David Berliner has been named chief operating officer of Forest City Ratner Companies, it was announced earlier today. Mr. Berliner had formerly been serving as general counsel for the development company.
“David has long been a valuable member of the executive team with a thorough knowledge of the entire company,” MaryAnne Gilmartin, newly-appointed president and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement. “As Chief Operating Officer, he will be a key member of my leadership team and a great partner as I take over the day-to-day responsibilities of the company.”
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.
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.”
Before Jeremy Moss, senior vice president of leasing at Silverstein Properties, joined the firm four and a half years ago, he spent eight years working at Forest City Ratner, a tenure that culminated in a role managing the leasing of the office space at the New York Times building. He called working alongside Bruce Ratner Read More
Last week, news that Bruce Ratner would be stepping down as chief executive officer of Forest City Ratner rippled through the real estate industry, even as others in New York wondered aloud what it would mean for the company’s
yet-to-be-completed Atlantic Yards project.
After the jump, a brief and incomplete timeline of Mr. Ratner’s career and life.
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.
Thursday’s Real Estate Board of New York gala packed an estimated 2,400 guests into the Hilton New York’s overstuffed Grand Ballroom—an increase from last year by about 200. The Commercial Observer walked the room, hobnobbed with brokers and landlords and taste-tested a dinner of steak and potatoes while washing it all down with a few stiff drinks. Staff Reporters Karsten Strauss and Al Barbarino get the inside dish.
“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.
Faith Hope Consolo omits names but doesn’t mince words when she describes her visits to Real Estate Board of New York meetings in the late 1980s.
“I once walked into a Stores Committee conference. Back then it was this little club. And some bozo—I won’t say who—said, ‘What are you doing here? Why don’t you try residential real estate?’” said Ms. Consolo, chairman of the retail group at Douglas Elliman.
Rosemary Scanlon, dean of NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, recalls some incredulous replies when she told people she was an economist. “They’d look at me and—in all seriousness—say ‘Oh, home economics. You must be a good cook,’” said Ms. Scanlon.
Upon hearing that Jennifer Carey, president of the Association of Real Estate Women and JLC Environmental Consultants, had majored in biology in college, “people all assumed I was a nurse,” said Ms. Carey.
Week In Review
Prefabricated buildings have not been such a hot topic of conversation since Buckminster Fuller passed away, but that is about all anyone can talk about at Atlantic Yards anymore. On the one hand, it could signal a paradigm shift in how New York City builds; on the other, it goes against many of the employment promises Forest City Ratner made when the project won support from politicians and labor unions.
The recession, the credit crunch and the inherent difficulty of building in the most densely settled city in America: These are just a few of the challenges that have dogged the Atlantic Yards project since its announcement, in December 2003. Add to these general obstacles a small group of litigious opponents who vowed Read More