In 2007, Sam Zell, the outspoken chair of Equity Group Investments, sold Equity Office Properties Trust to Blackstone Group for $36 billion. That same year, he bought Tribune Company for $8.2 billion, but the following year, the newspaper company sank into bankruptcy. Four years later, its ownership was turned over to creditors and lenders.
“Let me put it this way — my goal is to be right seven out of 10 times,” he says in this month’s issue of The Real Deal. “But what I’ve gotta do, and what a lot of other people in my field have not done well, is assess the scale of the risk. I start by saying, ‘Can I afford to lose it all?’”
For our cover story this month, we feature Zell, the outspoken billionaire who’s earned the nickname “the grave dancer” for his penchant for snapping up distressed real estate. He speaks about his views on President Trump, the secret to negotiation, owning motorbikes and why he gets away with saying what he wants.
Meanwhile, we look at investment sales across the globe, and compare New York and London. Despite the shock of Brexit, the London’s central business district saw investment sales jump 18 percent year over year in the first half of 2017 to hit almost $11.3 billion, according to Cushman & Wakefield. In Manhattan, however, commercial property sales are on track to end the year at $19.8 billion — the same figure record in 2008, when Lehman collapsed.
We go behind the scenes at the Real Estate Board of New York, and profile billionaire developer Richard LeFrak, who discusses his personal relationship with the president. In “NYC’s great retail facade,” we offer a deep dive into the side deals going on between landlords and retail tenants.
Elsewhere in the issue, we look into the city’s next wave of real estate dynasties, and rank family firms by portfolio size and profitability. We examine whether the glory days of the Upper East Side are a thing of the past, and provide a rundown of the top 12 countries investing in commercial real estate in NYC, Los Angeles and South Florida.
To read the September issue of TRD, click here or on the “Magazine” tab on the top left of the homepage. Enjoy! — Miriam Hall