Top moments from “Future of Real Estate” panel

Real estate bigwigs riff on the mayor, luxury sales and affordable housing
By E.B. Solomont | January 15, 2015 04:22PM

Put some of real estate’s biggest names together on stage, and there are no shortage of zingers. That was the case today, when developers Aby Rosen of RFR Holdings and Taconic Investment Partners’ Paul Pariser, along with architect Annabelle Selldorf, spoke to a crowd who gathered to hear a panel on the future of real estate at Lincoln Center’s Samuel B. and David Rose building.

Introduced by a nattily dressed Leonard Steinberg, president of residential brokerage Urban Compass, who wore  a bold, plaid suit, the trio discussed the state of the luxury housing market, the affordability crisis, and, predictably, the performance of Mayor Bill de Blasio. (See above, for Rosen’s two cents.)

The event was organized by  Urban Compass, and the moderator was Vishaan Chakrabarti, principal of SHOP architects, who doled out superlatives to the “luminous” Selldorf, “indefatigable” Rose and “ever-cool” Pariser. Here are some of the highlights:


–  Pariser, on whether last year’s strong sales figures are cause for excitement or concern (that the cycle will end).

– Selldorf, veering away from the same question and instead lambasting the city’s infrastructure, including number of schools and public transportation.

– Rosen’s support for more luxury housing in Midtown, even as others have said the corridor is being overbuilt. “In China, I run into 50 people looking for full-floor apartments,” said the developer, noting that more housing isn’t necessarily a great idea for the city. As for affordable housing, why not have the city “give” land to developers in some capacity as an incentive?

–  Then there was Chakrabarti, stepping out of the moderator role to say he thinks the East Side is ripe for development, with 50 million square feet of new and planned development along the East River, including tons of activity in Brooklyn.

–  All of the panelists doling out criticism of Mayor Bill de Blasio. “My one concern has been the way he’s handled the police situation,” said Pariser. Rosen, who said he’s reached out to de Blasio’s office several times, said the mayor “doesn’t reach out” and should “step out and stop creating this distance.” Added Selldorf: “It’s a sense of humor he’s missing.”