“I’ve always felt that the best way to sell a product is by really understanding the product and to sell it from a position of confidence,” said Mr. Korren, 45, who has been married for 20 years to his wife, Donna, and has two young daughters. “The best way to sell from a position of confidence is having knowledge. I’m very interested in learning, and I’ve always been somebody who’s continued to learn during my career.”
In total, he has negotiated more than 830 leases representing over 5 million square feet of property during stints at such companies as the Witkoff Group and Rockrose Development, where he returned as a managing director in 2001. He also played a role in more than 20 acquisitions, with a combined value in excess of $1.2 billion, he said.
Last year, Mr. Korren and Swig Equities-where he has operated since 2004-completed capital-improvement projects at all seven of the company’s Lower Manhattan properties, including lobby and facade renovations at buildings such as 110 Williams Street and 90 Broad Street.
The capital-improvement projects were made easier thanks to a decision by Kent Swig in 2007 to take a break from acquiring new projects and instead to move to refinance Swig’s existing assets-a strategy that turned out to be prescient, said Mr. Korren.
“This was before you had the subprime crises,” Mr. Korren recalled. “Kent realized we needed to stop and get the properties leased up and stabilized so we could refinance them, and we did have a concern that there was going to be some sort of credit-induced crises that would affect our ability to refinance our properties over the next 24 months.”
But what Mr. Korren appears to be most passionate about these days is his work in Lower Manhattan and his efforts to draw new tenants to the area. Although many questions about construction at the World Trade Center have yet to be answered, Mr. Korren said that delays have not kept people from flocking to other areas of Lower Manhattan below Canal Street.
“What’s an interesting fact-and something I like to tell people-is that downtown Manhattan, excluding Tribeca, has the fastest-growing residential population within all five boroughs,” he said. “The fastest-growing residential population! It’s literally doubling since 2000. And that’s absolutely amazing.”
Mr. Korren said that he expects to announce what may be the largest transaction of the year within several weeks, when an undisclosed tenant signs a 120,000-foot lease at 110 William. But Mr. Korren, who is bullish on Lower Manhattan, suggested that the deal could be the first of many for Swig and its portfolio of downtown properties this year.
“Where the uncertainty still remains is the access to the subways, whether it be the Calatrava station or when the PATH station will be finished,” he said. “Those are really the questions people would like to have answered. But as those dates start to get firmly finalized, you’ll see people start to move back down here.”
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