverstein Properties, previously worked
at Goldman Sachs’s Whitehall real estate investment
fund, at Blackstone and, later, at the Related
Companies, where he became one of Steve Ross’s top
deputies.
When he was searching for candidates to succeed
him, Mr. Silverstein liked Mr. Burger’s energy and
persistence as a negotiator. “He reminds me a lot of
myself as a younger man,” Mr. Silverstein told The
Commercial Observer. ✯
–Stephen Kleege
MAJOR HOLDINGS
4 World Trade Center
2.3 million square feet
120 Broadway
1.8 million square feet
7 World Trade Center
1.7 million square feet
1177 Avenue of
the Americas
1 million square feet
575 Lexington Avenue
700,000 square feet
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Rob
Speyer
PRESIDENT & CO-CEO,
TISHMAN SPEYER
Tishman Speyer’s expansion outside the country helped
land Rob Speyer a leadership post in his hometown when
he was named the next chairman of the Real Estate Board
of New York. Mr. Speyer, the president and co-CEO of
the real estate investment firm, will take the position in
January when the current chairwoman, Mary Ann Tighe,
steps down.
“We respected his global perspective,” Ms. Tighe said
when the appointment was announced in July. “A great
focus for REBNY is keeping New York City competitive in
a global marketplace.”
Tishman Speyer is perhaps best known
as the owner of Rockefeller Center and
the Chrysler and MetLife buildings in
Midtown Manhattan—and for a failed $5.4
billion investment in Stuyvesant Town and
Peter Cooper Village that exploded with
the housing bubble. It also has interests
in Belgium, Brazil, England, France,
Germany, India and Italy. The firm’s biggest
transactions this year were in China: it
announced plans for a 600,000-square-foot
campus for Nike in Shanghai and raised
the equivalent of about $190 million from
Chinese investors for a fund that will develop
a 1.23-million-square-foot complex of luxury
residences, offices and retail space in Suzhou.
At home, Mr. Speyer wields considerable influence. He
was a founding member of the Committee to Save New
York, which raised more than $12 million from just 20
donors last year to support the agenda of Gov. Andrew
Cuomo, The New York Times reported in May. The group
financed advertising that neutralized the labor unions’
clout in Albany and that advocated passage of Mr. Cuomo’s
budget proposal and his plan to cap increases in local
property taxes, the Times said.
He was also among the leaders of a fund-raising drive for
a $177 million renovation of St. Patrick’s Cathedral
“Rockefeller Center has surely benefited over the years
from its link to St. Patrick’s Cathedral,” Mr. Speyer told
the Times. “I’m Jewish. We are neighbors. This is not
about church politics. This is about restoring one of the
city’s most important landmarks.”
Among Tishman Speyer’s nagging problems has been
the vacant Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center,
which was the subject of a landmark-designation hearing
on Sept. 11. The real estate company once considered
converting the space into offices, and turned
the 64th floor kitchen over to Lazard,
which was looking to expand. The 65th
floor would probably require renovations
to accommodate a new kitchen, which may
explain the eagerness of the commission to
protect the space.
Tishman Speyer was among those who
spoke in favor in a hearing earlier this month,
although there was no vote.
“Tishman Speyer continues its planning
process for the Rainbow Room, which is an
icon loved by New Yorkers and visitors from
around the world,” a spokesperson wrote in
an email to The Commercial Observer.
Ms. Tighe said Mr. Speyer would have to
confront aggressive landmarking in the city and a rising
tax burden on the real estate industry, while also helping
the industry voice its input in the city’s sweeping plan to
permit larger buildings on and around Park Avenue.
