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Five Keys For NYC's Supremacy

New York

What do Ed Minskoff, Lady Liberty, and Whitney Houston have in common?


They all have something to say about just how stable NYC commercial real estate's future looks, according to panelists at Bisnow's 4th Annual NYC Construction & Development Summit, for which 225 joined us at Minskoff's 51 Astor Place on Thursday.

1) Safe harbor


For those yearning to be free, NY Harbor is the place to be. That goes for businesspeople, too. Ed points out that people representing 146 nationalities live in NYC, and they can live and work here without concern that political change could wipe out their investments overnight.

2) The locals can hold their own


Foreign investment is the big story of late, but US residents are investing in NY, too. Mark says his firm expected 75% of the buyers at the Baccarat Hotel & Residences at Fifth and 53rd to be foreign, but buyers flipped that theory on its head. 65% of the unit owners turned out to be from the US.

3) The children are our future


Sing it with us: "Teach them well and let them lead the way." Our moderator, Zetlin & De Chiara's Michael De Chiara (with colleague Ray Mellon), says he feared financial institutions would flee for the suburbs after 9/11. But there are only two meccas for 25- to 40-year-olds, the employment pool's sweet spot: NY and London. "Everything in New York is set up to draw that crowd," he says. So if you want them to work for you, better be based here.

4) Tech's critical mass


When you see a homeless man with a computer in Starbucks (as Rockrose president Justin Elghanayan did Thursday morning in the Astor Place coffee shop), you know this city is fertile ground for the tech industry. And that's one of the reasons, he believes, that NYC is not bubble bound but instead is simply just a really good market. (If he's wrong, he can always strike this look and become a GQ model.)

5) 1,776 feet


The fifth reason NYC reigns supreme is quite literal: The Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat just deemed 1 WTC, which we snapped from 51 Astor's 12th floor, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.


The industry's perennial topic du jour is cost overruns, which LePatner & Associates' Barry LePatner (second from left, with moderator David Pfeffer of Tarter Krinsky, AKF Group CFO David Thornhill, and VOA Architecture's Brian McFarland) claims can be nipped in the bud if upfront time allows the design side to submit complete drawings before the project goes out to bid. David, though, contends that risk is priced in, and so while that could minimize change orders, initial pricing could rise. And Brian isn't sure his developer clients are ready for the speak-now-and-forever-hold-your-peace concept of signing off and then handing over plans to be built.

Check out plenty more pictures from the event here!