NGKF’s Jeff Gural takes back seat in NYC property business

June 24, 2013 10:00AM

Jeffrey Gural, the chairman of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, has been stepping back from the New York City property business to focus more on his race-track investments, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Gural, who is the majority owner of two upstate New York racinos, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs, and leases another from the state of New Jersey, told the Journal he made the purchases because of his love of horse racing, but soon realized their investment potential.

And if Gov. Andrew Cuomo can win approval for four new casino resorts in the state, Gural told the Journal he hopes his Tioga Downs racino into one of them. “I think I have the best location in the Southern Tier,” Gural said.

Gural has handed the reins of his family’s sizeable real estate holdings – a 8.5 million-square-foot portfolio worth about $3 billion – to his son Eric and his nephew Brian Steinwurtzel, both Newmark executives.

Nowadays, his involvement is mainly in financing issues, due to his long-standing relationships with lenders. “I just oversee and make sure they don’t do anything totally stupid,” Gural said in jest to the Journal. [WSJ]Hiten Samtani