Mr. Speyer, who turns 43 in October, will be the 117-year
old Real Estate Board’s youngest chairman ever. His
appointment marks the first three-generation dynastic
succession in the organization’s history. Both Mr. Speyer’s
father, Jerry Speyer, who is a co-CEO of Tishman Speyer
with him, and Robert Tishman, Mr. Speyer’s grandfather,
were past chairmen. ✯
–Stephen Kleege
MAJOR HOLDINGS
Rockefeller Center
6.2 million square feet
The MetLife Building,
200 Park Avenue
3.08 million square feet
The Chrysler Building,
405 Lexington Avenue
1.2 million square feet
375 Hudson Street
1.08 million square feet
520 Madison Avenue
1.03 million square feet
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Norman
Sturner
CEO, MURRAY HILL PROPERTIES
Most prized asset: Murray Hill Properties
Most prized possession: My family
Asset you wish you owned: The Chrysler Building
Real estate prediction for 2013: Higher per-square-
foot pricing for existing Manhattan buildings
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
FIRPTA—the foreign investment in real property tax act
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be? Explain.
Yes, tenants appreciate it and it’s good for the environment.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Abolish rent controls.
Who will be the next president of the United States? I
leave it to the people of our great nation.
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? I greatly appreciate art, but it
did not have an influence on my career, economics did.
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? More innovation, more open
collaborative space, less vacancy
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? Up to the
average rental income price per foot
Best decision made in your career: I left the world of
finance to start a real estate company.
Worst mistake made in your career: I can think of a
building or two that, in hindsight, I wish that we had not
sold.
Personal role model: Edward Breger Esq. was my
mentor for 20 years and perhaps the most prolific real
estate attorney in New York in the ’80s and ’90s.
Favorite vacation spot: St. Martin ✯
PROPERTIES
1 One Park Avenue
957,172 square feet
2 1250 Broadway
773,887 square feet
3 530 Fifth Avenue
540,000 square feet
4 1180 Avenue of the
Americas
399,211 square feet
5 1412 Broadway
361,767 square feet
4
3
2 1
5
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CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT,
THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION
Most prized asset: There are many to choose from,
but I’d have to go with Trump Tower, as it was the
first building with my name on it in Manhattan. It’s
also become one of the top tourist sites in NYC and
remains a very beautiful and iconic building.
Most prized possession: Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.
It is a historic site and spectacularly beautiful, equal
or superior to any of the palazzos in Venice. I have
turned it into a great club.
Asset you wish you owned: Versailles would be nice!
Real estate prediction for 2013: It will remain a buyers
market, and will even out eventually.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish? All of
them!
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. It is highly over-rated and certainly not good
for tenants.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Always crime, education and general
cleanliness.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
If we are fortunate, it will be Mitt Romney.
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? As a young man, I read
Norman Vincent Peale’s book, The Power of Positive
Thinking, as he was a friend of my father, Fred C.
Trump. It had a lasting effect and was a good influence
on my way of thinking and working.
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups
and creative tenants influenced office buildings in
other Manhattan markets? I think it’s been a positive
addition to the business landscape. The diversity of
energies has always been a Manhattan strong point
and that dynamic keeps it that way. Competition is
good.
How much money are you willing to allocate per square
foot for tenant improvements? Whatever it takes—for
instance, I am giving a lot at the great 40 Wall Street.
Best decision made in your career: To go into real
estate. I had thought about attending USC to study
film, but decided on real estate.
Worst mistake made in your career: Buying a yacht. I
never used it and couldn’t wait to sell it.
Personal role model: My father. He was a tremendous
example, both personally and professionally. I learned
a great deal from him.
Favorite vacation spot: Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach,
Florida—there is no place in the world that even comes
close. By the way, Doral in Miami, which I just bought,
will be right up there in two years after I work the
magic. ✯
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James
Wacht
PRESIDENT, LEE & ASSOCIATES NYC
Most prized asset: My business partners and my
employees
Most prized possession: My kindle, tennis racket
and commuter bike
Asset you wish you owned: The entire island of Manhattan
Real estate prediction for 2013: A foreign-money
land-grab in New York City fueled by European un-
certainties and the cooling off of China
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
Taxes I can deal with, it is the burdensome regula-
tions and host of regulatory agencies that make
conducting business in New York City so difficult and
time-consuming that I would reduce and streamline.
There isn’t one regulation in particular that I would
eliminate. It’s more like being bitten to death by a
duck. It’s not one thing in particular that is so awful,
it’s just everything that adds up.
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. Too soon to tell. While it sounds great in
theory, I’m not too sure how it is working in practice.
