David Sturner’s long tenure at Murray Hill Properties began in 1995, when the full services real estate company launched its asset and project management departments. But his roots at the firm go even deeper than that: Mr. Sturner’s father, Norman Sturner, is MHP’s president and chief executive. Since coming onboard, the younger Mr. Sturner, 46, has risen in the ranks. The onetime project management specialist now also oversees operations and asset management and two years ago was named chief operating officer. Mr. Sturner spoke to The Commercial Observer about the transformation of MHP, growing up in a real estate family and the quest for fortune over fame. Read More
Last week, Tribeca Associates, a New York-based real estate firm, announced that it had agreed to acquire the long-term leasehold—for an undisclosed sum—on Bush Tower, a 30-story skyscraper built in 1918 for the Bush Terminal Company. To be henceforth known as 132 West 42nd Street at Bryant Park, the property will undergo an extensive renovation in the next 12 to 18 months, paving the way for the trophy asset to join the ranks of the neighborhood’s more recognizable glass towers. The project is one of a number that Tribeca Associates has in the pipeline, not the least of which is the Baccarat Hotel and Residences at 20 West 53rd Street, where sales are underway. Elliott Ingerman, founder and managing partner at Tribeca Associates, spoke with The Commercial Observer at the firm’s Tribeca office about current projects and his outlook for 2014.
A real estate lawyer in the early part of his career, Ziel Feldman has carved out a niche as one of the most active developers in the New York market. Mr. Feldman, founder and managing principal of HFZ Capital, has taken on ground-up development and the acquisition of existing properties. With an extensive presence on the Upper West Side, Mr. Feldman and HFZ Capital have entered new markets including Flatiron, where One Madison, a condominium project developed in partnership with Related Companies, recently opened for sale boasting residences priced as high as $50 million. Mr. Feldman spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about HFZ Capital’s current projects and his outlook for the market. Read More
Jim Phillips, founder of New York’s largest interior architecture firm, TPG Architecture, boasts more than 40 years of experience designing corporate office interiors. The firm’s client list reads like a who’s who of New York power players, including Silverstein Properties, Irving Place Capital, Condé Nast, SL Green and Digitas. By Mr. Phillips estimation, he walks through more than 1 million square feet of office space in New York per year, which allows him a unique perspective on the city’s building stock. While architects might be best known for their build-out work, TPG and other architects begin the process well before work begins. Mr. Phillips’s services include advising clients on the suitability of space, negotiations and budgets, evaluating the entire deal. Mr. Phillips spoke with The Commercial Observer about changing trends, the evolving demands of clients and some of the difficulties he has faced when evaluating space.
A lifelong New Yorker and 27-year veteran of the real estate industry, Adelaide Polsinelli jumped from her role as associate vice president at Marcus & Millichap to a senior director position at Eastern Consolidated in March 2012. At Eastern, Ms. Polsinelli focuses on a broad range of investment opportunities, and in her 18 months there Read More
In June, the Moinian Group announced its plans for 3 Hudson Boulevard, a 1,000-foot-tall, 1.8 million-square-foot tower between West 34th and West 35th Streets in Hudson Yards. Designed by Dan Kaplan of FXFOWLE, the property will include 1.5 million square feet of office space, 22,000 square feet of retail and possibly as much as 300,000 square feet of residential space. The man behind the Moinian Group project is Oskar Brecher, the company’s vice president and director of development. Across the United States, Mr. Brecher and his team are involved with nearly 10 million square feet of development. The Commercial Observer spoke with Mr. Brecher at his firm’s 3 Columbus Circle office, where he described the 3 Hudson Boulevard project envisioned by the Moinan Group, headed by CEO Joseph Moinian. Read More
After establishing Brownstoner.com and the Brooklyn Flea, Jonathan Butler has expanded his Brooklyn empire into brick and mortar, acquiring 1000 Dean Street in a joint venture with BFC Partners and the Goldman Sachs urban investment group. The 140,000-square-foot commercial building in Crown Heights will open for occupancy on October 1 and is expected to welcome a mixture of artists, technology firms and nonprofits, offering lower-cost office space for Brooklyn’s entrepreneurial class. Mr. Butler spoke with The Commercial Observer outside his office in Dumbo last week, offering insight into his motivation for acquiring the property and his vision for the future. Read More
Perry Finkelman at times sounds like he’s describing something from a science-fiction movie. The CEO of Automotion Parking Systems talks of designing machines, manipulating machines—even machines that send text messages. It’s not Rise of the Machines he speaks of … not exactly. But the technology that will control the 697-car underground parking garage that Automation plans to Read More
Over the last three decades, Michael Cohen has been a driving force behind Colliers International’s transition from a family-owned, independent mom-and-pop real estate firm into a global powerhouse. As president of Colliers’s tristate operations, the third-generation executive at the firm splits his time between managerial duties and deal-making, harnessing his firm’s global resources and ownership structure to create a competitive advantage—most recently, as part of the team that sealed AppNexus’s 220,000-square-foot expansion and extension at 28-40 West 23rd Street. He spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about the significance of that deal, the staggering transformation of his company, the city’s changing real estate landscape and even his passion for theater as it relates to Bernard Madoff.
