Commercial Real Estate In Memorium: 2012


New York real estate is some of the most desirable and expensive in the world, but the ever-fluctuating price of a square foot of space in a given neighborhood is unquestionably dwarfed by the value of human life. This year, the commercial real estate world lost several notable figures and The Commercial Observer would like to take a moment to remember them.

Samuel “Sandy” Lindenbaum, 1935-2012

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Samuel "Sandy" Lindenbaum, 1935-2012
Samuel “Sandy” Lindenbaum, 1935-2012

Samuel Lindenbaum, a counselor at the firm Kramer Levin who was considered one of the city’s leading land use attorneys, succumbed to esophageal cancer this August following a yearlong bout of treatment. Known for his knowledge of the city’s zoning laws and regulations, he was the counsel of choice for major developers—including Donald Trump, Harry Macklowe and the real estate investment trust Vornado—in seeking city approvals for big-time projects.

“Sandy was, by acclamation, an institution in New York real estate,” said Michael T. Sillerman, co-chair of the land use group at Kramer Levin and Mr. Lindenbaum’s colleague for over 30 years.

Mr. Lindenbaum began his career in real estate in the early 1960s after graduating from Harvard Law School. The ins and outs of zoning were not unknown to him, as his father was chairman of the City Planning Commission for a period and was also an attorney.

Some of Mr. Lindenbaum’s more notable deals include securing the rights to raise the Trump World Tower on the East Side in the 1990s, placing the Apple (AAPL) Store under the General Motors Building, and securing Planning Commission and City Council approval for Vornado’s 15 Penn Plaza across from Penn Station. Mr. Lindenbaum represented three generations of the famed Zeckendorf family—the familial dynasty behind such projects as the United Nations in 1947, the Roosevelt Field shopping center on Long Island, the Century City complex in Los Angeles, 515 Park Avenue and 15 Central Park West. “He could literally remember what he did for the grandfather, the father and the son,” said Mr. Sillerman.

“Clients came to him because of his brilliance, his creativity, his economy of advice, his reliability, his long experience,” Mr. Sillerman remembered. “And also—and this is sometimes underestimated—his wit and his humor and his ability to find a successful way out of the darkest or most challenging problem.”

Mr. Lindenbaum is survived by his wife, Linda, and their family.