Founder and President at Wharton Properties
Last year's rank: 14
It’s hard to find a more telling image for the pandemic than a deserted Fifth Avenue, its storefronts boarded up with plywood, the streets devoid of the usual bustle of shoppers, tourists, and commuters.
But with a portfolio worth billions, and flagship tenants like Prada, Bulgari and Nike, retail kingpin Jeff Sutton is more insulated than most.
Sutton, the founder and president of Wharton Properties, is known for his high-street retail portfolio that spans New York’s choicest retail corridors, including Fifth Avenue, Times Square and Soho.
In addition, Wharton made several high-profile moves over the course of 2019, and early 2020. The firm, together with its partner Brookfield Properties, closed on a $807 million refinancing for the retail condo at the Crown Building, at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 57th Street. In 2015, Bulgari set a city record, at that property, when it signed a 15-year lease for the corner location at $5,500 per square foot.
Wharton also made several purchases in Brooklyn, including a retail property at 166 Berry in Williamsburg for $20 million, and went into contract to unload the retail condominium at 530 Broadway for $400 million to SHVO.
Sutton is also preparing to take high-street retail to the next level, with a brand-new 1,000-foot-tall retail and office tower at 720-724 Fifth Avenue, designed by Bjarke Ingels, though the designs have yet to be released. Sutton bought out his partner, SL Green Realty, at the two properties in the summer of 2018 for $85 million.—C.G.