Power Broker

Power Broker

Family Matters: Tara Stacom on 1 World Trade Center

Tara Stacom. (Credit: Cushman & Wakefield)

The Stacom name has become almost synonymous with the country’s biggest real estate projects and deals. The foundations of that reputation were laid back in 1962 when the late Matthew Stacom brokered the sale of the development site that would become the Sears Tower, the Chicago office property that would later be declared North America’s tallest building.

Mr. Stacom’s daughters, Tara and Darcy, grew up with a constant reminder of their father’s landmark transaction: a photo of the Sears Tower on the wall of the family’s home. Read More

Power Broker

Welcome to the Big Leagues: Andrew Scandalios Makes HFF a Contender

Andrew Scandalios, senior managing director at HFF. (Credit: Elizabeth Graham)

With competitors like CBRE and Eastdil Secured seemingly closing deals on high-quality institutional assets every week, HFF’s New York office could be forgiven for operating with an inferiority complex when it comes to the Big Apple’s investment sales market. But in a testament to the firm’s commitment to steady growth, the Houston, Texas-based real estate firm is slowly but surely catching up to its more high-profile competition in the city.

Since closing just $700 million in regional business in 2010, $400 million of which was in New York City, HFF’s investment sales group has grown by nearly 200 percent, to $1.2 billion of business in the New York market last year.

At the head of it all is Andrew Scandalios, the senior managing director and newly minted co-head of HFF’s New York office, who is keen to see the business continue to grow. Read More

Power Broker

Adding Value with Neil Kessner

Photo by Mike Nagle

On June 17, 2013, the head of SL Green’s in-house legal team, Neil Kessner, hopped on the subway with the firm’s president, Andrew Mathias, and headed to 1 Saint Andrews Place to meet retail bigwig Jeff Sutton for a meeting with the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s head of forfeiture, Sharon Cohen Levin.  

The SL Green/Sutton team had won an RFP issued in October 2012 to purchase the 49-year leasehold interest on the roughly 32,000-square-foot retail condo at 650 Fifth Avenue, signing a letter of intent for the leasehold on January 2013.  Read More

Power Broker

Grade A Meatpacking: Michael Shah of DelShah Capital

Michael Shah

After graduating first in his class from Harvard Law School in 2003, Michael Shah was seemingly destined for the very top of the legal profession. A post-graduate position in the mergers and acquisitions group at Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz led to key roles in a number of high-profile and complex deals, including the $4.5 billion initial public offering of financial advisory firm Lazard.

But despite early success, something was missing. Working between 80 and 120 hours per week, Mr. Shah knew his future lay elsewhere. Read More

Power Broker

May the (Work)Force Be With You: Phoenix Realty Group’s Keith Rosenthal

Keith Rosenthal

Jaws continue to drop around the city with what seem to be weekly announcements of new skyscraping luxury apartment developments from 57th Street to the Financial District. And the drumbeat of stories about the low-income housing crisis should only build with the incoming mayor’s arrival at City Hall. 

But a third sector of the residential market—working-class housing—hasn’t received as much attention at this pivotal juncture in the city’s recent history. Phoenix Realty Group, an owner and fund manager of multifamily properties across the city and country, has made Class B and C residential buildings its bread and butter over the past 15 years. And its New York-based management is eager to see how Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio approaches the housing of New Yorkers who are neither oligarchs nor impoverished.  Read More

Power Broker

Silver Foxes: Massey Knakal Turns 25

Messrs. Knakal and Massey at their firm's 275 Madison Avenue headquarters. (Credit: Will O'Hare)

In the midst of the Savings and Loans Crisis of the early 1990s, Massey Knakal, a three-year-old commercial sales brokerage, was facing the prospect of going out of business for the second time in a matter of months.

By late 1990, the commercial sales market had all but dried up. Rather than pounding the pavement closing deals, Paul Massey and Robert Knakal were instead sitting in the office cold calling and playing solitaire—not on a computer but with a real deck of cards. Things got so bad that the firms’ partners had to fill out applications for numerous credit cards—$60,000 worth—to make ends meet. Read More

Power Broker

Welcome to the Bio-Dome


When it announced it would close its research facility in Nutley, N.J., Swiss biotech company Roche went out to the market in search of a new state-of-the-art facility.

