L&L Holding Company’s development of 425 Park Avenue may be the company’s current marquee project, but the firm, which chairman and CEO David Levinson co-founded with Robert Lapidus in 2000, continues to make a mark on Midtown South. In January, L&L purchased 114 Fifth Avenue in a $165 million joint venture, planning to model it after 200 Fifth Avenue, a thriving symbol of Midtown South’s bull real estate market. Mr. Levinson, 64, who owns a stake in the New York Yankees, spoke with The Commercial Observer about Midtown South, the threat of bomb attacks and the Bronx Bombers.
It will be two years ago this summer that Matt Van Buren succeeded Mitch Rudin as CBRE’s tristate president. The Commercial Observer spoke with Mr. Van Buren about the state of the region—and of the Yankees—as the area prepares to emerge from its long, cold winter of discontent.
Since taking over as CBRE’s tristate president, what has been your biggest accomplishment and biggest setback?
I took over for a tristate region office that was in really good condition following Mitch Rudin’s presidency. The biggest accomplishment has been keeping that momentum going forward. When you’re number one, the goal is to stay number one. And we’ve been able to do that. Staying number one is one of the great unsung stories of the world. That’s why I respect the 2000 Yankees so much. [Laughs]
You run CBRE’s offices in Midtown, Downtown, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey and Connecticut. Do the fortunes of the different metro area hubs often diverge or does a rising tide lift all boats?
To a certain degree it does. Although the highs are higher and the lows are lower in Manhattan. If you look at rents and availability statistics, Connecticut, Westchester, New Jersey and Long Island vary in a fairly narrow range even from boom to bust.
Frankly, New York will always have lower availability. But the prices will fluctuate high and low if you took a percentage off of a norm.
About nine years ago right around St. Patrick’s Day, Kevin Cummings did something he always told people he mentored never to do.
“I changed my career because I took a call from a headhunter,” he said.
Mr. Cummings, who had spent 26 years at the independent accounting firm KPMG LLP, was asked if he could refer anyone for a chief operating officer position at Investors Savings Bank. Familiar as he was with the bank—it was one of his clients during his time as an audit partner in KPMG’s financial services practice and in the New Jersey community bank practice—he decided the best candidate he could nominate would be himself.