Editor’s note: Real estate’s new era

Stuart Elliott
Stuart Elliott

This month marks the end of the first year of a new era in New York City real estate, mirroring a new period for the whole city.

It’s the first anniversary of the administration of Mayor de Blasio, who sparked fear in the industry during his campaign when he said “towering, glitzy buildings marketed to the global elite is not the type of development New Yorkers
are looking for.”

Turns out, he hasn’t been as harsh as that, and in our analysis of his first year,  developer Francis Greenburger even opines, “He’s the right person for the right time. It’s about finding the right balance for issues” like middle-class wages and the criminal justice system. “That’s essential for having a stable environment, and if you don’t have a stable environment, real estate doesn’t do well.”

Still, there’s uncertainty surrounding some initiatives, like de Blasio’s push for affordable housing. Investors buying development sites, for instance, are not sure how much they can actually build after meeting the plan’s requirements.

But one thing is for certain: A rollback of the post-9/11 era is happening, with parts of the Bloomberg legacy, like poor doors and stop-and-frisk, falling into disfavor.

And in this new period, what seemed trendy before, like Brooklyn, for example, is increasingly the new normal. Brooklyn as a rival to Manhattan? No surprise. A $10 million townhouse sale in Park Slope? Get used to it.

On the digital front, in the future, no one will start a “tech” company — all companies will be de facto digital companies, just like all businesses are online. And as behemoths like Google and Facebook continue to gobble up Manhattan office space, their unique corporate cultures will eventually be the defacto corporate culture.

Which brings me to our most read stories of the past year. The start of 2015 is a good time to look at our most popular pieces. You can see them at therealdeal.com/archives.

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At the top was a profile of developer Jared Kushner, who epitomizes this new era, and has “Brooklyn” and “tech” on lock. (He also happens to own a publication called the New York Observer.) Our story chronicles the young CEO’s rise to the top of his family’s company and his appetite for megadeals, including being a part of the $375 million buy of the old Watchtower complex in Dumbo, which is receiving a massive redo as a 21st century office space catering to startups.

Many of our other top stories, unsurprisingly, focused on development, including our examinations of the most active developers, the newest players in the game, the astronomical prices for new condos and the riskiest deals.

Other stories that did well were rankings of brokers and brokerages, a look at the industry’s rising stars, and a survey of the next big ideas in New York real estate. A story on the Syrian Jewish investors dominating city retail — including players like Jeff Sutton and Joe Sitt — also generated a lot of interest.

There is also a lot to feast on in this issue. Our main cover story takes a look at landlords who are the most active in going after tenants in Housing Court. It’s the first-ever ranking of its kind, which involved combing through more than 6,000 Manhattan housing court cases.

Another cover story examines the surprisingly growing chorus of big-name developers pointing to the glut in the high-end new condo market.

We also look at the biggest deals of 2014, and profile the next president of REBNY, as its longest-serving president, Steve Spinola, departs.

Here are the most viewed magazine stories of 2014:
1. Jared Kushner, the accidental CEO (February)
2. NYC’s most active developers (April )
3. The Syrian retail touch (January)
4. New players get in the NYC development game (October)
5. Ranking new condos by per-square-foot prices (February)
6. Manhattan’s riskiest development deals (July)
7. NYC’s 2014 top agents ranking (July)
8. Annual brokerage ranking: Big firms thrive despite inventory crunch (May)
9. Real estate’s rising stars (March)
10. Real estate’s next big ideas (July)

Enjoy the issue and the New Year.