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February 24, 2010 
Monday (1440 Broadway) -

Mother Nature’s assault didn’t discourage the 200 of you who joined us this morning for Bisnow’s Breakfast & Schmooze at the New York Bar Association.
New York City Economic Development Corp. prez Seth Pinsky (left) and Source Communications’ Ken Frydman speak at Bisnow event
Of course, having a distinguished headliner like NYC Economic Development Corp. prez Seth Pinsky (left) helps. Moderated by Source Communications’ Ken Frydman, he discussed the City’s position in the recession, noting that with the rise of other economies and global cities, we’re facing the challenge of transforming ourselves both physically and economically to compete. This includes a need for new infrastructure and amenities, as well as encouraging entrepreneurship, helping legacy industries, and fostering future industries like bioscience, new media, and technology. (He joked that perhaps new parks and schools would also encourage LeBron James to join the Knicks.)
Fried Frank’s Melanie Meyers, Forest City Ratner’s MaryAnne Gilmartin, Columbia University’s Vishaan Chakrabarti, and Kohn Pedersen Fox’s Paul Katz at Bisnow Event
It’s important to think about building during recessionary times, so you’re ready for the upswing, says our panel of Fried Frank’s Melanie Meyers, Forest City Ratner’s MaryAnne Gilmartin, Columbia University’s Vishaan Chakrabarti, and Kohn Pedersen Fox’s Paul Katz. But right now, Vishaan notes, the government is the spender of last resort, and we need them to put money towards projects; we’ve also grown complacent in our patience, which has led to slowed projects like the WTC site and Moynihan Station. The cities we compete with are ahead of us developmentally, and we need to raise public awareness of this, Paul urged. Patience is not for our business; think speed and moving forward.
Crowd at Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze at NY Bar Association

They also discussed how a fractional government and some agencies may hurt development; Melanie believes preservation has its place, but overzealous landmarking has hindered development. We need to focus on process and policy and align the interests of the public and private, MaryAnne adds. Vishaan suggested a larger entity, like a redevelopment authority, that would replace meeting with 45 different people in order to get things done.



Speaking of public-private partnerships, we braved the freezing rain yesterday to join Tishman Speyer, construction workers, and city officials for the topping off of Long Island City’s $316M Two Gotham Center. Leading the ceremony was Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York prez Gary LaBarbera, Tishman Speyer president/co-CEO Rob Speyer, NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, NYC Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs, NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Bob Lieber, NYC Economic Development Corp. prez Seth Pinsky, Queens Borough president Helen Marshall, and NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Martha Hirst.

Bob Lieber signs the final beam at Two Gotham Center with Piper Brown, daughter of the NYC Department of Planning official Penny Lee

Bob Lieber signs the final beam with Piper Brown, daughter of the NYC Department of Planning official Penny Lee. The flag-adorned beam was hoisted to the top of the 21-story tower, set into place 325 feet in the air. The 662k-SF Class A office building will be occupied by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and includes 8k SF of ground-floor retail and 160 parking spaces. The project, which replaces the Queens Plaza municipal parking garage, has also created 1,400 construction jobs. Long Island City is now well on its way to becoming a vibrant, attractive business district, Bob says, noting $75M in upcoming streetscape improvements to make the neighborhood even better. For now, cap those sharpies: Two Gotham Center is slated for mid-’11 completion.

We stopped by CUNY this morning for real estate pundit Michael Stoler's 4th summit. Here he is with his State of the Residential Market panel: Stonehenge Partners co-founder Ofer Yardeni, Rose Associates co-president Amy Rose, Gotham Organization prez David Picket, Toll Brothers SVP David Von Spreckelson, developer Michael Kaye, Hudson Cos principal David Kramer, and Durst Fetner Residential CEO Hal Fetner. Panelists said the panic from a year ago has subsided and apartments rents are remaining flat. Financing for many condo units is not as much a concern as higher down payments required. All agreed they're finding renters and buyers pretty much on the Internet, not newspapers, and Yardeni commented that his firm is trying to improve its technology so that it’s only 15 years behind, compared to industry standard “50 years.”  

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February 24 - ULI - How education and medical institutions affect sustainable development. Stamford Towers. 6-8:30pm. Info

March 02 - Association of Real Estate Women - Luncheon - Top investment, brokerage, and legal experts take the market's pulse, with Michael Fascitelli, James D. Kuhn, and Jonathan L. Mechanic. Club 101. 11:30-2:00pm. Info

March 03 - CPC - Wednesday Webinars on CPC's Green Financing Initiative for energy efficient multifamily building retrofits. 3/3/10: Freddie Mac Green Financing; 4/14/10: Refinancing, Rehabbing & Green Rental Buildings; 5/05/10: Energy Retrofits in NYC Co-ops. Free. 11am-12:30pm. Info

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