From left to right: Justin Elghanayan, Jed Walentas, Andrew Sciame, Samantha Rudin, Raphael De Niro and Benjamin LevineSigns of improvement appeared at the end of the year, but 2009 will be remembered for its epic real estate downturn. In response to the maelstrom of hard times, many longtime industry veterans took the opportunity to scale back their activities rather than tackling what promise to be several more difficult years.
For example, Brown Harris Stevens announced plans to take over the 28-year-old Upper East Side boutique firm started by Edward Lee Cave, a fixture of the high-end brokerage scene. And Douglas Durst stepped down as co-president of the Durst Organization, after describing his day-to-day duties as “exhausting.” (He’ll remain chairman.)
But as some industry leaders recede, new opportunities are being created for young players, new ideas, new buyers and innovative business models.
This month, The Real Deal looked at the next generation of New York City real estate, from the people poised to reshape the industry to the strategies that will help them do it.
We looked at how the offspring of some of the city’s most established real estate families — including Ivanka Trump, Jed Walentas, Justin Elghanayan and Jamie and Harrison LeFrak — are handling the downturn. Because many old real estate families were conservative during the boom and avoided overleveraging, observers say their sons and daughters are uniquely positioned to profit from distressed opportunities.
We also examined the coming wave of baby boomer buyers with their sights set on retiring in New York City. Now that the market has stabilized at a lower price point, baby boomers are increasingly apartment hunting here, brokers say. Their decisions of where to buy and how much to spend are likely to shape the market in the coming decade.
Buyers’ brokers, meanwhile, have seen a boost in business recently amid a stubbornly tough market. But they’re recognizing that in the long term they’ll need to adapt to customers’ increasing reliance on the Web, which is already causing an uptick in direct deals.
Even amenities, from roof decks to bike storage rooms, will take on a new — and more expensive — form in the 2010s, as buildings look to rake in revenue to make up for financial shortfalls.