Rob Speyer will be just 43 years old when he takes over as chair of the Real Estate Board of New York in January. That will make him the board’s youngest-ever chair. Impressive though that achievement is, even more noteworthy is Mr. Speyer’s pedigree. He will become a third member of his family to serve as the board’s leader.
Perhaps the best way to describe Angela Pinsky’s advocacy for the real estate industry is by saying that when she joined the Real Estate Board of New York almost two years ago, she didn’t see her job as much different from the one she was leaving in the mayor’s office.
“I work on a lot of the same issues,” said Ms. Pinsky, who married Economic Development Corporation head Seth Pinsky last summer. “The thing about the real estate industry, it’s very civic minded. Many owners are family businesses and there’s this strong tradition in the industry of wanting projects and policies that are best not just for the industry’s own interests, but for the entire city.
It was a typical evening at the Real Estate Board of New York’s annual gala as John Cardinal O’Connor stepped up to the dais to address a crowd of several thousand of the city’s most ambitious commercial real estate brokers and owners.
But in a ritual repeated more or less each year, the archbishop of the New York archdiocese’s 2.37 million Catholics and one of the Vatican’s most forceful spokesmen in the United States during the 1980s, was summarily ignored by a brokerage community far more interested in making deals than in hearing the Gospel.
Throughout my career, I have been active in many different trade organizations and have always made networking a significant component of my annual brokerage business plan. Networking can take many forms. In 2011, I chalked up 264 such events, or more than one per business day on average. Clearly, this aspect of my business plan is something that I focus great attention on, as business opportunities frequently seem to be generated from these interactions.
While there are many wonderful trade organizations out there, one of the best, and one of the most beneficial and productive for my firm and I has been the Real Estate Board of New York.
Since it started with a roll call of 27 members in 1896 with the goal of “facilitating transactions in real estate,” the Real Estate Board of New York has indisputably been the city’s most influential real estate organization, with its annual gala being to brokers what the Vanity Fair Oscar party is for Hollywood: If you’re there, it means you’re somebody.
Sure, some may lovingly write it off as a veritable men’s club (men are thought to outnumber women five to one), chide it as “The Liar’s Ball” (each year is a broker’s best year, no matter how wretched the marketplace) and speak ill of the food (nearly everyone avoids the chicken and filet mignon).
But the REBNY gala is as essential to a real estate person’s reputation and status as the buildings and bricks he works with. A dozen of the city’s most legendary players spoke to The Commercial Observer about the blurry nights and boom years that helped make the event what it is today.
As the partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan credited with essentially designing the law firm’s real estate practice, Leonard Boxer has worked with the city’s largest real estate owners and developers. As REBNY’s general counsel, meanwhile, the 72-year-old attorney has been advising the group in the rent-regulation debate. Last week Mr. Boxer spoke about Read More
Big Real Estate
Our politics desk is putting together a piece for tomorrow’s paper on Donald Trump, the presumptive presidential candidate. But what about Mr. Trump, the real estate tycoon? Or, more to the point, what about Mr. Trump, the local real estate tycoon?
He’s always kind of been of New York, but not so much in it, Read More
Amidst the celebratory backslapping at the Real Estate Board of New York’s Ingenies on Monday evening, REBNY president Steven Spinola quietly savored an even bigger victory.
In a January 2010 Observer article, he had sounded one of the earliest calls for not holding the 9/11 terror trials in the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan. Attorney General Eric Read More
Grinding the Sausage
With the deadline to pass a state budget basically a week away, Governor Andrew Cuomo has backed down on passing two controversial changes to New York’s real estate laws. He said at a press conference in Albany yesterday that rent-regulation changes and a property tax cap are “too complex” to put in the budget.
In a Read More
The contenders for commercial real estate’s top prize, the so-called “Ingenious Deal of the Year” award, were unveiled by the Real Estate Board of New York today, with name checks coming in for each of the city’s top firms.
CB Richard Ellis led all comers with four nominees, notably a deal for Mercedes Benz’ new Read More