It was an image evoking years past for the annual Rosewood Realty Group holiday party. Except this year, with the market in a state of lethargy and flux, some attendees on Tuesday night were feeling blue.
“You can see it on people’s faces – it’s a totally different vibe,” said Ivan Hakimian, president of HPNY.
“But it’s only going to get better,” he added.
The party drew some of the biggest names in multifamily and investment sales in not only Manhattan but also throughout the outer boroughs. About 400 people – from developers to landlords to brokers – attended, said a representative for the Aaron Jungreis-led brokerage, which hosted the event. It was a male-dominated affair, as few of the industry’s female investment sales players showed up this year.
The dessert table, more extravagant than in years’ past, evoked a nine-year-old’s birthday party: Hostess cakes, Fruit Loop cupcakes, rice crispy treats and liquid nitrogen ice cream. Guests also dined on an array of Kosher meats, latkes and sushi.
Attendees included A&E Real Estate Holding’s Douglas Eisenberg, Kushner Companies’ Avi Lebor, RockFarmer Properties’ John Petras and George Michelis, Bronx landlord Sam Applegrad, Bruno Caruso of Montreal-based Crest Realties, Orbach Group’s Meyer Orbach, Besen & Associates’ Greg Corbin, Cushman & Wakefield’s Bob Knakal, Kramer Levin’s Jay Neveloff and Meridian Capital Group’s David Schechtman.
See more highlights from the 2017 holiday parties
Some landlords reflected on the moves they made this year – and the ones they didn’t.
“I haven’t bought one building in 2017, and I will not,” said Petras. “The tide is going in and out, and you’re in that middle ground unsure where to turn.”
Orbach, the Minnesota Timberwolves part-owner who was sporting a hooded sweatshirt, said: “I’m seeing where things go – I bought and sold this year. People always say I overpay, but that’s how you get deals done.”
Despite some disappointment over the market in recent months, many guests held high hopes for the year ahead, or even this year’s final stretch.
Schechtman said he is seeing more capitulation among buyers and sellers and a narrowing of the “bid-ask gap.”
“Q4 already feels like 2015,” he said.
Adam Pincus contributed reporting.
Photos by Jhila Farzaneh for The Real Deal.