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.
“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 Properties’ Larry 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.