W developer Joseph Moinian, for one, remains confident in Mr. Shvo, whose youthful perspective the 54-year-old real estate tycoon needed in order to reach the right downtown audience.
“Look at who’s downtown,” Mr. Moinian said. “It’s all about younger people. It’s all about educated people. It’s all about the investment banking community. It’s all about cherry-picked graduates from all over the country.
“He has good ideas. He has great energy. He’s very creative. And he knows what it takes,” the developer said of Mr. Shvo. “We will be 110 percent sold out.”
Though engaged and now closer to 40 than 30, Mr. Shvo believes his career is still very much on its normal rise, whatever the market conditions of his chosen hometown.
“There’s a lot of product that’s $1,500 a foot, $1,800 a foot, that in the last year or year before, would sell with no problem, but in today’s market, when the consumer has choices and they could decide to buy in a cookie-cutter project, or to buy in W residences, or Starck residences, or Armani residences, most likely, they’d rather spend their money on something special and not on just another four walls, a kitchen and a bathroom,” he said. “Consumers want to get value for their money; they want to get something special; they want to get something that they can come to their friends, they can come to their family or to their co-workers and say, ‘I live at the Armani building,’ or ‘I live at the Starck building,’ or ‘I live at the Jade Jagger building,’ or the W hotel.”
And if those vanity buyers don’t show up?
“A very, very large percentage of our portfolio sits outside New York today and outside the United States,” he said. “If New York is bad, then maybe Houston will be good, or Mexico, or London, or Singapore, or D.C. We’re in so many different markets. You’re not going to see the entire world, as a whole, drop in the luxury end.”