WATCH: Steve Witkoff, unplugged: The developer on getting his start, his friendship with Trump, his bet on South Florida & more

"I suffer from wanting to be well-liked and the fear of failure."

Miami /
Jun.June 12, 2017 05:15 PM

From TRD New York: Before he became one of New York’s biggest developers, Steve Witkoff was a frayed shirt-wearing lawyer billing the very crowd he would later become a part of.

“Every day you were representing these swashbuckling guys who were entrepreneurial in their spirits,” Witkoff said of his clients at Dreyer & Traub, who included the likes of Peter Kalikow, Arthur Cohen and Howard Lorber. “They felt like the rock stars to me!”

The Real Deal’s Hiten Samtani sat down with Witkoff for a wide-ranging interview in which the mogul discussed how he went from buying ramshackle buildings in Harlem with Larry Gluck, to breaching the “Maginot Line” and making a play for Manhattan icons like the Woolworth Building, to developing pricey condos like 150 Charles Street and 111 Murray Street.

Witkoff also sought to quash a commonly-held perception of him as a “wild guy,” addressing a front-page 1998 Wall Street Journal article that painted him that way.

“What they loved and what became part of the story is that I was licensed to carry a gun,” he said. “So then they turn that into the ‘pistol-packing guy who went up to the Bronx’.”

And he launched a spirited defense of his longtime friend Donald Trump, dismissing the scandals the president is engulfed in as a whole lot of hot air.

“I actually think that he’s doing a really good job.” Witkoff said of Trump. “And you couldn’t pay me to do his job.”

Watch the video above to see the conversation in full.

Produced by Alistair Gardiner and Kerry Barger. Interview conducted by Hiten Samtani

For more videos, visit The Real Deal’s YouTube page.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Steven, Lauren and Zach Witkoff with the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach (Getty, Witkoff, Ritz Carlton)
Witkoffs buy condos at Ritz-Carlton Residences in Miami Beach
Witkoffs buy condos at Ritz-Carlton Residences in Miami Beach
(Photos courtesy of Miami Historic Preservation, Smith Aerials, Colliers)
Development site near MiamiCentral hits the market
Development site near MiamiCentral hits the market
Alliance Residential Company CEO Bruce Ward and 6595 Morikami Park Road (Google Maps)
Alliance Residential buys site, scores $46M construction loan for senior apartments in Delray Beach
Alliance Residential buys site, scores $46M construction loan for senior apartments in Delray Beach
Arbor Management Acquisition Company heads Ivan Kaufman and Maurice Kaufman with a rendering of Aventura Park (Anillo Toledo Lopez, iStock)
Arbor Management buys multifamily dev site near Aventura for $10M
Arbor Management buys multifamily dev site near Aventura for $10M
(iStock)
South Florida resi construction starts soar in March
South Florida resi construction starts soar in March
Westime owner Jean Simonian and Washington Park Hotel. (Facebook via Westime and Washington Park Hotel)
Ladder Capital sells Witkoff’s Miami Beach hotel for $44M
Ladder Capital sells Witkoff’s Miami Beach hotel for $44M
Steve Witkoff and 4766 North Bay Road (Getty, Douglas Elliman)
Steve Witkoff pays $8M for waterfront North Bay Road lot
Steve Witkoff pays $8M for waterfront North Bay Road lot
Steve Witkoff and the Washington Park Hotel (Getty, Google Maps)
Ladder Capital seeks to foreclose on Witkoff’s South Beach hotel
Ladder Capital seeks to foreclose on Witkoff’s South Beach hotel
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...