What real estate policy should New York’s next
mayor make a priority? Creating a competitive busi-
ness climate that encourages rather than punishes
companies for locating to New York. While not
directly a real estate policy, this would help create a
healthy business climate that would be a tremendous
benefit to the real estate market.
Who will be the next president of the United States?
As long as unemployment remains above 8 percent,
Mitt Romney
What book, piece of music or work of art has most
influenced your career? The Fountainhead and The
Power Broker.
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? While it certainly caused a bit
of a rent bubble in Midtown South, I don’t think it has
had much of an influence outside of that market.
How much money are you willing to allocate per square
foot for tenant improvements? Depends upon the con-
dition of the particular unit, the rent being paid by the
new tenant and the new tenant’s credit worthiness.
Best decision made in your career: I had been a suc-
cessful, practicing attorney for eight years with a very
well-known real estate firm when, in 1989, I decided
to leave the practice of law and join a small real estate
company known as Sierra Realty Corp.
Worst mistake made in your career: Not purchas-
ing several Class B office buildings in the early 1990s
when these properties were being sold for $30 a
square foot!
Personal role model: I have two: The first is a former
attorney with whom I worked. He was my mentor and
wise man. I admired his honesty, wisdom and personal
integrity. The second is Miles Davis. Throughout his
50-plus-year career he was always constantly innovating
and pushing the element. No matter what artistic success
he achieved, he never rested on his laurels and continued
to take chances with his music. I have great admiration for
those who are never satisfied and are always reaching to
do more.
Favorite vacation spot: Central Park. If I ever need
to feel rejuvenated, I spent several hours walking
through the park and appreciating the scenery, the
brilliance of its design and the huge variety of people
that you come across. ✯
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David
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VICE PRESIDENT,
ZAR PROPERTY NY
Most prized asset: JPMorgan Chase building at the
corner of 5th Avenue & 34th Street in Manhattan
Most prized possession: Hebrew manuscript passed
down to me by my late grandfather
Asset you wish you owned: 666 Fifth Avenue
Real estate prediction for 2013: Manhattan will
continue to thrive, with international buyers and
retailers entering the market and taking advantage
of the favorable exchange rates. Brooklyn values,
especially those that are waterfront and near
transportation, will continue to surge, with multiple
projects due to be completed.
If given the choice, what tax would you abolish?
Transfer tax, to offset capital gains tax that are
scheduled to increase next year
Is LEED certification all it’s cracked up to be?
Explain. Explain. We have never undergone a project
with LEED certification.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor
make a priority? Maintaining affordable housing in a
manner that’s fair to both landlords and tenants
Who will be the next president of the United States?
Barack Hussein Obama, unfortunately
How has Midtown South’s roster of tech startups and
creative tenants influenced office buildings in other
Manhattan markets? It’s created a positive ripple
effect and revitalized the surrounding neighborhoods.
It has also created a positive absorption in vacancy
overall.
How much money are you willing to allocate per
square foot for tenant improvements? Not one penny.
Best decision made in your career: To buy during the
recession.
Worst mistake made in your career: Not buying
enough during the recession.
Personal role model: Dario Zar, President of Zar
Property NY
Favorite vacation spot: Any warm climate without
cellular/BlackBerry service. ✯
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Mort
Zuckerman
CO-FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN
BOSTON PROPERTIES
Mid-year found Boston Properties Chairman Mort
Zuckerman grousing over the country’s “distressing”
unemployment trends and lack of leadership—and ready
to take the opportunity to expand his real estate empire.
“Generally speaking, in America, we boo the loser, but
this is an administration that boos the winner,” he said
during the company’s second-quarter conference call
with analysts.
Zuckerman, who’s also the publisher of the Daily
News, supported Barack Obama in 2008, but earlier
this year he predicted that “an Obama election [would]
undoubtedly suppress some of the
willingness of American business to invest,
to renew, to add space.”
Even with U.S. unemployment stuck above
eight percent and the financial and legal
industries shrinking, Boston Properties was
able to boost funds from operations to $1.37
a share in the quarter from $1.23 a share a
year earlier.
