The Real Deal New York

At the Desk of: Marty Burger

The Silverstein CEO on SoulCycle, reckless skiing and turning 50
By Claire Moses | June 01, 2015 07:00AM
Marty Burger Silverstein Properties

Marty Burger (Photo: Tobias Truvillion)

Marty Burger is the CEO of mega development firm Silverstein Properties, the owner of most of the World Trade Center site. Burger was brought on in 2010 to serve as co-CEO, alongside company founder Larry Silverstein. Silverstein officially passed the baton last year, leaving Burger to oversee more than $10 billion in projects, including one in China and one in Israel. The 49-year-old industry veteran grew up on Long Island and did his undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. He worked at the Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs, and the Related Companies and founded his own company, the now-defunct Artisan Real Estate Ventures, before joining Silverstein. Since coming aboard, Burger has traveled to Shenzhen 24 times to work on a 5 million-square-foot mixed-use project named Qianhai. In New York, from his 38th-floor office at 7 World Trade Center, he can keep tabs on several of his biggest Manhattan towers, including the luxury hotel-condo 30 Park Place and 2 World Trade Center, the empty site that Silverstein is reportedly talking to Rupert Murdoch about co-developing for the media giant.

desk-vailVail sign   

Burger leads an annual ski trip to Vail, Colorado, for about 120 industry executives. Cantor Fitzgerald’s Michael May, JLL’s Alex Chudnoff, Corigin CEO Ryan Freedman and President Ed Baquero are among the regulars. Though more “a bonding experience” than work, it often leads to deals. “The top of Vail Mountain,” Burger said, “that’s my happy place.”

SoulCycle   

Burger starts his day at 6 a.m. with an hour-long spin class at SoulCycle on East 83rd Street. “I used to be a beanpole,” he said. “Your metabolism slows and you have to do these things.” Unless he’s traveling, he’s on his stationary bike six or seven mornings a week.

desk-wifePicture with wife 

Burger with his wife, Allison, whom he married in 2013 at a country club in upstate New York. The couple lives on the Upper East Side. She has a 13-year-old son from a previous marriage, while Burger has two teenage sons from his first marriage.

Subway signs 

Burger had this painting commissioned as a reminder of his “six years of hard work” in developing the Time Warner Center while at Related. “It seemed impossible at the time,” he said, noting that the project was a game-changer for the city.

desk-vegasLas Vegas   

While working at Related, Burger lived in Sin City part time for six years in the early 2000s. He helped develop more than 5 million square feet for the company and brought 2,000 apartments to market. During the week he lived at the Four Seasons, but he commuted home to New York every weekend.

Silver Stallions   

Each year, top Silverstein executives create a video for the company’s holiday party. Burger played Liberace in one. In another, under the band name “Silver Stallions,” he, Janno Lieber, president of World Trade Center properties; Roger Silverstein, Larry’s son and vice president of leasing and Sandy Jacolow, chief information officer performed Starship’s “We Built this City.” Last year, Burger and his deal team spoofed “The Book of Mormon.”

desk-glovesMuhammad Ali’s boxing gloves 

Burger received the gloves, which were once owned by Muhammad Ali and bear the boxing legend’s autograph, as a gift from his friend Bernie Yuman, Ali’s manager. As a kid, Burger’s grandmother, who lived at 66th Street and West End Avenue, took him to CBS studios to watch boxing matches.
“She’d sneak in somehow,” he recalled.

desk-mickey-mousePhoto with Mickey Mouse   

Late last year, Silverstein opened a Four Seasons hotel at Disney World in Orlando. At the groundbreaking, Burger posed with Mickey Mouse, while Larry Silverstein looked on. Burger said it wasn’t a run-of-the-mill groundbreaking. “Disney took over and made it a production.”

desk-ticketSki speeding ticket   

Burger was pulled over and ticketed while skiing down an easy trail called Flapjack in Vail earlier this year. He framed the ticket as a keepsake. And the warning hasn’t stopped him from wearing a Bluetooth-wired helmet while tearing down the mountain. In fact, he said he’s often “actively negotiating,” while on skis.

Bobblehead   

Victor Bucchere of CBRE Global Investors had this bobblehead of Burger made after the CEO secured financing for 30 Park Place in 2013. “I don’t think it looks like me,” Burger said.