It’s nearly showtime.
We hope you’ve marked your calendars, because The Real Deal’s NYC Real Estate Showcase + Forum is back and better than ever.
As promised, New York City’s premier real estate event is locked and loaded with an array of star speakers ready to dish on the red hot residential market, the future of development, the latest innovations in proptech and much more.
Also on the agenda is fireside chat with a man who has for decades been among the most prominent players on the city’s development scene: Gary Barnett.
Join us May 19 at the Metropolitan Pavilion to hear from the Extell Development founder and other leading figures in New York City real estate. In the meantime, here’s a little bit about Gary.
1. He got his start in the diamond business
Before glistening glass supertalls were even a glimmer in his eye, Gary Barnett dealt in much smaller shiny objects: diamonds.
The developer married into the diamond business after meeting his wife, Evenlyn Muller, while he was on vacation in 1980. The family business, S. Muller & Sons, was based in Belgium, where Barnett got hands-on training in uncut gems.
Barnett not only learned the trade, but expanded the business into the U.S. and diversified it by investing the proceeds in real estate. Decades later, Barnett’s building in the city’s Diamond District, which you can read all about in this TRD feature from last summer.
2. He set the standard for the all-glass supertall
Whether you work in a glass building or have simply admired them from afar, you have Gary Barnett to thank.
One57 was the one that started it all. As detailed in TRD’s forthcoming book, “The New Kings of New York” (arriving on bookshelves later this month), Barnett’s 73-story glass condo tower was met with a polarized arrival in Midtown in 2014. What critics didn’t realize at the time, though, was that in a few short years, a who’s who of top developers including Arthur Zeckendorf, Harry Macklowe and Steve Roth would all be erecting glass towers of their own.
And thus, Billionaires’ Row was born. One57 was “patient zero” in this new wave of luxury building design. Considering his affinity for black turtlenecks and trend-setting commitment to minimalist aesthetics, one might consider Barnett a Steve Jobs of real estate development.
3. He’s not afraid to take a calculated risk
One57 wasn’t just a bold design choice. It was a daring move during a construction rut that followed the country’s biggest financial meltdown since the Great Depression.
Naysayers wondered how Extell was going to pull it off, but Barnett was out here making plans for the 1,000-foot tower. What was once referred to as “Extell’s abyss” was transformed into New York City’s first major construction project since the crash. A decade after launching sales, it’s finally almost sold out.
4. He’s not afraid of anything, really
In an industry of loud-mouthed show-offs, Barnett — labeled the “anti-Trump” by New York magazine in 2010 — has long exemplified a sedate demeanor and quiet confidence.
Interviewed last year by TRD publisher Amir Korangy, Barnett was asked what, if anything, was next for construction.
Amid all the hand-wringing over disrupted supply chains, rising costs and delayed projects, Barnett was shockingly unbothered, saying that the present challenges would endure “for a period of time — could be two years, it could be three years.”
You can ask him what he thinks now when you see him at The Real Deal’s NYC Real Estate Showcase + Forum. The only thing standing between you and Barnett’s decades of industry experience and wisdom is your registration.
The clock is ticking, so secure your spot today.