Yesterday, Corcoran’s elite brokers and executives mixed it up with a few hundred burly construction workers on the 51st floor of The Orion, Gary Barnett’s recent development that will soon be the sixth-tallest residential building in the city. Guests were nervously transported up a rickety elevator to the “topping out party,” an event staged when the highest point is reached during construction.
CEO Pam Liebman and new marketing COO Jeff Yamaguchi–who just arrived from Las Vegas this week–were among the real-estate big-wigs on hand.
And to let the workers know their sweat was not excreted in vain, Ms. Liebman informed the crowd that she bought one of the first apartments available. “I know where I’m going,” said one brawny guy while giving his friend an elbow in the ribs.
Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff spoke, too, and received thunderous applause every time he flashed his union cred. Mr. Doctoroff enthusiastically proclaimed that New Yorkers would soon witness “one of the greatest building booms in the city’s history.” What West Side Stadium?
Mr. Barnett, whose Extell Development Company is popping up everywhere lately, appeared jubilant with his 60-story building topping out after breaking ground only 15 months earlier. Afterwards, he dodged a reporter’s question about the M.T.A. overlooking Extell’s proposal for a development in downtown Brooklyn on the spot where Bruce Ratner wants to build Stadiumland.
People came here to party, not answer uncomfortable questions!
After the speeches, brokers and starving real-estate reporters took off their bright-white hardhats and headed toward the potato salad and star-shaped brownies (“Far above the city lights, right below the stars!” read the invitation to the event). One floor below, the workers chowed down together and presented each other with various awards.
For about an hour or so, we felt some real unity. This must be what it’s like to build in Des Moines!
– Michael Calderone
Orion construction photo courtesy of Edward Sudentas (Wired New York)