The Lobby

Forest City Ratner Confirms Succession Plans

MaryAnne Gilmartin

Forest City Ratner Companies today confirmed what has long been understood in New York real estate circles: MaryAnne Gilmartin will succeed Bruce Ratner as president and chief executive officer of the development company.

Mr. Ratner, 68, will serve as the executive chairman of FCRC, stepping aside so that Ms. Gilmartin, executive vice president of commercial and residential development, can take over.

“I’m exhilarated by the notion of being able to partner with Bruce going forward, but I know business,” Ms. Gilmartin told The Commercial Observer in a telephone interview. “I am a developer at heart so Bruce and I are like-minded in terms of the importance of civic building and community and how we create great places.” Read More


Midtown’s Westward Expansion Offers a Modern Crack at Manifest Destiny


Like the westward expansion that gripped the nation during the early to mid-1800’s, the expansion of Midtown Manhattan offers the city’s commercial real estate pioneers a modern crack at manifest destiny.

The trajectory of Midtown’s new building stock over the last seven decades tells a story of westward expansion that most recently struck Midtown West with the Hudson Yards development project.

“Hudson Yards really is the last frontier,” said James Delmonte, principal and vice president of research at Avison Young.  “Firms are looking for newer product and larger floor plates, largely because there really is no available land on the east side.” Read More

The Lobby

It’s True: Bruce Ratner to Step Down as Forest City CEO


Bruce Ratner is stepping down as CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies, a source tied to the organization tells The Commercial Observer, confirming rumors that have been swirling around the industry for the past year.

Mr. Ratner, 68, will step aside this winter, assuming the role of company chairman and putting MaryAnne Gilmartin, the firm’s current executive vice president of development and leasing, at the helm of the firm’s day-to-day operations, the source said.

“It’s been in the works for a significant amount of time… over the last year or so,” the source said.  “Everyone knows Bruce is a mentor to her (Ms. Gilmartin) and that she was being groomed for the role.”

“The stories are accurate,” he added, referring to the string of media reports that followed suit after an initial report published in Crain’s yesterday.

The decision begs the question of whether the man behind the Barclays Center and Metrotech Center in Brooklyn, and the 52-Story marvel and home to The New York Times at 620 Eighth Avenue, has simply had enough of the day-to-day squabbles that characterized the last decade of his tenure at the firm. Read More


W.P. Carey & Co. Founder, Real Estate Legend: R.I.P.

Wm. Polk Carey, 1930-2012

Wm. “Bill” Polk Carey, founder and chairman of investment management firm W.P. Carey & Co. that specialized in the acquisition and management of single-tenanted commercial real estate, died yesterday of natural causes at a Florida hospital, his company announced.

He was 81.

In 2009, W.P. Carey & Co. paid $225 million for 21 floors at the New York Times Building at 620 Eighth Avenue under a sale-leaseback arrangement, with the newspaper agreeing to lease out space in the building for up to 15 years. Read More

Lease Beat

Egads! More Lease Backslapping Among Lawyers

It’s bonus season for legal eagles and word is they’re faring a lot better than the I-bankers. And so while other industries struggle, another law firm moves up in the world.

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney P.C. will relocate from the outer reaches of respectability, at 620 Eighth Avenue, to some sophisticated Sixth Avenue space. The Read More