Dean Shapiro (left) Allison Wolfe (top right) and Dean Shapiro (bottom left)
Michael Turner, Allison Wolfe and Dean Shapiro
President; CFO and Global Head of Portfolio Management; and Head of U.S. Development at Oxford Properties Group
Last year's rank: 11
Oxford Properties Group has been involved in myriad prominent developments globally. As of late April, in fact, the Toronto-based company and its platform companies were working on about 50 projects valued at $20 billion total and growing a life sciences business that could top out at $15 billion globally. In the U.S., Oxford’s most famed work was probably on Hudson Yards, the mammoth mixed-use project on Manhattan’s Far West Side.
But Oxford wasn’t the lead on that. The Related Companies led Hudson Yards’ development. In fact, Oxford had not led a single project in the U.S. despite all its activity in its native Canada and overseas — until a particular development earned it a spot on this list.
Oxford led the redevelopment of the 1.3 million-square-foot St. John’s Terminal complex in West Chelsea. The company positioned the modern makeover of the cavernous space to appeal to tenants that might appreciate such a design. Google bit in 2019, leasing the entirety of the office space and working with Oxford to build it out further, finishing this year.
And, then, in one of the largest commercial real estate deals of the pandemic, Google bought St. John’s Terminal for $2.1 billion in September 2021. It was a developer’s dream come true, especially considering its turbulent era.
“It was absolutely hiding in plain sight, and it was critically important that we get it right because all eyes were on us,” Dean Shapiro said of the asset itself and its later redevelopment. “It was either hit a grand slam or fail, and failing was not an option for us.”
A score in the hobbled office market was notable enough. Oxford around the same time mic-dropped one of the pandemic’s biggest deals in probably its most ballyhooed sector: In late 2021, Oxford agreed to buy a 14.5 million-square-foot industrial portfolio from KKR for $2.2 billion. It consisted of 149 distribution centers and warehouses in urban areas in 12 markets.
What’s more, Oxford nailed the financing for the KKR buy right before the financing market for such industrial deals became crowded.
“I would say that the strength of our global banking relationships — to ensure that not only were we able to close on the transaction but get the significant financing done — was absolutely phenomenal,” Allison Wolfe said.