Power at Play: Billionaires Clinked Glasses and Embraced at CO’s Power 100 Bash


The upper crust of New York City real estate rubbed elbows at Wednesday night’s Commercial Observer Power 100 & Power 50 Gala, celebrating another banner year for the industry. At the Onyx room of One57’s Park Hyatt hotel, the titans of towers embraced in hugs, mingled and clinked glasses in celebration.

Jared Kushner, chief executive officer of Kushner Companies and owner of Observer Media, which publishes CO, kicked the evening off with opening remarks about the resiliency of the real estate industry in the Big Apple. A big part of that strength, he added, was the people that build, lease and finance the city’s buildings.

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“We want to thank you all for the great stuff you do,” Mr. Kushner said. “And tonight is really just a chance to celebrate you and all your great work.”

It was a true who’s who of developers included top honoree RXR Realty’s Scott Rechler, as well as the Durst Organization’s Douglas Durst, Silverstein PropertiesLarry Silverstein and Marty Burger and Extell’s Gary Barnett (essentially whose house the party took place in). The industry’s top brokers like Cushman & Wakefield’s Paul Massey and Robert Knakal, were also out in full force, as well as some of the most important political names in real estate such as the City Planning Commission’s Carl Weisbrod (this year being Mr. Weisbrod’s first appearance on CO’s Power 100 list)—although not every politician was in attendance. (Donald Trump, No. 13 on the Power 100, was on the campaign trail. But Donald Trump Jr. was there.) And who could forget the titans of finance, from Raymond Qiao of Bank of China to Ralph Herzka of Meridian Capital Group.

Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, delivered the evening’s keynote address—touting the success of the city in the last year and a half, while saying there is still more to be done to secure affordable housing and lure more industries to Gotham.

“I think we all share in the same values and the same goals for New York City,” Ms. Glen said. “This is the ultimate public-private partnership. We will do our part, and I call on all of you to harness your power, the power of 100, to do the same.” (She also gently chided those in attendance over the fact that it was an overwhelmingly male and not-particularly diverse crowd.)

Before and after the evening’s remarks Mr. Rechler held court in one corner of the room, laughing and chatting with Jonathan Mechanic (one of CO’s honored real estate attorneys), and Messrs. Knakal and Barnett.

There were plenty of hugs, too. We spotted Mr. Burger embracing L&L Holding Company’s Robert Lapidus by one of the bars. Later on, Mr. Silverstein and Madison Realty Capital’s Michael Stoler caught site of one another and welcomed each other warmly.

Not all the details can be unveiled about what industry secrets were shared over glasses of Macallan whiskey and sushi rolls. We can report, however, that Mr. Barnett is pushing the new name for what was once called Nordstrom Tower. The developer was clear that the building—slated to be the tallest in the Western hemisphere—should be called Central Park Tower, or CPT.

Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, Number 20 on this year's list, took a break from her busy schedule to deliver the evening's keynote address.
Douglas Durst, the chairman and president of the Durst Organization, was all smiles after ranking fifth this year.
The booze was flowing at the whiskey bar sponsored by Himmell + Meringoff.
Robert Knakal of Cushman & Wakefield (who is also a CO columnist) who shared the Number 57 spot with long-time partner Paul Massey, and his wife Cynthia were out in force.
Donald Trump Jr. and his wife, Vanessa Haydon, were in attendance, but his dad, this year's Number 13, was (we can assume) out on the campaign trail.
Larry Silverstein (seen here with Anastasiya Kizima, who works for Moody's at 7 World Trade Center) catapulted this year from the 41st spot to the third.
Jared Kushner, the owner of Observer Media and chief executive officer of Kushner Companies, delivered the evening's opening remarks.
Haim, Stanley and Isaac Chera of Crown Acquisitions not only ranked 37, but took home the retail deal of the year award for the deal at 150 West 34th Street.
The residential side of the business was also represented with Kelly Kennedy Mack, the president of Corcoran Sunshine, and Pamela Liebman, the president and CEO of The Corcoran Group, who shared the 45th spot.
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank was represented with an appearance by Jimmy Kuhn, the president of the brokerage.
Observer Media's Ken Kurson and Matthew Talomie.
Jonathan Mechanic of Fried Frank, Mark Holliday of SL Green Realty Corp. and Anthony Orso of Cantor Fitzgerald.
Raymond Qiao, first vice president of Bank of China.
Suri Kasirer of Kasirer Consulting with Carl Weisbrod, the chairman of the City Planning Commission.
Anthony Orso of Cantor Fitzgerald with Mark Lehrman.
The Onyx Room of One57's Park Hyatt.
Justin Elghanayan and Paul Januszewski of Rockrose Development Corp.
Himmell + Meringoff provided drinks for the evening.
Ana Laspetkovski and David Weinreb, the CEO of the Howard Hughes Corporation.
Guests and honorees listen to remarks by Jared Kushner and Alicia Glen.
Mitchell Steir, the chairman and CEO of Savills Studley.
Marty Burger, the CEO of Silverstein Properties, with David Falk, the president of the New York Tri-State Region of NGKF.
Arthur Mirante II, a principal of Avison Young.
Jared Kushner with Ralph Herzka, the chairman and CEO of Meridian Capital Group, and Chad Tredway of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
The Onyx Room of One57's Park Hyatt was graced with the who's who of real estate.
Kenneth Fisher of Cozen O'Connor and Jordan Barowitz of the Durst Organization.
Aaron Birnbaum, the chairman and CEO of Meridian Capital Group, with Judah Samter and Loren Berger of Silverpeak Real Estate Finance.
Brown Harris Stevens' Hall Willkie and Bess Freedman.
Wenni Wu, a vice president of market strategy at East West Bank, Derrick Do, the first vice president of East West Bank and Wendy Cai-Lee, the head of Eastern & Texas Regions at East West Bank.
Adam Schwartz, a managing director of Angelo, Gordon, and Lauren Schwartz.
Ron Moelis of L+M Development.
Adam Spies, a senior managing director at Eastdil Secured, Gavin Evans, a partner at Normandy Real Estate Partners, and Nir Meir, the managing partner of HFZ Capital Group.
Chad Tredway of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Commercial Observer Editor in Chief Max Gross during the awards presentation.
David Sturner, Norman Sturner and David Greene of MHP Real Estate Services.
Greta Guggenheim, the founder and chief investment officer of Ladder Capital, Robert Lapidus, the president and CIO of L&L Holding Company, Nicholas Beinstock, a managing partner at Savanna, and Aaron Welsh, a managing director at Ladder Capital.
Peter Riguardi, the president of the New York region of JLL.
Allison Hirsh, Hector Figueroa and Shirley Aldebol of 32BJ SEIU.
Jared Kushner. Credit: Commercial Observer
Chad Tredway of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
The Feil Organization's Jay Anderson and Jeffrey Feil.
Toll Brothers' David Von Spreckelsen and Todd Dumaresq.
Shimon Shkury, the founder and president of Ariel Property Advisors, Paul Massey, the president of New York Investment Sales of Cushman & Wakefield, and William Cohen, a vice president of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.
Marcos Alvarado, a managing director at Starwood Capital Group, who took home two awards.
Leslie Wohlman Himmel and Stephen Meringoff of Himmel + Meringoff Properties.
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen delivered the keynote address.