Earlier this year, Michael Kimmelman, the chief architecture critic at The New York Times since 2011, wrote a column addressing Madison Square Garden’s request that its special permit to operate an arena atop Penn Station be renewed in perpetuity. In it, Mr. Kimmelman suggested that the City Council grant the Garden a 10-year permit, enough time for the various stakeholders to plan for both a renovated Penn Station and a new location for Madison Square Garden. In a show of Mr. Kimmelman’s relative influence, the City Council did just that. Now the clock is ticking on finding a solution for the futures of both the “World’s Most Famous Arena” and the city’s busiest rail hub. Nicknamed “The People’s Critic” by New York magazine for his insightful focus on the New York Public Library, redevelopment after Hurricane Sandy and affordable housing, Mr. Kimmelman spoke with The Commercial Observer last week about the viability of a 10-year term and what can be done to convince stakeholders to come to the table. Read More
Leslie Himmel started Himmel+Meringoff Properties from the ground up with business partner Steve Meringoff in 1985. “Just believe in yourself and buy real estate,” were the words of wisdom with which Ms. Himmel’s mentor, former REBNY chairman Bernard Mendik, inspired her at the time. “It’s easy to say but not always so easy to do,” Read More
He’s a horse-riding, tennis-playing, mountain-biking, party-throwing philanthropist. But it’s his three decades of tireless deal-making at the helm of the firm he and wife Daun Paris built from the ground up that makes Peter Hauspurg a true industry mainstay. “Deal-making is my passion,” he told The Commercial Observer last week, later admitting that he earned Read More
Scott Panzer no longer wears a tie to the office. But despite his nod to Gen Y’s watering down of the workplace dress code, the Jones Lang LaSalle vice chairman shows up to our interview in a snazzy pair of suspenders and a starched white button-down. A 26-year veteran of the real estate industry, Mr. Panzer is at a stage of his career when he doesn’t sweat the small stuff, like neckwear. Instead, he focuses on matching elite tenants (like Interpublic Group of Companies) with A-list landlords (including Sheldon Solow) and their trophy properties (e.g. 9 West 57th Street). Mr. Panzer spoke to The Commercial Observer about his real estate salad days, the comeback of triple-digit rents and the negotiating power of cowboy boots. Read More
In 2005, CBRE broker Mary Ann Tighe told The New York Times that there had never been a “phenomenon quite like Bob Alexander.” What’s more phenomenal is that the 58-year-old chairman of the firm’s tristate region still ranks among its top brokers, having landed some of the city’s highest-profile deals this year as a lead broker representing Read More
As chief operating officer of Jamestown Properties, Michael Phillips has helped create and oversee a portfolio of more than 80 properties across nine states, totaling over 25 million square feet. But the jewel in his and Jamestown’s crown may well be Chelsea Market, the wildly popular foodie mecca in the Meatpacking District. Jamestown is currently working on a contentious expansion of that Ninth Avenue destination that will result in an additional 330,000 square feet of office space (an earlier plan for a 90,000-square-foot hotel was scrapped).
The Commercial Observer grabbed a few minutes with Mr. Phillips inside Jamestown’s swank, canopied, free-crepe-dispensing booth at ICSC’s RECon global retail real estate summit in Las Vegas. There, the James Beard Foundation vice chair and Real Estate Board of New York governor shared some morsels about Jamestown’s unannounced plans for a second sit-down restaurant at Chelsea Market, its imminent foray into the Brooklyn culinary world, and marquee projects in Georgia and California. Read More