From Affordable Housing to Luxury High-rises: New York Real Estate Pioneers Gather to Discuss Opportunities in Manhattan and the Boroughs

--Eric Michael Anton and James Nelson Moderate--


NEW YORK, January 29, 2013 – On Thursday, January 24th at REBNY’s Mendik Room, members of the Real Estate Board of New York came together to hear a panel discussion entitled, “Commercial Crossfire – Pioneering Locations: Manhattan vs. the Boroughs,” with some of New York City’s most notable real estate experts. Panelists were Roy Stillman, president of Stillman Development International, David Kramer, principal at Hudson Companies, and Ken Horn, president of Alchemy Properties Inc. The conversation was moderated by Eric Michael Anton, managing partner at Brookfield Financial, and James Nelson, a partner at Massey Knakal Realty Services. The topic of discussion was the impending future of development and real estate initiatives in Manhattan versus the outer boroughs. All three panelists mentioned the locations of their current projects, addressing the clientele based on neighborhood, and the risks and benefits involved in straying beyond, or remaining within, Manhattan. While David Kramer suggested that his company’s focus is mainly inside the realm of affordable housing in the boroughs and Brooklyn, Roy Stillman stated that his projects were mainly Manhattan-centric. Ken Horn explained that his company is neither Brooklyn-centric nor Manhattan-centric, but deal-centric.

One of the night’s hottest topics was the financial situation of the buyers as they correspond with their location within New York City. Stillman compared the real estate world to a pyramid, explaining that the bottom is its most stable part. Kramer agreed with this comparison. When asked if people are still building studios, he explained that there are many more people “on the bottom of the pyramid” who are willing and able to buy or rent studios than those who seek larger 3 or 4-bedroom apartments. On the other end of the spectrum were Ken Horn’s statements on his company’s current project, the Woolworth Building on 233 Broadway, and the difficult process of finding the perfect designer for this luxurious building, as well as figuring out possible price points for when the building is complete.

As the evening progressed, the discussion transitioned to the topic of fears and risk awareness. When Nelson asked the panelists about what fears they may have about continuing to grow in New York City, they all responded with similar opinions of the inevitable perils in New York real estate.  Stillman explained that there is always a disproportionate risk to reward ratio when embarking on a new project, and that, “It takes about 3 years to produce a project.  During that time you’re exposed and helpless.” Ken Horn drew in a few laughs and nods from the crowd when he expressed that it’s typical for those in real estate to wake up worrying every night.  Kramer indicated that, “Everything can go wrong, you have to have a large margin of error.”

The REBNY Commercial Crossfire concluded with a member of the audience asking the panelists about the next up-and-coming neighborhoods. Kramer quoted one of Stillman’s statements from earlier in the evening saying that “when you throw a stone into a pond, the ripples are strongest in the center,” and that in terms of real estate, the “ripples” will be strongest along the City’s transportation hubs and subway stops, so they’ve been following crucial subway lines in search of their next projects.

Photo Caption (l-r): Roy Stillman, President – Stillman Development International; David Kramer, Principal – Hudson Companies; James Nelson, Partner – Massey Knakal Realty Services; Eric Anton, Managing Partner – Brookfield Financial; Ken Horn, President – Alchemy Properties Inc. 


About The Real Estate Board of New York

The Real Estate Board of New York is the city’s leading real estate trade association with more than 13,000 members.  REBNY represents major commercial and residential property owners and builders, brokers and managers, banks, financial service companies, utilities, attorneys, architects, contractors and other individuals and institutions professionally interested in the city’s real estate.  REBNY is involved in crucial municipal matters including tax policy, city planning and zoning, rental conditions, land use policy, building codes and legislation.  In addition, REBNY publishes reports providing indicators of market prices for both the residential and commercial sectors. Please visit us online at www.REBNY.com.


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