The Bespoke Builders: Hines' Quiet Designs on New York

Tommy Craig.

That the firm reserved its words about its latest project for a written statement underscores why they are not more widely known. “I don’t think he likes to let out more than what he knows is in effect complete and good,” Mr. Spinola said of Mr. Craig.

“They’re not one of those run-and-gun developers, they’re definitely running a big, button-down business,” one rival developer said. “They’re not cowboys just out there throwing up buildings.”

There is also the fact that most of its development is fee development, building out sites on commission. This is opposed to Hines assembling sites of its own, which is more lucrative, but also more risky—the Hines approach avoids the NIMBY fights and the headlines in the paper. “It doesn’t seem to me they’re big risk takers, but they’re very successful nonetheless,” Douglas Durst said.

In a way, the firm’s profile has been a victim of its own success—because its buildings are rarely vacant, given the level of detail and commitment to them, they are rarely in the papers, taking out ads, on the scene. Being ignored has its advantages, it seems.

Or maybe that does not even matter. So long as Hines continues to building some of the best building in the city and the world, even if so few bother to notice them for it, New York will still be all the better for it.

The Bespoke Builders: Hines' Quiet Designs on New York