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13 Commercial Real Estate Execs On Why They Love City Skylines (Part 2)

    San Francisco's skyline, including 181 Freemont condominium complex

    Skylines are so beloved that when Bisnow asked commercial real estate professionals to describe what they loved most about their city's skyline, we received dozens of responses. 

    This is Part 2 of our memorable skyline series, featuring feedback from 13 execs from around the country. 

    Check out the first installment here.

    Los Angeles

    Los Angeles skyline

    “Downtown Los Angeles’ skyline represents progress and evolution to me. Until the 1950s, you could not build taller than 13 stories. While Los Angeles has natural beauty, the skyline was not much to speak of. Now, projects like Circa, my twin 35-story luxury apartment towers, represent that progress and the path to the future for Downtown LA. Until this cycle, most of the towers were strictly office-based, but now many new residential towers are popping up, creating a 24-7 lifestyle that did not exist before.”

    — Hankey Investment Co. President and CEO Scott Dobbins

    “Around the world, skylines are used to make an indelible mark on the sky — producing building definition and a sense of 'there' in the heart of any well-known city. When traveling to New York, Miami, Hong Kong or Singapore, you can clearly see that city’s skyline because it’s so defined. In LA, 15 or 20 years ago, we’d see three or four high-rise towers with lots of space between them and call that Downtown LA. Now, we have a more defined view of Downtown LA’s skyline with the build of high-rises like the U.S. Bank Tower and Wilshire Grand; but we also have emerging submarkets such as Beverly Hills and Hollywood that are adding to the skyline. Even with our project, the Four Seasons Private Residences Los Angeles, we’re changing the LA skyline in a meaningful and noticeable way — by building with quality materials while maintaining a light, contemporary feel. Once this project is complete, everyone will be able to see it from my favorite lookout — Sunset Boulevard. When you take in a panoramic view of the skyline, you’ll see the beautiful residences property among the rest of L.A.’s changing landscape. Seeing this building come alive in the night sky, as a part of the L.A. skyline, will be the most rewarding feeling to me.”

    — Genton Property Group founder and CEO Jonathan Genton

    “The City of Los Angeles has many submarkets that contribute to the breathtaking skyline. From Beverly Hills and Century City to Hollywood and Pasadena, there are numerous locations to stop and take in the views of LA. Subsequently, when anyone looks at the rest of LA from the historic Downtown core, atop buildings such as the U.S. Bank Tower, Wilshire Grand or Oceanwide Plaza, a new sense of fulfillment of living in — or visiting — LA surfaces. Having lived and worked in LA for more than 30 years, my favorite place to take in LA’s skyline is atop the U.S. Bank Tower. The 360-degree unparalleled views are nothing short of magic.”  

    — Kennedy Wilson Executive Vice President of Brokerage Lee Shapiro  


    Long Beach, California

    Long Beach, California, skyline

    “Cities are always changing, and it’s exciting to play a part in the development of Downtown Long Beach. Our mission is to create more livable, sustainable and engaging cities that support the future and collective well-being of the communities we serve. Our team has played a role in not only shaping the Downtown Long Beach skyline, but [also] has continued to make major street improvements throughout the entire city. Through our work at The Streets — which has spurred more than $15M in new investment for the City of Long Beach — and the implementation of The Parklet Program, [in addition to] adding new means of dining along the street, our team has been able to increase foot traffic and create a thriving, engaging and vibrant downtown.”

    — Studio One Eleven AIA Senior Principal and Architect Michael Bohn


    “If you look at photos of Miami’s skyline and compare it to that of 10 and 20 years ago, you’d be shocked at how much has changed. What was once empty or crane-filled is now flanked by true works of art by Pritzker Prize award-winning architects — it’s incredible. For us at Related, it brings us one step closer to completing our vision. Skylines serve [as] identifiers for every city, and I have a great deal of pride in knowing that our projects will leave a lasting imprint on ours.”

