Editor’s note:
The $800 million man

May.May 01, 2016 01:25 PM
Stuart Eliiott

Stuart Elliott

Talk about an embarrassment of riches.

Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman raked in nearly $800 million last year —from his salary and his massive ownership stake in the private equity giant.

That’s more than the GDP of some small countries. But perhaps it’s not surprising given that Blackstone just recently passed the $100 billion mark in real estate assets under management and has been the largest acquirer of Manhattan real estate over the past five years.

This month, The Real Deal combed through public documents to find out how much some of the top-paid chiefs connected to NYC real estate earned. Howard Lorber, Steven Roth and Anthony Malkin are among those whose impressive hauls we examine in a story on page 48.

Schwarzman, who finished first on the list by a mile, couldn’t have made more money even if he had literally invented a machine to mint it. (His earnings work out to $2.19 million a day, $91,324 an hour, $1,522 a minute and $25 a second.)

We can all fantasize about what that amount of wealth would be like, but it also just sort of makes you scratch your head and think, where does it all come from?

At a time when we are continually hearing about the serious economic frustration in flyover country — a disaffection Donald Trump is tapping into as part of his White House bid — the amount of wealth concentrated in cities like New York stands out so markedly. While a majority of Trump’s base thinks life has gotten worse in recent decades, and many feel that their economic prospects are dimming, New York tells the opposite story. (New York has its own economic inequalities and its own “tale of two cities,” of course, which require serious attention, including the enormous need for affordable housing, but I’d argue the overall economic baseline here is far brighter.)

There is money coming to New York from abroad, and a record number of tourists, but it’s hard to fathom the scope of demand that has led to huge swaths of Brooklyn and Queens being gentrified and built up, and entire new neighborhoods like Hudson Yards rising.

When all is said and done, Hudson Yards will consist of 16 skyscrapers — the largest private development project in the U.S. But what’s even more remarkable is that another 12 towers are rising just north of the site, essentially a second Hudson Yards, with buildings from Extell, Silverstein, Spitzer, Tishman Speyer and Moinian. See our breakdown of the new neighborhood on page 50.

That’s not to say there is immunity from a downturn. Manhattan real estate is clearly showing some signs of stress with developers yanking new condo projects from the market (see page 22).

But New York can sometimes seem like an endless bounty. How many attractive people can you pass on the street every day, how many successful people can you meet at a cocktail party, and how many hip coffee shops and trendy restaurants is it possible to sustain in one neighborhood?

And what message does it send about vertical ambition (read: one should have lots of it), when you see the tallest tower rise in the Western Hemisphere at One World Trade Center. We review a new book about that building on page 66. Same thing goes for 432 Park, the tallest residential building on Earth. (We take a close look at the residents moving in on page 52.)

For brokers, too, the money at stake in NYC real estate can seem never-ending — at least when the market is good.

In our cover story, we rank the biggest residential brokerages in the city and analyze the $20 billion worth of listings that the Top 25 firms sold in the last year. See page 32. And make sure to check out our ranking of top commercial mortgage brokers on page 76.

Finally, our first National Retail Market Report is packaged with the issue. The 60-page magazine includes surveys of the top retail players and deals and what’s happening along the country’s most exclusive retail corridors. It also includes a preview of the largest retail event of the year, the ICSC conference in Las Vegas, where it will also be distributed.  If you have to leave New York, you could do worse.

Enjoy!


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