Thor’s Joseph Sitt forms group, advocating improvements to N.Y.-area airports

January 04, 2013 05:30PM

Joseph Sitt has a sky-high goal — to improve the state of New York City’s airports.

The founder of Thor Equities has started Global Gateway Alliance, an advocacy group to improve operations at JFK, La Guardia and Newark Liberty International airports, Crain’s reported. A frequent flier and a major investor in the retail and tourism industries, Sitt said he was embarrassed by the state of what used to be considered aspirational airports.

“Forty years ago, we were rated the No. 1 airport,” Sitt said of JFK. “We’re now rated last, 26 out of 26 major airports in the world. That’s a mind-boggling statistic — from first to worst.”

The group aims to pressure governments to increase their investment in airport infrastructure, and will also look at issues such as overcrowding. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates the three major airports in the city; the authority’s executive director Patrick Foye said that he welcomed the effort. “Many of our facilities are aging and in need of significant capital infrastructure investment to ensure the continued economic growth of the region,” Foye said.

Sitt has invested $1 million of his own money into the venture.

Thor’s recent deals include a partnership with Jeff Sutton to purchase 529 Broadway, a retail property in Soho, for $150 million. It also beat out potential buyer Vornado Realty Trust in a $277 million purchase of the retail space at the former Helmsley Carlton House on Madison Avenue from Extell. [Crain’s] – Hiten Samtani