Mr. Gerla said he works to get clients to donate some of their vacant space to students involved in an arts group Downtown.
Then there is the leasing itself. Silverstein’s 7 World Trade Center is nearly full, leased to a roster of tenants that includes Moody’s and Ameriprise Financial. Nearby 3 and 4 World Trade Center are expected to be ready for tenant occupancy by the end of 2014 and 2013 respectively. A major tenant is being sought for 3. Asked if the shifting makeup of area tenants has made for any sleepless nights, Mr. Gerla referenced the interest that each has garnered and the love that he has for the job.
“It’s our business—you adapt to the conditions you’re dealt,” he said. “I don’t think it’s challenging at all. I love what I do.”
He added that there is a lot of interest at the moment in 4 World Trade Center. “We are active for 3 and 4 for major media firms and major social media firms, advertising, entertainment … The bottom line is, for those particular buildings it’s not about location, location, location anymore. It’s about quality, quality, quality. And tenants of that size and that sophistication want new product.”
Tenant construction in Tower 4 begins toward the middle of 2013, and though there are no contracts signed, Mr. Gerla said that his office has “a lot of proposals and a lot of negotiating back and forth,” from tenants that run the gamut—insurance, media, and tech.
“We never saw the advertising agencies downtown, we never saw the media,” Mr. Gerla pointed out. One such media deal, for the Daily News, earned Mr. Gerla and colleague Howard Fiddle a 2010 nomination for the Real Estate Board of New York’s Deal of the Year award.
The Commercial Observer asked Mr. Gerla how he unwinds? We already knew the answer: golf. We offered the response on his behalf and acknowledged that a cursory Google search of him brought up a 2009 New York Times article that featured an image of him teeing off at the Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton, Conn.
“They were redoing our club and I guess they were doing an article about redoing clubs in Connecticut and the Times wrote an article and I just happened to be on the tee box when they were walking through,” he offered. “But I’m a lacrosse player. I still play.”
In addition to skiing, basketball and golf, he plays lacrosse—seemingly really well. His team—the Elder Statesmen—have picked up tournament wins in an over-50 league. “We’ve actually won all our tournaments,” Mr. Gerla said, before reeling off a list of far-flung locations where over-50 lacrosse tournaments are held each year. The list includes Vail, Lake Placid and Fort Lauderdale, where in January the Elder Statesmen were crowned the 2012 Grand Masters National Champions.
It’s real, full-contact lacrosse as well, although, as Mr. Gerla concedes, “you’re playing against other 50 and over guys, so it’s not like you’ve got some young guy who is going to wipe you out.”
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