The Closing with Peter Riguardi

Peter Riguardi (photo by Michael Toolan)
Riguardi is the president of New York operations for Jones Lang LaSalle. He is the son of Edward Riguardi, who worked for 29 years at Williams Real Estate (now Colliers International). The younger Riguardi got his start at Williams before the two left in 1989 to form Koeppel Tener Riguardi, which later became Colliers ABR. Peter, who was recruited to join Jones Lang LaSalle in 2002, has completed transactions such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 1.6 million-square-foot lease at 2 Broadway, the largest leasing transaction in city history.

When were you born?
April 10, 1961.

Where did you grow up?
Staten Island — in a place called Westerleigh, which is near the Staten Island Zoo.

Where do you live now?
In Rumson, New Jersey, home of Bruce Springsteen.

Are you a Springsteen fan?

Have you ever met him?
I have. We belong to the same beach club and my 16-year-old son Nick and [Springsteen’s] son Sam went to grammar school together. I’ve met him in that context — we’re not friends or anything.

You have four sons. How old are they?
They’re 23, 21, 16 and 14. We are big sports fans. When we’re together we’re talking sports, music and politics.

I hear you’re a Mets fan. If you had to compare your style in real estate to a Mets player, whom would you pick?
Keith Hernandez, because I think this business has an art to it, I like to think about it a lot, and I like to try and win the game outside the lines and be as prepared as I can be for when I’m inside the lines.

You did your first deal as a college sophomore?
I was an intern at Williams, and it was an 8,000-square-foot lease at 60 Hudson Street [for] a trading company. I bought a lot of beer at college when that [commission] check came.

When you went to Jones Lang LaSalle, your father joined you to serve as managing director. Was it weird that you were his boss?
My dad and I are father and son always, so it doesn’t matter what the working relationship is. We definitely disagreed on things. We agreed on more things. My dad came from a different environment. His parents were immigrants from Italy. He was more conservative, and I was more of a risk-taker.

What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
I’ve done 100 leases of more than 100,000 square feet, and seven leases of more than 1 million square feet. Sometimes I’m embarrassed because I can’t remember all the big deals. It is nice, particularly when I’m with my sons and I can drive up 42nd Street and I can point out to them my connection with these beautiful skyscrapers.

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Will any of them go into the business?
My older son, Eddie, is working for a real estate investment company called Merchant Equities.

It must be tough for your wife, Linda, being the only woman.
It is. She’s surrounded. And she is completely different; she was the valedictorian of our high school and college class. I was the guy copying the homework in the hallway right before class.

How did you meet?
We met in high school. I was on the stage crew working on a play, “The Glass Menagerie,” and she was the lead in the play. I never noticed her until I was shining the lights on her.

You are working on leasing the former Goldman Sachs building at 85 Broad Street. How’s that going?
We are really pleased with the activity. There is one tenant that has expressed interest in the whole building. We have three or four others that would occupy 25 to 33 percent.

That building is so imposing — it’s like the Death Star.
There are some plans to make the building more inviting.

Do you know Fred Wilpon, Mets owner and head of Sterling Equities?
Fred Wilpon and my dad went to the same high school and knew each other as teenagers. When I was a young person in the business, I got to know Fred’s son Jeff.

How do you like the new Citi Field?
I absolutely love it. And I had a tear in my eye when they tore down Shea — I grew up with it. But I’ve really enjoyed going to Citi Field, both with my family and as a great place to entertain clients. We have season tickets here at the firm for every major team — Mets, Yankees, Jets.

Was that your idea?
It was one of the things we’ve done to make sure we’re out touching the clients [laughs].

How do you approach challenges?
I love a quote from [retired race car driver] Mario Andretti: He said that in car racing, if you’re comfortable with how you’re driving, you’re not driving fast enough. That’s what I feel like. If I feel comfortable and not challenged, then I’m not pushing it hard enough.

Do you have one person in the industry that you’re always competing with?
Mary Ann Tighe and Bob Alexander. It seems like those two are always fishing in the same pond. They’re both really good at what they do.

What do you do in your free time?
I have a boat. [It’s] just a powerboat. I call it a picnic boat. Fill it up with provisions and spend the day on it.

I see you’ve got a photo of Ronald Reagan. Is he a hero of yours?
I think for people my age, the U.S. was drifting a little. I’m not saying that all of his policies I agree with, but he got us back on course. I have a lot of respect for him. I just like having the picture.