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Power Broker

Power Broker

Daniel Libeskind Memorializes, Moves Forward

Daniel Libeskind

World Trade Center master planner Daniel Libeskind’s office library contains nearly a dozen bookcases filled with books about philosophy, religious studies, history, travel, literature, art, architecture, design and other fields and genres. And when Commercial Observer visited Studio Daniel Libeskind three blocks south of the trade center site, he described the necessity in his work of the same four components Herman Melville wishes for in Moby Dick: time, strength, cash and patience.

He had invoked the same line a few days days earlier during a trade center construction update event at 4 World Trade Center timed for the week of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The four necessities have helped rebuild the site where 2,753 New Yorkers lost their lives and fulfill the vision that guided the nation-sized group of stakeholders to the site’s current status, he told a room full of local and international media outlets and several of the interested parties themselves. Read More

Power Broker

David Ehrenberg On Overseeing the Brooklyn Navy Yard

David Ehrenberg. (Lea Rubin Photography)

The first thing David Ehrenberg sees as he approaches his workplace, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, is Building 77. In his rearview mirror, the last thing Mr. Ehrenberg sees as he departs each day is that 960,000-square-foot under-construction building.

“That creates a level of ownership,” said Mr. Ehrenberg last week as he gave Commercial Observer a tour of the 300-acre waterfront industrial campus that the city owns and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Corporation manages. That sense of ownership is one of the aspects of the job that piqued Mr. Ehrenberg’s interest when he was tapped for the president and chief executive officer positions at the non-profit organization by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the summer of 2013. He was then reappointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Read More

Power Broker

Brokering Insurance and Real Estate Advocacy

Robert Morris

When a lender required more endorsements from real estate investment and operating company Madison Capital in order to close a large transaction one snowy Friday, the company with $2.1 billion in 21 New York City assets faced a problem: the underwriters’ offices were closed. That’s when Robert Morris of the Rampart Group, whose friends call him Robby, sprang into action. The insurance broker and president at the full-service insurance company that his grandfather started in 1965 took matters into his own hands and drove his car to the underwriters’ house through a snowstorm to get the necessary endorsements. The transaction closed the following Monday.

Mr. Morris, CLU, LUTCF, a 42-year-old married father of three, connects real estate clients with carriers of all types of insurance. But he also takes to the airwaves and the papers to warn of potential trouble on the horizon for his clients. With concerns about the New York state Scaffold Law, warnings about the Washington maneuverings around the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Act reauthorization and cautionary words of wisdom on the dangers of hacking, Mr. Morris is touching on issues that affect the entire real estate industry even as the affable Long Island native equips property owners with protections.  Read More

Power Broker

Brokering the Diamond District, New York City’s Crown Jewel

Diamond Ring

In a vault in the middle of the stretch of West 47th Street between Avenue of the Americas and Fifth Avenue that’s known as the Diamond District, a longtime merchant keeps his literal crown jewels: a set designed in the 18th century for the French royal family. The jewelry salesman and collector places the value of the tiara, bracelet, necklace and earrings with origins in the Bourbon-Medici clan at $1 million, but those jewels are not for sale, he says. He says he plans to donate the piece to a museum someday, and his employees show off less pricey merchandise like a $650,000 choker and a $565,000 necklace. If those items seem too expensive, a store employee tells Commercial Observer, he’s happy to point out items that sell for closer to $500,000. Read More

Power Broker

AIA New York Chapter Leaders Preach Public Space

Rick Bell and Lance Jay Brown

Near the end of Commercial Observer’s visit to the Center for Architecture in the South Village, Lance Jay Brown of the American Institute of Architects’ New York Chapter excused himself for a moment to approach a group of students. The teenagers were in front of a picture of the Occupy Wall Street crowds of 2011 at Zuccotti Park discussing how to create public spaces as part of one of the museum’s hundreds of annual programs for local students and residents. Far from interjecting to discuss his local, national or international urban design experience, Mr. Brown grinned and tiptoed toward the powwow to snap a picture of the engaged youngsters with his cell phone without disturbing the conversation. Then the 71-year-old president of the influential founding chapter of AIA shook hands with one of the group’s leaders, and, a few moments later, pedaled away from the center on a bicycle. Read More

Power Broker

Down to a Science: John Cahill of Colliers International

John Cahill of Colliers. (Aaron Adler)

As the son of a doctor and a nurse, broker John Cahill may have been predestined to work in the medical field in one form or another. Fresh out of Syracuse University, the New York native first chose pharmaceutical sales as his field of choice.

