In 2013, founder and CEO of Peebles Corporation Don Peebles and his partner, the Israeli-based American real estate company Elad Group, purchased a 13-story building at 108 Leonard Street from the city for $160 million.
The deal was significant at the time because it was said to be the single largest building ever sold by the city. But sources told The Real Deal it was noteworthy for another reason: it was the most valuable deal ever made between the city and a minority developer.
Peebles — the city’s highest-profile black developer — is just one of more than 70 real estate professionals who spoke to TRD this month about an industry that remains largely dominated by white men. The numbers speak for themselves. A 2014 survey by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission showed racial and gender imbalance at all levels of the industry in the city, but most severely at the senior level, where 22 percent are women, and nearly 86 percent are white.
In our cover story this month, we ask why the industry has been so slow to adapt to the city’s changing demographics, and how developers, executives and brokers feel about the situation.
Meanwhile, we investigate methods the city’s developers are using to bankroll state legislators who protect the $1.4 billion 421a tax subsidy. We examine how co-working giant WeWork is steering its business model from Silicon Valley and directly towards Wall Street. And we look at Paul Massey’s attempt to leap from real estate to politics.
Elsewhere in the issue, there are stories on the secretive world of poaching residential brokers, the 10 largest ground-up real estate construction projects slated for completion in 2017, and how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to use a credit scoring model that penalizes thousands of potential borrowers.
Finally, in our Closing interview, the founder and CEO of Manhattan-based residential brokerage Town Residential, Andrew Heiberger, talks about his lawsuit with Thor Equities’ Joseph Sitt, his first job working for reputed slumlord Steve Croman and about selling his previous company, Citi Habitats, to NRT Incorporated for $49.6 million in 2004.
To read the December issue of TRD, click here or on the “Magazine” tab on the top left of the homepage. Enjoy! — Miriam Hall