The company benefited from tight supply
of office space in its main markets—New
York, Boston, Washington, San Francisco
and Princeton, N.J.—and increasing demand
from technology and life sciences firms. It
completed a $1 billion bond sale and raised
$137.9 million selling stock.
“We have both credibility and financial strength to
make additional acquisitions—we’re looking for those
opportunities,” Zuckerman said.
In the Washington market, “the unknown impact of
the deficit reductions and spending changes, as well as
the presidential election, have really created a pretty
soft demand environment,” Boston Properties President
Douglas Linde said during the conference call.
In the event that Congress fails to act and automatic
budget cuts go into effect, “it would have a severe
negative impact on the D.C. economy,” he said. “But I
think there’s consensus that we’re not, hopefully, going
to get to that point.”
In New York, Boston Properties reports occupancy
of almost 96 percent in its eight “in-service” office
buildings, which encompass 8.6 million square feet of
space.
The company’s six office buildings under construction
nationwide include the only one being built in Midtown
Manhattan, at 250 West 55th street. Morrison & Foerster
signed up last year for 180,000 square feet in the
building, which is scheduled to open in the
second quarter of 2014, and this year agreed
to take an additional 24,000 square feet.
“The big news is that we are negotiating
a lease with a second law firm for an
additional 266,000 square feet in the low
rise of the building, which will mean that
250 West 55th will be just under 48 percent
leased with all of the remaining space
concentrated on floors 25 to 38, the top of
the tower,” Mr. Linde said. The company
completed additional leasing at 510 Madison
Avenue, bringing occupancy of that
356,000-square-foot building to 55 percent,
Mr. Linde said.
Boston Properties previously took
advantage of a weakening economy to buy the John
Hancock Tower in Boston and three office properties
in New York, including the 1.8-million-square-foot GM
Building.
Analyst Jeffrey Spector of Bank of America/Merrill
Lynch pressed for more detail on the possibility that the
current economic climate will create more opportunities.
“There are a lot of families in New York that own a lot
of real estate,” Mr. Zuckerman said. “When they move,
they move slowly at first and then very quickly. Our
whole effort will be to be around and be a part of those
discussions when they move.”✯
–Stephen Kleege
MAJOR HOLDINGS
The GM Building,
767 Fifth Avenue
1.8 million square feet
399 Park Avenue
1.7 million square feet
601 Lexington Avenue
1.63 million square feet
Times Square Tower
1,25 million square feet
599 Lexington Avenue
1.05 million square feet
OWNERS_2012_ZUCKERMAN.indd 101 9/13/12 4:02:42 PM
Masters of real estate
invites you to attend
THURsday NOVEMBER 8, 2012
8
AM
–2
PM
The Metropolitan Club | One East 60
TH
Street | New York, NY
OPENING REMaRKs By JaREd KUsHNER
REGIsTRaTION

Please email zburstein@observer.com for more information Ticket Price: $500 Seating is Limited
sPeaKers INClUDe
sTaTE Of
NEw yORK CITy REal EsTaTE

Moderator:
Bill Rudin
Chairman, Rudin Management
Richard LeFrak
President, LeFrak Organization
Mort Zuckerman
Chairman, Boston Properties
Rob Speyer
Tishman Speyer
Barry Sternlicht
Starwood Capital
sTaTE Of
CaPITal MaRKETs

Moderator:
Jon Mechanic
Chairman of Real Estate, Fried Frank
Jef Blau
President, Related Companies
Mike Fascitelli
President & CEO, Vornado
Marc Holliday
CEO, SL Green
Rob Stuckey
Managing Director,
US Real Estate, Carlyle
sTaTE Of
OPPORTUNIsTICs VENTUREs

Moderator:
Andrew Farkas
Chairman & CEO, Island Capital
Adam Schwartz
Managing Director, Angelo Gordon
Avi Shemesh
Principal, CIM
Keith Gelb
Rockpoint
Ron Kravit
Managing Principal, Cerebus
In a climate of signifcant change, The New York Observer is inviting
industry leaders to discuss the current real estate landscape.
