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January 22, 2008



Shout-out:  Big welcome to great new sponsor The Bozzuto Group, celebrating 20 years of creating communities.  Little-known fact:  Bozzuto’s construction and management companies generate two-thirds of its revenue from third-party clients.  Welcome aboard!


If last night's Obama-Clinton slugfest wasn't enough to divert you from thoughts of world financial crisis, we figured today you might enjoy a little window into the NY real estate scene.  We're getting ready for our Big Apple launch, so Thursday your fearless publisher dropped into the wondrous REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York) annual dinner at the NY Hilton.  Our take?  It's just like Washington except a lot bigger—3,000 strong—and even more schmoozing. If in DC 25% of the crowd is up working the room during a "seated" dinner, at REBNY it's more like 90%.  Herewith some big players:


Roger and Lisa Silverstein are the kids of Larry Silverstein, who owns the World Trade Center (technically bought a 99-year lease on it for $3.2 billion in July 2001, seven weeks before 9/11), litigated with insurers over whether it was one or two "occurrences," and with $5 billion in proceeds (it was a compromise) is now redeveloping it.  Overall, Silverstein Properties owns, manages, or has built 20M SF in Manhattan.  These third-generation scions are active in the company—and, as you can see, add some flair.



Steve Ross, on the right, is sort of the Milt Peterson of New York.  He founded what has become a storied firm back in 1972—The Related Companies—but leapfrogged to the top of the pecking order after building Time Warner Center (think National Harbor).  Shaun Donovan, on the left, is Mayor Bloomberg's Housing Commish,  sort of the local Neil Albert.  And Dan Brodsky runs a huge third generation apartment and mixed-use developer—the Sonny Small of New York.  Okay, I'll stop with the analogies.


Jerry Speyer, right, with Jones Lang New York tri-state president Peter Riguardi.  Jerry's built one of the great real estate firms not just in New York—where Tishman Speyer owns the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, and other icons—but around the world, to the current tune of 80M SF  and 120 buildings.  He's also been a head of REBNY, and serves as chairman of the NY Fed and the Museum of Modern Art.  Peter was happy to be back in town after taking his family (four sons ages 11, 13, 18, 21) to Disney World; he tells us his favorite ride remains Space Mountain.


Wow, people actually sitting down!  Malcolm Smith, left,  represents Queens in Albany where he's the Democratic Leader of the State Senate, here with Burt Resnick, who runs a storied local developer Jack Resnick & Sons.  (Note to Dave Reznick:  I tried to persuade him he should change his name to the "correct" spelling, but he's kind of  stubborn about it.)


These two guys generously introduced this visiting Washingtonian around and patiently explained what they see going on in the market.  Cushman & Wakefield CEO Bruce Mosler, left, says his firm had record revenue and profit in '07, via its 13,000 people in 215 offices in 59 countries.  He works hard on the side, too:  coaching his son David, 13, in the Yorkville basketball league during their 12-game schedule, every Saturday morning at 11:15.   With him, legendary Steve Spinola, president of REBNY for 21 years.  Factoid:  He loves tennis but hurt his wrist last summer, so now is transitioning to a life of golf, especially at the Garden City Country Club; he says one of the perks of his job is being able to play golf with people like Bill Rudin (see below).  He drives in 50 minutes from Brooklyn each morning at 6:45, listening to Sinatra and other pop standards.  Now you know everything!


Newmark Knight Frank CEO Barry Gosin and Rudin Management CEO Bill Rudin.  Barry doesn't just do tenant rep but has been an active investor in real estate many years.  He just found Bloomberg a new 450k SF headquarters at Lex and 59th, where Vornado is putting up a 75-story luxury mixed-use tower.  (Taller than the one Steve Ross is putting up at Columbus Circle and Donald Trump near the UN, but that's another story.)   As for Bill Rudin, he's a revered community figure who runs another huge and multi-generational family empire.  A lot of those in New York, have you noticed?  Hmm, something we here at Bisnow know nothing about, right Elliott?


CBRE Tri-State CEO Mary Anne Tighe cuts not only a powerful figure, but a fashionable one, too.  With her, Brookfield Properties CEO Ric Clark.  Ric's coming off a blowout '07 (I visited their World Financial Center properties, and basically you could fit the biggest DC buildings in any one of their lobbies).  But he's also a great dad:  He was late for a conference call a Sunday ago because he was making cheese sandwiches for his two young teenage daughters.

                                            * * *

Over and over people told me '07 in NYC was amazing, even the second half, but aren't so sure what '08 will bring.  Topic du jour: whether megaowner Harry Macklowe will be able to pay his $7 billion short term debt coming up in February; he's just put the GM building on the block (fully leased with rents up to $200SF), and some think it might get sell for as much as $2000 SF. Even with the R cloud overhead, there always seems to be some shiny side to the Apple.

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