Initially lacking the required experience, Mr. Cahill spent one year at ADP learning the ropes of a sales role and in the process picking up both his employer’s Rookie of the Year award and an expense-paid trip to Hawaii. Read More

Power Broker

The Nonbroker Broker

Robert Dankner. (Lea Rubin)

Robert Dankner’s PR person calls him the “nonbroker broker.”

That moniker seems fitting for the 53-year-old co-founder and president of Prime Manhattan Residential, who looks more like an artist than a broker and whose real estate business really is a commercial-residential hybrid.  Read More

Power Broker

An Electrical Draftsman and Salesman, James Famularo was Primed for CRE

James Famularo. (Aaron Adler)

James Famularo is so much a part of the restaurant world’s fabric that chef Michael Guerrieri named a sandwich after him.

Mr. Famularo’s namesake hero, James, is served at City Sandwich for $9.95. Sadly, Mr. Famularo has never tried it since he’s not a fan of roast beef. But last week he ticked off a number of other sandwiches he loves at the eatery, which has a special place in his heart. Read More

Power Broker

Ed Hogan’s Making Manhattan’s Newest Shopping District

Ed Hogan. (Will O'Hare Photography)

It would seem that Ed Hogan’s job at Brookfield Place is nearly complete, but the national director of retail leasing for Brookfield Office Properties told Commercial Observer last week that a new phase is just beginning.

The 35,000-square-foot, 600-seat food hall Hudson Eats is open and nearly leased up, with counters taken by Blue Ribbon Sushi, Sprinkles cupcakes and others. The 25,000-square-foot (plus 10,000-square-foot outdoor area) Le District marketplace is fully leased by HPH restaurant group partners Peter Poulakakos and Paul Lamas. And the 250,000-square-foot retail center is 90 percent spoken for. Read More

Power Broker

Staying Power: Bruce Mosler of Cushman & Wakefield

Bruce Mosler. (Lea Rubin)

The list of chief executives who have stayed involved with a company for a significant period of time after leaving the CEO role is a short one. According to consulting firm RHR International, just 50 percent of departing CEOs stay involved with a company as a member of the board, and even then only for an average period of eight months.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Bruce Mosler has defied those statistics. The real estate firm’s chairman of global brokerage is still at C&W four years after stepping down as chief executive. Read More

Power Broker

Tom Donovan: Massey Knakal’s King of Queens

Tom Donovan. (Photo: Arman Dzidzovic)

To say Massey Knakal’s Tom Donovan knows Queens like the back of his hand might be an understatement–so much so that his colleagues call him “MapQuest” when it comes to the borough.

He derived his GPS-like abilities from delivering pizzas across Queens as a youth, and later as an NYPD cop patrolling the borough’s streets. Read More

Power Broker

Lee & Associates’ Harlem Shakers

Stan Lindenfeld and Henry Goldfarb

Mr. Goldfarb grew up on Rivington Street on the Lower East Side back when people sat on their stoops for entertainment, when you knew everyone in the neighborhood by name, and before the cramped, railroad-style tenements stretching from South to 15th Streets were razed and turned into projects. Read More

Power Broker

Mega Millions: Sam Sidhu of Megalith Capital Management

Sam Sidhu. (Sasha Maslov)

Deep in the midst of the market downturn, Samvir Sidhu, a veteran of Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity, was thinking about where he could capitalize once the market inevitably turned. Examining real estate, the native Pennsylvanian identified the residential and multifamily sectors as areas of opportunity.

With his strategy in mind, Mr. Sidhu, who goes by Sam, began raising money from family offices and other high-net-worth investors for a real estate investment fund shortly after leaving Providence Equity. In 2009, Megalith Capital Management was born. Read More