The Lobby

REBNY Appoints ConEd’s John Banks Next President

John Banks

The Real Estate Board of New York picked John Banks, the vice president of government relations at Consolidated Edison, as its new president-elect, effective March 2, 2015, REBNY announced today.

Mr. Banks, who served in the Koch Administration and as a City Council staffer prior to assuming his current role at Con Edison in 2002, will replace current president Steven Spinola, who is stepping down after almost three decades as REBNY’s president. Read More

The Lobby

Spinola Retiring From REBNY After 2015

Steven Spinola

Longtime Real Estate Board of New York President Steven Spinola will retire at the end of 2015, the Financial Times reported today.

Mr. Spinola, 65, has led the trade group and influential real estate advocacy organization since 1986, and he called the reports of his departure “premature” in a message to the organization’s board of governors while acknowledging that the recent extension he signed through the end of next year will be his last. Read More

concrete thoughts

To REBNY With Love


If you are a regular reader of Concrete Thoughts, you know that I think networking is extremely valuable for participants in our commercial real estate market.

One of the main benefits of networking is getting to meet people face-to-face and developing relationships that are lasting and lead to business opportunities. One of the best trade organizations through which to network is the Real Estate Board of New York.

This week, REBNY is holding its 117th annual banquet, so I thought it appropriate to recognize the tremendous work that the board does on behalf of our industry. Not only does REBNY provide tremendous networking opportunities, it’s also a leading advocate for our industry. Read More


IN-SPEYER-ING: Tishman Speyer President Rob Speyer on REBNY

Rob Speyer

In July, the Real Estate Board of New York announced that Rob Speyer, 43, president and co-CEO of Tishman Speyer, would succeed Mary Ann Tighe to become its youngest chairman ever. Stepping in this month, he is the third successive generation of his family to hold the post—also a first in the organization’s 117-year history. Though he might have a reputation as being media-shy, Mr. Speyer’s success in real estate is no secret—his company has completed $6 billion in new transactions and raised $4.5 billion of new equity since 2010. Mr. Speyer sat down with The Commercial Observer last week for a rare interview to discuss his new appointment, his agenda for REBNY in 2013, following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps, and the best way forward for New York City as global competition ramps up.  

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REBNY 2013

REBNY Officers Look Back And Ahead, Bet On Mayor’s Race, Midtown East Rezoning

old headlines for web

The new year ushered in a shaken-up hierarchy to the Real Estate Board of New York.

Tishman Speyer President Rob Speyer has replaced Mary Ann Tighe as chairman. Mr. Speyer, 43, is the youngest chairman in the board’s 117-year history, and will inherit the position from the first female to ever hold it. Despite his youth, Mr. Speyer has history on his side: he’s the third generation of his family to be named REBNY chair.

Mr. Speyer’s combination of youth and lineage is well-suited to an organization that in 2012 faced fresh, modern challenges whose resolutions required the full weight of the influence REBNY has accrued over the past century. Hurricane Sandy caused unprecedented damage to coastal areas of the city and its transportation system, not to mention the related electric grid failure. And while major storms are nothing new, they seem on course to increase in size and frequency. Read More

The Sit-Down

Four More Years? CBRE’s Matt Van Buren on First 16 Months as Pres.

Matt Van Buren.

In August 2011, Matt Van Buren took the reins as CBRE’s tristate president, a position held until then by Mr. Van Buren’s friend and mentor Mitch Rudin. Since then, the brokerage veteran’s responsibilities have expanded to include operations across Long Island, Connecticut, Upstate New York, Northern New Jersey and, of course, the five boroughs of New York City. The Commercial Observer caught up with Mr. Van Buren four months after his one-year anniversary to discuss the goals he has accomplished, what lies ahead for CBRE and his predictions on Manhattan’s most formidable market, Midtown. Read More

Shameless Promotions

Masters of Real Estate Event Breaks Record

Jared Kushner.

Featuring an all-star line up of the city’s most formidable real estate professionals, this year’s annual Masters of Real Estate fetched a record 450 RSVPs, The Commercial Observer has learned.

Observer Media Group executives began preparing for the event, now in its third year, six months in advance with an eye toward creating an eclectic mix of speakers. Larry Silverstein of Silverstein Properties, Michael Fascitelli of Vornado, William Rudin of Rudin Management, Jeff Blau of Related Companies and Glenn Rufrano of Cushman & Wakefield are all scheduled to appear. Rob Speyer of Tishman Speyer bowed out.

Jared Kushner, the owner of The Commercial Observer and president of Kushner Companies, will lead the event with remarks. Read More

The Lobby, REBNY

Rob Speyer Named Next REBNY Chairman

Rob Speyer

Rob Speyer will be the Real Estate Board of New York’s next chairman, the powerful professional association and lobbying group announced this afternoon.

Mr. Speyer, the president and co-CEO of the real estate investment firm Tishman Speyer, will take the position in January when the current chairwoman, Mary Ann Tighe, steps down. Read More


All the Governor’s Men [and Women]


A select group of supporters of Governor Andrew Cuomo, 20 in number, raised around $17 million to help support the Governor’s agenda, as was first reported by The New York Times Sunday.

The group, called the Committee to Save New York, provided money to help support Governor Cuomo’s first 18 months in office, even funding a pro-Cuomo media campaign to help counter a barrage of anti-Cuomo advertisements funded by labor unions. Read More


Walking the REBNY Ballroom: Hungry Brokers, Angry Lapidus

1173 REBNY 116th Annual Banquet, 1.19.12

Speeches were casually ignored, drinks were spilled and bonds were formed at last Thursday’s 116th annual Real Estate Board of New York Gala, which this year drew an estimated 2,000 brokers, owners, advertising buyers and real estate reporters to the New York Hilton for an evening of conviviality, honorifics and hushed deal making. Among the fray was Commercial Observer staff writer Daniel Geiger, who during the course of the evening saw his stenopad tossed by an irate real estate broker and who unabashedly accosted Studley’s Woody Heller in the hotel’s bathroom, all for the sake of the story. Below, a timeline of gala comings and goings, from the innocuous gossip down to the downright obnoxious.  Read More

The Selling of Stuy Town

To flip through the pages of the 2006 offering book for potential buyers of the 11,200-apartment Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village-a deal that has devolved into the largest individual property default in modern history-is to immerse oneself in an historical delusion, one that, from today’s privileged vantage point, appears as likely as Read More