Related’s path to NYC prominence is paved with political negotiations

June 04, 2012 09:30AM

Thanks to its expertise in negotiating complex agreements with the city and its long-term thought process, Related Companies has become the most prominent developer in the city, according to Crain’s, boasting forthcoming mega-developments at Hudson Yards and Willets Point, among others.

Because Chairman Stephen Ross got his start developing affordable housing, he became adept at striking deals with the city that ensure favorable terms for both sides, Crain’s said. For example, realizing Mayor Bloomberg’s desperation to develop something at Willets Point, the firm managed to work out a deal to develop the site without asking for additional subsidies by getting permission to build retail first. Related convinced the city that the retail would help build the land’s value and make housing development more feasible. Related made similar tweaks to Tishman Speyer’s $1 billion plan at Hudson Yards before taking it over.

“What makes them unique is they have a tremendous propensity to take on non-as-of-right projects and to engage with government in a collaborative way,”Two Trees Management’s Jed Walentas said.

Crain’s noted that the firm isn’t only successful on these massive projects, but it has also shown a propensity for brining retail to under-the-radar outerborough sites, including East New York. It’s also purchased stakes in growing entities, such as Equinox and Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events. But for all these success, there have been some challenges, including the firm’s continued attempts to bring Walmart to the city. [Crain’s]