Last week, Forest City Enterprises confirmed what had become an open secret in New York real estate circles: MaryAnne Gilmartin would succeed Bruce Ratner as president and chief executive of the company’s New York subsidiary, Forest City Ratner Companies. Ms Gilmartin spoke with The Commercial Observer on the day of the announcement last week about the process of deciding on a succession plan, what she will bring to the table and how her ascension to the top of FCRC will impact the way women are viewed in the real estate industry.
Gary LaBarbara has an axe to grind with developers at City Point before they dig any deeper into Downtown Brooklyn.
In a move that could exacerbate friction that’s already occurring at the community level, the president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of New York thrashed the builders of the development project, claiming that they are “failing” to meet the needs of the community by instead catering to private interests.
“City Point is receiving vast amounts of public subsidies ranging from tax exempt bond financing to property tax abatements,” Mr. LaBarbera wrote in an op-ed that appeared in Real Estate Weekly yesterday. “But on a score central to responsible economic development for everyday New Yorkers — creating good jobs that strengthen local communities — City Point is failing.”
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.
Two years ago, Bruce Ratner sought to ease a shrinking budget and appease swarms of critics who lambasted the original rendering for a residential tower at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn as a “Lego-like” atrocity.
Like a frustrated schoolboy, he punted the plans to erect a set of oddly arranged giant blocks, shoving designer Frank Gehry Read More
“It was intended to be iconic,” MaryAnne Gilmartin said of the Barclays Center’s façade of undulating rusted steel just three months after the wildly controversial arena opened its doors.
But while the arena’s architecture aimed to lodge itself in the public consciousness, the Atlantic Yards development project, of which Barclays is the preening firstborn child, couldn’t have anticipated the discord it would ignite in the Brooklyn neighborhoods it promised to reactivate.
Year in Real Estate
Just when New York’s traditional geographic dividing lines were beginning to seem quaint, Hurricane Sandy made landfall and brought them back to light.
Downtown, which over the years had become harder and harder to distinguish from uptown, was plunged into darkness, sending the relatively young and vaguely creative well above 14th Street nosebleed territory in search of power. Only the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg Bridge stayed illuminated, a stark metaphor for the borough’s slow transformation into a contender.
But in commercial real estate, boundaries continued to disappear. In January, Condé Nast expanded its 1.05-million-square-foot lease at 1 World Trade Center by 138,773 square feet, helping lower Manhattan shed its stodgy finance-centric reputation and prompting slight panic among the owners of Midtown media canteens like Michael’s.
Hudson Realty Capital has funded a $9.1 million first mortgage secured by a Downtown Brooklyn office building. The loan will be used by the sponsor to lease up the 90,000-square-foot, class B office building and to convert portions of it into executive office suites.
The building, at 540 Atlantic Avenue, is in a prime spot, Read More
The Lawyers You Call
Jay Neveloff is a partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel whose practice is focused on real estate and other commercial transactions. His past and present client list includes Starwood Hotels, the owners of Starrett City, New York Life Insurance Co. and the Trump Organization. Mr. Neveloff spoke to The Commercial Observer last week about how land-use issues have evolved in the city over the past 10 years.
Forest City Ratner developer Bruce Ratner suffered one of the most dramatic drops in this year’s Power 100 (at least, without actually dropping out of the list), going from 48 in 2011 to 72 in 2012. But the Ohio-based company’s biggest critic, Norman Oder, insists the 24-rung fall was too much.
As the entertainment and media bubble grows, Andrew Kimball’s head begins to hurt.
“It makes me crazy when I hear an economist report on the sectors in the city and the manufacturing bubble is always shrinking,” said Mr. Kimball, president and chief executive of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp., the nonprofit tasked with managing the 300-acre site for New York City, which owns it. “But you see right next to it the entertainment and media bubble and those are expanding.”
Yesterday, Forest City Ratner developer Bruce Ratner escorted Commercial Observer staff writer Daniel Geiger and photographer Kiki Conway on a tour of the Atlantic Yards arena. While Mr. Ratner was evasive when faced with specific questions about the project and construction timeline, the pictures are revealing. Indeed, with arena seating now underway, and Read More
A chauffered Lexus LS sedan pulled up to the corner of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue and out slid Bruce Ratner from the back seat. He was 15 minutes late.
An NYU administrator is accusing the school for failing to honor her promotion after she claimed that then-New York University Schack Institute dean James Stuckey sexually harassed her in a 2011 incident, according to a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court.
Stephanie Bonadio, 34, alleges that Mr. Stuckey had “forcibly placed her hand on his crotch and his erect penis” while the two were discussing her recent promotion at a dinner at The Strip House on September 23, the suit says.
An Arena Grows in Brooklyn
Last week, The Observer looked at Bruce Ratner’s plans for a prefabricated Atlantic Yards project—whether he was serious about the project and whether he could achieve the steep 20 percent savings he claimed for the modular building process. A number of real estate professionals were skeptical on both counts, but they all pointed to the developers out-sized investment in prefab technology as an indicator of his seriousness. Now we know just how much of an investment that has been.
A group of Brooklyn residents who took part in a job training program tied to Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards development project claims they were given false promises of union membership at the end of the program, according to a Federal lawsuit filed yesterday.