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5 Keys To Running A Successful Development Firm in NYC


The commercial real estate realm of New York sets the tone for the rest of the world. To paraphrase the Chairman of the Board, achieving success in NYC means you can succeed anywhere.

Bisnow spoke with Hidrock Properties managing director of development Joseph Ginex and CIO Eddie J. Hidary about the keys to running a smooth operation in the industry’s most competitive environment.

Hidrock has undertaken seven development projects in Manhattan and Brooklyn over the last three years, so both men had some very pertinent insights. They laid out five must-read tips:

1. Build The Right Team

Joseph tells Bisnow the key to any successful development team is selecting consultants that have experience in the specific property sector and level of luxury that you are targeting for your project.

Sometimes that can entail narrowing down the right fit from an expansive pool.

“We have a lot of experience working with different architects and designers who have expertise working in a multitude of assets ranging from select-service hotels to ultra-luxury condos and hotels,” Joseph says.

Failing to choose a team with the right experience could be a huge mistake.

2. Set Realistic Timing And Cost Expectations 

"In New York real estate, reputation is everything," Eddie says. "It's a small industry, even though it's a big city, and one thing we pride ourselves on is always being accurate when it comes to our timing, our budgets and our performance."

Eddie says underestimating costs can backfire, leading to unhappy lenders and partners when overages pop up. Overestimating costs and deadlines could lead to a deal falling through. 

The key to success is knowing what one's limits are, how to operate within them, and putting oneself in a position to potentially exceed them.

"You want to under promise and over perform," Joseph says. "Hidrock has been doing business with the same investors for 20 years. That speaks to the amount of importance we place on the reputation of being realistic."

3. Enable Your Architects To Create Imaginative, Achievable Designs

Quality architecture should combine functionality with a unique, signature look, but the ability to deliver both of those elements within the scope of the project is key.

“We’re an investment firm first and foremost,” Eddie says. “We care about the product but stick to the assignment. We don’t want to turn a Courtyard by Marriott into the Taj Mahal. It’s important to keep everyone grounded.”

Joseph echoed that, telling Bisnow Hidrock hammers out the scope of each project with its entire team at the inception of the development. The designers are always clear on exactly what they’re designing for and can deliver a top-notch result tailored to the unique boundaries of the assignment.

4. Prepare For The Unexpected

Anything can and will happen in New York real estate. If you’re reading this, that probably isn’t news to you. 

“As a real estate developer in Manhattan—which happens to be the most efficient market in the world, as far we’re concerned—you have to be quick on your feet and you have to be thick-skinned,” Joseph says.

Eddie agrees and says a thorough plan is key to success. 

“We plan out everything and schedule as best as we can,” he says. “It is development, there is construction involved, there is always something that comes up. Having a great team will help you overcome anything that comes up.

 5. Enjoy The Process

 “Anyone who has started and completed a development project knows that it usually takes between four and five years to finish—and that’s if things go well,” Eddie says. “It can take longer in some cases based on other influences to the project.”

Eddie tells Bisnow development in New York City is a marathon, not a sprint, and it's important to remember the big picture when obstacles and delays arise. 

“You know that you have to overcome each challenge in the proper manner in order to reach the ultimate destination,” Eddie says. “Keeping the larger picture in mind helps alleviate being burnt out on any particular project.” 

We love what we do and it’s in the best city in the world,” Joseph adds.