Courted by cities across the Northeast, including established pharmaceutical hubs in New Jersey and Cambridge, Mass., Roche officials added an unlikely option to the list of potential locations: New York City. Read More

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On Top of the World: Durst Organization Director of Leasing Eric Engelhardt on Leasing Up 1 WTC


In 2010, with 1 World Trade Center rising slowly in the skyline of Lower Manhattan, the Durst Organization had a problem. The developer and its ownership partners at Port Authority still hadn’t secured an anchor tenant for the project.

Eric Engelhardt, who had previously sat across the table from the Port Authority pitching the case for a role in the development, was then part of Durst’s acquisitions and development group, and this time was on the same side of the table as the government agency—pitching Condé Nast. Read More

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The Tech Whisperer: ABS Partners’ Ashkán Zandieh

Ashkan Zandie (Photo by Will O'Hare)

Before he got involved with a nascent industry on the upswing, Ashkán Zandieh gave a boost to a business in its death throes.

Mr. Zandieh, 30, worked for Universal Republic, at the time an imprint of the giant Universal Music Group label. His role in a band while an undergraduate at Hofstra sparked his interest in the music biz even as digital piracy upended it.

“I went to school full-time and worked at Universal full-time,” Mr. Zandieh said in an interview outside of a Williamsburg coffee shop. “I didn’t sleep a lot.” Read More

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Running For a Cause

48 Beginning

Last Monday, CBRE’s Eric Gelber showed up for work weighing 10 pounds lighter. After the physical feat he completed over the weekend, it was a wonder he even made it through the door.

“They all looked at me like, ‘Are you crazy?’” he said of his CBRE colleagues. Read More

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The Suite Life: Campus Evolution Villages Reimagines Dorm Life For the 21st Century

Andrew Stark

Nearly 22 million students are currently settling into American college campuses as the fall semester gets underway. Chaotic move-in days, course catalogs and sloppy tailgates still help define this rite of fall. For many undergraduates, a more sobering element of homecoming is a return to dorm living, which for decades was synonymous with cinderblock walls, futon couches and grotty communal showers.

But starting in the 1980s and accelerating at warp speed during the go-go ’00s, off-campus student housing has offered a relatively plush alternative to college residential life, even if Van Gogh reproductions and John Belushi posters survive the transition to air-conditioned suites and private commodes. Read More

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Doing Well by Doing Good


Heidi Burkhart, president of Dane Professional Consulting Group, asks her staff to handwrite and mail three “thank you” letters each week.

The old-school approach is the key to the trust she earns from her clients in the affordable housing sector, allowing her to skip over heavy paperwork that needlessly complicates deals and focus instead on Read More

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The Trophy Agent: RFR’s Steve Morrows

Credit: Fernando Pereira Gomes

Ten months ago, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, one of the world’s oldest private equity firms, was looking to expand its space at the Seagram Building. Having spent a number of years occupying the entire 18th floor of the iconic building and a portion of the floor above, the firm was on the prowl to take the entire 19th floor.

With four additional tenants sharing space on the floor, complicated negotiations were imminent. Steve Morrows, executive vice president and director of leasing at owner RFR Realty, began devising a solution with his leasing team. The answer involved two lease terminations and two relocations within the building—all at the same time. Read More

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SL Green’s Ed Piccinich on His Renewed Lease on Life

Credit: Fernando Pereira Gomes

Ed Piccinich was 90 feet away from the bomb that rocked the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993.

“Everyone who perished that day worked down the hall from me,” he said in a phone interview. “That day gave me my second lease on life.”

At the time, Mr. Piccinich, now 51 and the executive vice president of property management and construction at SL Green, worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. During the last four of his 10 years there, he managed the  nearly 15-million-square-foot WTC site. Read More