Coffee Talk: Extell’s Gary Barnett and Ryan Serhant

Developer, broker talk new development amid the pandemic

You can count on Extell Development’s Gary Barnett not to mince words: The hard stop that the coronavirus pandemic put on construction last spring has been a “pain” for the construction industry, and it may take time for the new development industry to recover.

In an interview with The Real Deal founder and publisher Amir Korangy, Barnett predicted that the slowdown will go for another couple years. “There will be very little supply,” in the wake of the pandemic, Barnett said during the latest episode of Coffee Talk. “For a period of time — it could be another year, it could be two years, it could be three years — we’re going to see very little development going on.”

That may sound surprising coming from Barnett, whose firm is responsible for some of Manhattan’s most ambitious, expensive residential towers in recent history, including One57 and Central Park Tower on Billionaires’ Row. But he’s optimistic about what this means for the future.

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“It’s good for the overall market, because we will absorb the supply that’s come on the market, and it will stabilize,” he said.

When the time came to find a brokerage for Brooklyn Point, Extell’s first condo in Kings County, Barnett placed his bets on “Million Dollar Listing” star Ryan Serhant, who recently left Nest Seekers International to launch his own namesake brokerage.

Why not go with a more established firm? Because in a sea of brokerages and agents, Serhant was “not just another pretty face.” Barnett recognized him as someone “who does the work,” with a fresh perspective on selling properties. “Ryan is someone who stands out from the crowd,” Barnett said.

The risk paid off: Extell and Serhant announced Brooklyn Point on Instagram Live and pulled out all the stops — “a ballerina, a string quartet and a million-dollar listing” — and Barnett said since the broker came on board, signed contracts have accelerated.

“I’ve always responded well to pressure,” Serhant said.