Untitled-10 1 9/13/12 6:28:09 PM
OWNERS magazine 2012 | 103
BY MARK R. BANSCHICK, M.D. | ILLUSTRATION BY JORDIN ISIP
W
e are small beings, yet manhattan’s towers reach to the heavens.
Manhattan is a forest of enormous buildings, some simply, jaw-
droppingly majestic. Big buildings surely require outsize developers,
while the layman barely knows how to install a swing set.
But what moves someone to build a bigger and grander building than his
neighbor? Is it all about money, or are there other factors at play? Motives vary, and
very few people do things for one reason alone. For example, do therapists practice
psychotherapy for the money? Yes and no. Is it for the pleasure of helping people?
Is it to develop a craft? All behavior is multi-determined. And, since developers are
human too, their motivations will vary depending on whom you talk to.
Boiled down, I see fve good reasons why men reach for the sky.
The AesTheTic
To build a great building is
to be an artist; the developer
needs to know the lay of
the land, how to fnance it,
what will work and what
people need. Building big
is an aesthetic. The world
benefts from those with an
aesthetic gift: whether it’s as
a great lover, teacher, surgeon
or a master developer of big
buildings.
Next time you walk past
a truly great building, think
about what it took to put it
together. It’s a work of art.
Developers are not alone
in this experience; many
professionals and craftsmen
see their job as an art form as
well.
Pride And VAniTy
Imagine having built a
great building in the city
of New York. Imagine the
pride one feels: thousands
of people are entering your
building every day. Many have
offces or homes there. They
are shopping, exercising,
conducting business, doing
therapy and making love, all
under a roof that you built.
You take pride knowing that
you made this happen.
Pride is an internal
experience that enriches
you. You feel a sense of
accomplishment and, with
it, a strong sense of self.
Psychologists call it “healthy
narcissism”: the pleasure
of knowing that you’ve
done something great. It’s a
wonderful human experience.
Douglas Durst, the chairman
of the Durst Organization,
one of the leading real estate
developers in New York City,
has a healthy sense of pride in
his family’s legacy. “If you’re in
Liberty State Park and you look
north and see this building,
you see 4 Times Square and
the Epic, and it’s changed the
skyline,” he once said. “It’s quite
a thrill to see that.”
But pride can downshift to
vanity.
Why Men Build
IF FrEuD IS TO BE BELIEvED, FAThEr kNOwS BEST
OWNER_2012_BOB_COLUMN.indd 103 9/13/12 4:03:50 PM
104 | OWNERS magazine 2012
Unlike pride, vanity is externally driven and derived from a
hole inside our psyches. Vain people need to be reassured that
they’re special, even though deep down they sense they’re not.
Vanity is pride’s unhappy and demanding sister.
Pride is powerful and vanity is not. I don’t care how big your
building is or how rich you are. Find pride and you fnd power.
Derail toward vanity and you’ve wasted your opportunity. Take a
look at In Praise of Folly, written by a monk named Erasmus about
500 years ago. Erasmus nailed it: if you’re building to get a lot of
attention, you will get it. But, what will that get you? It’s folly.
Money
Of course, developers do it for the money, the fnancing, the
deal, the proft. For some, it’s probably fun; for others, it’s a drive
that is never satisfed. But what does money mean? After all,
money is just a thing in this world. If you’ve
made enough, why the relentless drive to
make more? Money caries so much meaning.
Perhaps early poverty or insecurities drive
a man to pile up the cash, or maybe you just
love competing and money is the measure.
Money is what we make of it; like self
esteem, pride, vanity, competition or survival.
It’s an object of value, but also of intense
projection. Big buildings often make lots of
money, and it’s perfectly healthy thing to
want. Yet the true value of that money comes
from within.
Phallic coMPetition
Yes, of course, New York’s big buildings
can be likened to phalluses. But this clichéd
image is more titillating than interesting. The
real story is in just how competitive human
beings—and developers—can be.
Think about it: the ancient world lacked
food. Parents were preoccupied with survival,
and only the most robust progeny lived. It
is an ancient drive, so basic and so real. Some people feel it more
than others. Our genes move us to beat our siblings, get the food
and grab the alpha male’s (often Daddy’s) attention and favor.
