Real Estate’s Biggest Philanthropists, Annotated


Last week, Stephen Ross, chairman of Related Companies, became the latest signatory of the Giving Pledge. The campaign, an effort to invite the world’s wealthiest individuals to pledge to donate half of their wealth—or more—to philanthropic causes, was started by two of America’s richest men: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

Mr. Ross, worth $4.4 billion according to Forbes, is perhaps best known in philanthropic circles for his $100 million donation to the business school at the University of Michigan, his alma mater.

The donation, the largest ever to an American business school, resulted in its renaming as the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Inspired by Mr. Ross’s pledge, The Commercial Observer checked in on the philanthropic efforts of other real estate titans. Read More


Observer Media’s Masters of Real Estate, Minute by Minute by Minute

CO 11-13, Postings Page 22

More than 300 real estate professionals crowded the Metropolitan Club early Thursday morning, despite snow-covered sidewalks, for the Observer Media Group’s third annual Masters of Real Estate forum.

Sponsored by Fried Frank and Marks Paneth & Shron, the event drew boldface names like Larry Silverstein and Mortimer Zuckerman, who spoke about the devastation wrought by Sandy, not to mention financiers like Angelo Gordon & Co.’s Adam Schwartz and Rockpoint Group’s Keith Gelb, who weighed in on opportunistic investments.

Below, reporter Al Barbarino walks the room and listens in on the panels, striving to put his finger on the commercial real estate industry’s pulse, minute by minute. Read More


Daily News’s 4 New York Plaza Offices Could Be Uninhabitable for a Year


It could be up to a year before the New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report are allowed back into their 4 New York Plaza headquarters, which were “wiped out” by Hurricane Sandy, Mortimer B. Zuckerman said today.

Like many companies in Lower Manhattan, both publications were forced to relocate after 11-foot tidal surges caused flooding and electrical outages in the area.

“We have just leased some other space for nine months to a year just to make sure that we can keep the magazine and the newspaper going,” the chairman of Boston Properties said at the Observer Media Group‘s Masters of Real Estate conference. “We suffered dramatically on the publishing side because the U.S. News and the Daily News offices were at the southernmost part of Manhattan and their offices were just destroyed.” Read More

2012 Owners Magazine

New York City’s Commercial Real Estate Dynasties: The Next Generation

September 4, 2012 (4)

On a recent late-summer conference call, William Rudin, Michael Rudin and Samantha Rudin Earls—three members of one of New York City’s most venerable commercial real estate families—were engaged in a bit of dactylonomy.

The three weren’t trying to come up with the number of buildings currently in the family’s commercial and residential portfolio, but rather were adding up the number of family members currently working at the company.

“That’s two, four …” Some names were mumbled. After a little back and forth, they settled on nine.
In a city known for the prominence of a handful of families in commercial real estate, single names like Rudin, Durst, Rose, Muss and LeFrak have come to symbolize the industry. These families have survived the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression while witnessing, along with the rest of us, the rise of real estate investment trusts, the top three of which now have a combined New York portfolio of roughly 67.6 million square feet.

In a era when the word ‘dynasty’ is often overused and left to trail behind words like—let’s face it—‘sports’ or ‘Kardashian,’ it finds true meaning when one surveys these biggest families in New York commercial real estate. Many of them, after all, are generations old and still control vast portfolios of properties while wielding the type of power that only comes with reputation and recognition. Read More

Real Estate Titans Gather, Express Commercial Confidence

Amid increasingly apocalyptic prophecies about the fate of  New York’s commercial property market, more than a dozen “Masters of Real Estate” convened at the Metropolitan Club on Tuesday for an eponymous conference hosted by The Observer devoted to making sense of the market’s troubles. The major players appear to have emerged from the Read More