Big Swig

When asked what he learned from his father-in-law and from his late father, Mr. Swig spoke at great length about Mr. Macklowe’s “creativity.” He didn’t have as much to say about his dad.

“From Harry, specifically, [I learned] the ability to see things that don’t exist, or that other people don’t see,” Mr. Swig said. “And I guess I got a lot of that from photography as well. … My father was much more conventional, much more conservative.”

Conservative, Mr. Swig is not. Not in his design sense, nor in his regard for Barack Obama, nor in his real estate ventures. (Nor in an alleged incident reported in 2007 by the Post, which claimed Mr. Swig was one of the last people to see his fitness trainer alive at a party in California; the trainer died of “a brain hemorrhage due to ‘mixed drug intoxication,’” according to the Post. Mr. Swig has never been implicated in any wrongdoing in the matter, and his lawyers told the Post he tried to help the trainer.)

Mr. Swig described himself to The Observer as a clean-living guy: “I was one of those people who spent a lot of time doing sports and in the library. … I was a rugby player and I was on springboard diving, which is a 12-month-a-year, four-hours-a-day [job]. … I did drink a lot of beer in college, but I just didn’t imbibe in those kind of things.”

 

MR. SWIG AND his friends are optimistic about his future in New York real estate.

“When conditions return to normalcy, or certainly improve, Kent, because he’s so highly regarded, and a proven success, will be recognized by lenders as a person who is deserving of financing,” said Larry Silverstein, another top Financial District landlord. “He’s a person of absolute integrity and a pleasure to work with.”

Mr. Swig was similarly sanguine. He is his own best promoter, with an answer for every pointed question, an explanation for every apparent mishap. The Nobu project and 25 Broad? That’s in Lehman’s hands now. He compared the judge handling Lehman’s thousands of pending jobs to a traffic cop in Los Angeles:

“It’s like if you take the Los Angeles freeway and you’re in the middle of rush hour, you have one policeman, one judge, and [he] said, ‘I have to check everybody’s ID as you go by.’ The backup will go from Los Angeles to San Diego. Every surface street will be crippled.”

And Sheffield57? Well, that, in Mr. Swig’s depiction, is a success.

“It’s actually, financially, it’s been very, very successful,” he said. “And we have been very disciplined. Out of the 58 floors that we’ve got, 57 and 58 are amenity floors. Virtually all of the units under the 40th floor are sold.”

But the industry insider who’s worked closely with Mr. Swig says only time will reveal the final verdict. “How he finishes Sheffield57, 25 Broad, 45 Broad, which is more in his imagination than a real deal,” he said, “that will determine his reputation.”

drubinstein@observer.com

Big Swig