    – The Related Group President of Condominium Development Carlos Rosso

    “When you think of major cities and their skylines, there are always standout projects that define them. New York has the Empire State Building, Seattle has the Space Needle and Miami will have One Thousand Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects. This is such an important project, not only because of its visibility and impact on Miami’s skyline, but because it’s one of the last projects Zaha personally worked on. We’re proud to have her legacy live on through this building, and as part of Miami’s ever-evolving skyline.”

    – Louis Birdman Architect founder and One Thousand Museum Co-Developer Louis Birdman

    New York City

    13 Commercial Real Estate Execs On Why They Love City Skylines  (Part 2)

    “40 Central Park South, one of the last buildings built before World War II, sits smack in the middle of Central Park South. Its views stretch all the way to Yankee Stadium. Central Park is truly an oasis in the middle of New York City, and our park-facing apartment enjoys views that show the entire splendor of the park. The surrounding skyline is a spectacular mix of some of the most magnificent architecture in New York, along with many of the city’s most iconic Manhattan buildings. For me, the skyline has so many stories to tell. I love remembering the history, and looking toward the future as I watch the seasons change.”

    — ATCO Properties & Management Co-President Kate Goodman

    “The Manhattan skyline is home to some of the most striking and memorable buildings in the world. Who can forget the Chrysler Building, the Woolworth Building and the Empire State Building? These spires gave way to more rectangular towers and we have also seen more interesting shapes such as the Citicorp Building and One World Trade. We have recently seen low-rise 'chicklet buildings' and more striking shapes such as the hyperbolic paraboloid on 57th Street and the far west side. We are about to see twin twisted towers along the High Line. Other buildings changing the skyline with rectangular or trapezoidal shapes include One Bryant Park and One Vanderbilt. The demand for outdoor spaces on upper floors is also influencing the design of buildings. While tall buildings do impact light and cause shadows, these iconic buildings make for a striking skyline and provide far more style than the homogeneous skyline of D.C. and other cities with strict height limits. Clearly those cities that allow tall buildings also have more striking skylines and the benefits are meaningful.”

    — Kinn Real Estate Counselors LLC partner William Kinn

    Oakland, California

    Oakland, California

    "The form of the urban skyline is an extremely important component of a city’s image. A city skyline can be a measure of growth and success. It also defines the character of the city. The architecture of the buildings reflects the values of the city and its citizens — from more traditional to contemporary and modern. Renowned city form author Gordon Cullen said: 'One building standing alone in the countryside is experienced as a work of architecture, but bring half a dozen buildings together and an art other than architecture is made possible.'”

    — KTGY Architecture + Planning Oakland principal Jessica Musick


    “Center City rises like Oz from the flat plains of Philadelphia neighborhoods. Thus, the skyline is iconic from every compass point.”

    — BLTA principal Michael Prifti

    San Francisco

    “San Francisco’s skyline today is quite exciting because it speaks to how the city has become globally important. It expresses the new density of the downtown and it relates to our major transportation hub, and the philosophy of transit-oriented, sustainable development.”

    — Heller Manus Architects President and founder Jeffrey Heller

    St. Louis

    “St. Louis is really dominated by one object, the Gateway Arch, which is truly incredible, although it is technically not a building in our terminology or a tower. It’s basically a giant sculpture.”

    — Council On Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Editor Daniel Safarik

    Washington, D.C.

    900 16th Street Office building’s roof deck provides views of the Washington Monument

    “D.C.’s skyline is actually emerging, not in D.C. itself, but in the close-in suburbs including Roslyn, Bethesda and Tysons. For me, skylines traditionally provide identities for places of commerce. While Washington, D.C. may not have a skyline in the traditional sense of the word, its architecture is about celebrating the history of our country. Just like Paris, Washington, D.C., provides shoulder-to-shoulder buildings, walkability and a friendly environment to all who visit and live there.”

    — Cooper Carry principal David Kitchens

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