Why put off till the evening what you can get done over lunch?
Cooper-Horowitz’s mid-day holiday party brought in a procession of bankers, brokers and builders to Grand Central Station Wednesday, where industry types swapped hugs and celebrated getting through a challenging year in the real estate finance market.
Richard Horowitz, one of the hosts, radiated optimism. “It’s been a great year,” he told guests at the entrance to Michael Jordan’s NYC Steakhouse. “I don’t know how many billions… I’ll have to check with my brother.”
But some in attendance were more inclined to share market pessimism than holiday cheer. As they jostled through the crowd with full glasses and fuller plates, bankers could be heard grumbling about decreased business in financing luxury condominium purchases.
“Everything above $5 million is dead,” one said. “Everything above $10 million is dead dead.”
Leslie Himmel of Himmel + Meringoff said her firm was able to pull off a series of refinancings at low interest rates that left them sitting on a pile of cash to close the year. “We got it done just in time,” Himmel said, citing the Fed’s just-announced indication that it will raise rates more aggressively in 2017.
Meir Cohen, of Cohen Equities, was spotted with his son Jonny. “Business is good, business is good,” he said. Jonny said the company has mostly been busy minding its existing investments, though it did partner with Premier Equities on a series of purchases in NoMad and on the Lower East Side, he said.
Ian Bruce Eichner of Continuum Company exchanged rapid-fire handshakes as he made his way into the event. “I’ve been doing business with Rob Horowitz for 20 years,” he said.
Elsewhere in the milieu, Ladder Capital’s Andy Babat was miffed by all the attention his firm has been getting because of the two loans it holds from President-elect Donald Trump. He dismissed the media’s interest as hype, but noted that it wasn’t likely to go away anytime soon either.
Also spotted: Kramer Levin’s Jay Neveloff, RKF’s Robert Futterman, Stephen Plavin of Blackstone Mortgage Trust (an affiliate of the Blackstone Group), Eastern Consolidated’s Adelaide Polsinelli, East River Partners’ Jody Kriss and lenders and brokers of all stripes.
A group from the developer Bizzi+Partners said hello, but when asked about how things were going with their new supertall project at 125 Greenwich Street, they scurried into the crowd.
Others passed on the chance to talk shop between swigs of white whine and bites of kosher fare. When asked about his deal flow, Cooper-Horowitz broker Bob Vegh answered “You know my son [Westwood Realty Associates’ Steven Vegh]? He’s a very, very active broker.”
The real estate holiday party season is a grueling fortnight on the calendar, with industry execs often having to hit multiple events in a day and schmooze all over the city. Some had reached their breaking point.
“This is always such a challenging time of the year,” Joe Simone of Simone Development was overheard saying. “I’d like to see it over.”
Hiten Samtani and E.B. Solomont contributed reporting.