At one time or another during his 25-year career, Todd Korren has donned nearly every hat that can be worn in the real estate industry. But whether he’s served as a leasing agent, property manager, developer or acquisitions pro, one puzzle the Swig Equities senior vice president has yet to solve is the one he is reminded of each time he returns to his William Street office: How do you keep Lower Manhattan desirable for potential tenants?
Indeed, as a member of the Real Estate Board of New York’s Downtown Rental Conditions Committee and of a subcommittee focused on drawing new tenants to Lower Manhattan, Mr. Korren has emerged as one of the area’s most committed advocates.
“We’re trying to figure out how to make downtown more competitive,” said Mr. Korren during an interview at his office at 110 William, one of the downtown properties Swig operates. “The question is, how do we lure tenants downtown, and how do we improve retail conditions and encourage them to come down here?”
Mr. Korren is nothing if not passionate about Lower Manhattan, where the Roslyn, N.Y., resident first got his start in the real estate industry. As a college student at New York University, Mr. Korren worked for Rockrose Development, a job that allowed the young upstart to play a role in luring people to Battery Park City in the late 1980s, back when the area was in its earliest development phase and not yet the vibrant community it is today.
“Back then, there was literally one building, for all intents and purposes,” recalled Mr. Korren. As for how difficult it was to lure tenants and residents to the area, Mr. Korren said it was no walk in the park. “Especially in the winter, when it was very cold and there weren’t a lot of attractions. That was before the movie theater was there and before you had other buildings. Taxicabs weren’t even coming over there yet. It was very inconvenient.”
Since then, Mr. Korren has embarked on a career that offers a panoramic view of the real estate industry. From positions at construction management company Structure Tone to the mechanical and electrical contractor EMCOR Group, he has learned the business by working from the ground up and has often followed a project from concept to completion.