Dennis Friedrich, Brookfield Office Properties
Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York.
Real estate prediction for 2014?
For NYC real estate, a robust office leasing market. We have witnessed a steady but slow improvement in 2013. Continued growth from creative and tech sector tenants and a broader base revival for financial firms will kick the market into a higher gear next year.
Where in New York is there still untapped potential for real estate development?
Far West Side. The neighborhood is transitioning from potential to reality, but there is still a lot of opportunity. We are excited to be an integral part of the evolution of the neighborhood with our 5 million-square-foot mixed-use project, Manhattan West.
What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor make a priority?
A continued focus on maintaining a high quality of life in the city’s neighborhoods. Real estate investors and tenants, whether foreign or domestic, take comfort in knowing that New York City has evolved into one of the safest, major global cities with a high level of services. We can’t afford to lose that.
What qualities do you look for in an agent representing your buildings?
Tenacity and creativity. An agent who is not afraid to present bold ideas on how best to attract a tenant to one of our buildings.
What is one aspect of your business you wish you had more time for?
Although I do try to make the time, as our global portfolio has grown to over 80 million square feet across four countries, it has become more challenging to regularly tour all of our assets and visit with building employees. I do enjoy that aspect of our business.
Interest rates run up at a much quicker pace than most of us are projecting.
If approved, the Midtown East rezoning initiative will:
Lay the groundwork to ensure that the New York real estate community can create the office product necessary to support the future growth of the city. That being said, it is important that the initiative becomes effective at a time when we are confident in the absorption levels at the World Trade Center redevelopment and Hudson Yards district. The sunrise provision being contemplated is critical.
In the film version of your life, which actor would portray you?
Brad Pitt. I’m often approached by people who say we have similar hairlines.
Foreign real estate market you’d most like to invest in:
We are already invested in the U.K. and Australia and have been quite pleased with our success there. Continental Europe is compelling.
Is broadband connectivity in New York City a priority at your buildings?
Most definitely. Not just in the dedicated tenant areas of our buildings but in communal areas in and around our buildings, whether it be lobbies, plazas or rooftop terraces. We are applying some of the things we have learned from our activities in cities such as San Francisco and Seattle.
What should happen with Madison Square Garden and Penn Station?
Over time, for the long-term health of the region, Penn Station has to be redeveloped to a scale appropriate for one of the most, if not the most, important transportation hubs. For that to happen, Madison Square Garden has to be relocated. Right now, we have two greatly compromised NYC facilities.
What New York City building should be torn down?
Port Authority Terminal.