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January 9, 2009 



One thing easier than real estate these days is football: You can influence the outcome by your plays, whereas today's real estate market seems to offer no chance of that. Take it from a guy who's played both: FirstService Williams managing director Howard Cross, a NY Giants tight-end-turned-tenant-rep, whom we met in his Madison Ave. office.


Inform tenant clients that now is their moment in real estate leverage, Howard says. Landlords are willing to work with tenants in order not to lose occupancy when more (and possibly better quality) space is coming on the market. There will be many opportunities for tenants this year and next, especially those who are credit-worthy. For brokers, it's now a guiding market. Whether it's saving tenants money or determining needs vs. wants, clients are looking for good people and advice. "An honest answer can make inroads for both your career and your client's," he says. A wrong suggestion can lead the client down a road no one wants to be on.


We wonder if Williams asked Howard to take down the Christmas star this year; at 6'5" he doesn't need a ladder. In addition to keeping up with his clients, you can catch him supporting numerous charitable endeavors; co-hosting YES Network's "This Week in Football" program; being a sideline analyst for WFAN's Giants coverage; and doting on his family. We're amazed he has time to breathe (he didn't get in from the previous night's Giants-Panthers game until 2 a.m.) and are sure he's looking forward to some relaxation post-Super Bowl.


We've got something for you racket nuts—another sport that's quickly gaining ground in the U.S., whose organization is headed by one of our industry cohorts, Atlantic Development Group principal Marc Altheim. We stopped by his Spring Street office to find out all about beach tennis (and also what the developer's up to).


What's beach tennis? Think of it as badminton on steroids: It's like regular tennis, but played on a regulation beach volleyball court; of course, the ball doesn't bounce on sand. Marc discovered the sport while vacationing in Aruba, was smitten, and is now founder and commissioner of Beach Tennis USA, an organization aimed at increasing the game's legitimacy here. It's quickly gaining momentum, he says; it's been featured on CNBC and the Today Show. He's even played with Meredith Viera.


When Marc's not in the sun, he's on court with Atlantic. The firm just finished pouring the foundation for its 140-unit luxury rental project, Two Cooper Square, at the corner of West 4th and Broadway, which will include 25k SF of retail on the ground floor upon its February '10 completion. Additionally, it's building the 900k SF Boricua Village in the Melrose section of the Bronx, which includes Boricua College and 700 affordable and middle-income apartment units and should deliver in late '09 or early '10.

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