Gregg Schenker, ABS Partners Real Estate

2013 Owners MagazineFavorite charity? 

1. Any charity that teaches people to be in a position to help themselves. 2. Medical research 3. Vaccination for children across the globe 4. The Robin Hood Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have both done extraordinary work. 5. The Giving Pledge is also a great concept.

Real estate prediction for 2014? 

Values are likely to level off as interest rates rise. Leasing activity will be robust.

Where in New York is there still untapped potential for real estate development? 

Brooklyn and Queens nearby access to mass transit.

Who will become New York City’s next mayor?  

Bill de Blasio. When the pendulum swings, it tends to swing wide.

What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor make a priority?   

Streamlining of the development process in NYC so projects can be built in a shorter time frame and at a lower cost. And, to the extent possible, control the enormous burden placed upon property owners and tenants through the year-over-year increases in real estate taxes.

What qualities do you look for in an agent representing your buildings? 

Integrity, excellent communication skills and core values, including strong work ethic with no sense of entitlement.

What is one aspect of your business you wish you had more time for? 

Spending more time with our tenants, partners and employees.

Greatest fear: 

The growth of government-funded entitlements beyond that which is economically sustainable.

If approved, the Midtown East rezoning initiative will: 

Provide an incentive for owners to build and create office buildings within the Grand Central submarket and replace outmoded buildings with modern, efficient buildings able to accommodate the needs of tenants in a more meaningful way. It will also enable NYC to better compete with global alternatives for corporate space users.

In the film version of your life, which actor would portray you? 

Sidney Poitier. Please do not mistake this for a joke or ethnic reference. I believe in his character and integrity.

Foreign real estate market you’d most like to invest in: 

We do not invest in foreign markets. However, I very much like the fundamentals in Brazil.

Is broadband connectivity in New York City a priority at your buildings? 

Absolutely. We strive to provide our tenants with maximum bandwidth at each property. Each year, as technology improves, this is of greater significance.

What should happen with Madison Square Garden and Penn Station? 

Madison Square Garden should be demolished, and a new Penn Station should be created to rival the original McKim, Mead & White Penn Station. A great architectural competition should be held to determine which great firm will handle the assignment. Madison Square Garden should be rebuilt in another location.

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