Former Economic Development Corp. real estate boss signs up with law firm

Patrick O'Sullivan oversaw Pier 17 lease to Howard Hughes

TRD New York /
Sep.September 02, 2014 11:25 AM

The former head of the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s real estate arm has joined the white-shoe law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, where he will focus on working clients through complex public/private projects.

Patrick O’Sullivan, who served as the EDC’s executive vice president and head of its real estate transactions group, has overseen efforts such as the city’s lease of the South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 to the Howard Hughes Corporation and the city’s acquisition of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

At Cleary, O’Sullivan will concentrate on real estate transactions between public and private partners.

“One of the reasons why Cleary is focusing on this area is that these transactions continually become larger and more complex,” said O’Sullivan, who starts in the firm’s office today. “Trying to break them down can be a little bit difficult.”

As per the city’s conflict of interest rules, O’Sullivan does have some limitations when it comes to doing business. He cannot appear before the EDC for one year, and he is barred from working on any project he was substantially involved in during his time at the agency.

O’Sullivan, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, spent seven years at the EDC. Prior to that he worked at the firm Shearman & Sterling in its capital markets group and as a consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Cleary Gottlieb is a full-service firm whose clients have included the Genting Group in its successful bid to develop the Resorts World Casino in Queens and the partnership between YOTEL and IFA Hotels & Resorts to develop a hotel on 10th Avenue.

Law360 named the firm Real Estate Group of the Year for 2013.

Steve Horowitz, the group’s senior partner, said O’Sullivan was referred to him by Seth Pinsky, the former head of the EDC who last year left the public sector to join Scott Rechler’s RXR Realty. Pinksy had worked at Cleary Gottlieb earlier in his career.

Horowitz said the company will leverage the relationships O’Sullivan has built in the public and private sectors.

“One of the first tasks is to sit down and go over the Rolodexes, both his and ours. That’s what I see us doing over the course of the next six months or so,” he said.

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