Ted was a patient back in the day when I practiced in
Washington. He had a hugely successful high-tech start up, and
a big decision to make. “Should I buy my competitor and become
even bigger, or sell—and take the windfall.” Objectively speaking,
it was advantageous to sell, yet Ted wanted to get bigger. (Note:
Let’s avoid phallic associations here, shall we?) In therapy, Ted
discovered that his need to grow came from fear—and had little to
do with business.
“Will anyone call me if I sell?”
Ted eventually sold, and Wall Street was impressed. The phone
has not stopped ringing.
Phallic competition is competition with other men, as in who is
bigger, or more important. For some, it may be an Oedipal tale of
bettering one’s father. But, in my experience, phallic competition
is really a battle among siblings, each unconsciously looking to be
crowned the winner by his father or by a surrogate.
“My son, the doctor” jokes aside, many a man is motivated
to better his dad or get his father’s approval—or both. This is
an eternal archetype, which continues even after dad is gone,
whether you are developing awe-inspiring buildings or raising a
great family. “Daddy, am I looking good now?”
Donald Trump, whose deceased father helped him get started
in the real estate industry, put it well, “Not many sons have been
able to escape their fathers.”
Mr. Trump tells us a great truth.
the iMMortality Project
In 1971 Ernest Becker wrote an incredible book called The
Denial of Death.
His thesis: Human beings have a crazy faw in our wiring; we
know we are going to die someday. It’s strange, because we’re
granted a sense of grandeur in art, sex, love and ideas that are
eternal. It feels like we’re never going to die, and we don’t want to.
What Becker tells us is that the human mind is constructed in
a bizarre way that simply sections off the fear of death from our
everyday life. We “earn a feeling of primary
value of cosmic specialness, of ultimate
usefulness to creation, of unshakable
meaning [through] carving out a place in
nature, by building an edifce that refects
human value.” In other words, we walk
around feeling immortal, despite knowing
that we are just the product of a putrid drop.
So, human beings deal with the fear
of death by denial and the creation of
“immortality projects,” a term that Becker
coined.
Great buildings are immortality projects:
a president has his legacy, Mozart had his
music, Einstein had the theory of relativity
and Steve Jobs had Apple. Our developers
transcend through the greatness of these
living monuments.
An image comes to mind when I think of
our great buildings: a Manhattan flled with
a majestic totems, old and new. And what
are totems? The Australian Aborigines, the
peoples of Africa and those of Pacifca built
these large structures that kept their ancestors close.
We are small beings, yet these towers reach to the heavens.
If Becker is right, perhaps an unconscious motive to build big
comes from an ancient source. Maybe our proud and assertive
developers are also morphing themselves into ancestors of a
kind, celebrating our civilization and their achievements—for
better or for worse. After all, these great towering structures will
outlast us all.
And for counterpoint, a line from Emily Dickinson:
“I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you—Nobody—too?”
So let’s enjoy our great buildings and hope our developers are
building them beautifully, ethically and with pleasure. And if they
have moments of vanity, a bit of greed, or need to create a bigger-
than-life presence in the world, then who cares? We are just
human, and they are too.
OM
Mark R. Banschick, M.D., is a psychiatrist with training from
Georgetown University Medical Center and New York Presbyterian
Hospital/Weill Medical Center. He is the author of The Intelligent
Divorce book series and contributes regularly to PsychologyToday.
com and divocesourceradio.com. Dr. Banshick is in private practice in
Katonah, N.Y.
Maybe our proud and
assertive developers
are also morphing
themselves into ancestors
of a kind, celebrating
our civilization and their
achievements—for
better or for worse.
After all, these great
towering structures will
outlast us all.
OWNER_2012_BOB_COLUMN.indd 104 9/13/12 4:04:16 PM
ONE WORLD TRADE CENTER · ONE BRYANT PARK · 4 TIMES SQUARE · 1133 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS · 1155 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS
114 WEST 47 STREET · 655 THIRD AVENUE · 675 THIRD AVENUE · 733 THIRD AVENUE · 825 THIRD AVENUE · 205 EAST 42 STREET · WWW.DURST.ORG
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