Partner, President and CEO at Handler Real Estate Organization
In 2021, will you buy or sell any real estate? What kind?
Our intention is to make several real estate investments in certain markets next year, but not direct acquisition. We’ve made between five and 10 significant investments across property types per year for the last seven years, and expect about the same level of activity in 2021, although we are likely to limit the range of asset classes on this round.
How f@*$ed is retail?
Very. However, the state of the retail real estate market, which was already feeling severe distress before the pandemic, will, by necessity, undergo a paradigm shift in terms of pricing. This pricing reset — a substantial overall economic change in rent structure — will likely enable new uses with viable business plans to enter Manhattan, whereas, previously, they did not have a realistic financial path forward in this market.
How flexible are you with negotiating rents?
We assess each one of these discussions on a case-by-case basis. We look at the quality and history of each individual tenancy, as well as the metrics and viability of the tenant’s forward-looking business. We take a bespoke approach to possible rent relief in its various forms.
Has your “dead to me” list grown?
Yes, and “pandemics” is on it.
Are you in the market for financing?
No. Fortunately, prior to the pandemic, we already brought our financing up to date across the portfolio. We are well-financed.
What would be the signs that things are NOT going to improve in 2021?
Short of a serious second wave of the pandemic that triggers new paralysis across the city and the broader economy, I am upbeat that real-world conditions will incrementally improve over the next two years.
What do you think will NOT go back to normal?
Assuming the health care community delivers appropriate vaccines and therapeutics, which, at this point, seems likely, I expect that, over the next 12 to 24 months, almost everything will go back to the new normal. I do think that certain health and safety protocols we have adopted during the pandemic may be here to stay, or at least for the foreseeable future.
Who do you like for mayor in 2021?
An astute pro-development, pro-business executive who is comparable in ideology to Michael Bloomberg.
What do you think the city and/or state should do to help both real estate and the city?
New York City is just one component of a much larger ecosystem. Much of the financial assistance has to come from the federal government and feed down to the state and city levels. Local coffers are bone dry.
How do you think the November election will affect real estate? How do you see a Trump win? How do you see a Biden win?
A Democratic win would be better for blue states with dense urban centers like New York.
Where’s your apocalypse bunker? Upper East Side of Manhattan
Favorite at-home quarantine foods? See next answer.
Did you gain or lose weight during quarantine? I lost 14 pounds and got into the best shape of my life.
Sourdough bread, banana bread, other? Multigrain
Which TV show have you binged? “The Bureau,” “Deutschland,” “Death in Paradise.”
What restaurant did you go to when restaurants reopened? Le Charlot, TBar, Sistina.
Mayor de Blasio: Best Mayor or Best Mayor EVER? Not the best.
Where did you quarantine? Primarily in Manhattan, some on Long Island and Connecticut.
Biden, Trump or Kanye? Biden