Construction timelines were disrupted across the city this year as sites deemed unessential were shut down.
Still, work at many projects — including some of the largest ongoing developments — either qualified as essential or received approval from the Department of Buildings to move forward. And despite some delays, The Real Deal’s ranking of the most active developers in 2020 closely mirrors last year’s list, as well as 2018’s, with some minor shuffling among the top firms.
The ranking is based on the volume of work each developer has underway and the total square footage of those projects. Just as last year, one non-developer — a bank — made the top 10.
1. Brookfield Property Partners | Square feet: 3.8 million | Project count: 6
After two years of trailing Related Companies, Brookfield snagged the top spot in this year’s ranking. The firm’s largest project is Two Manhattan West, a 1.8 million-square-foot office tower being built on Manhattan’s West Side. The design of the tower is nearly identical to One Manhattan West, Brookfield’s recently completed adjacent office building.
CEO Brian Kingston told TRD in June that it was moving “full steam ahead on the final tower,” noting that the company had secured approval from the city to continue work on the project when construction activity was restricted. Amazon reportedly considered leasing space in the tower, but announced last year that it was taking space at SL Green Realty’s 410 10th Avenue.
2. Related Companies | Square feet: 3.6 million | Project count: 5
Hudson Yards, the 28-acre development on Manhattan’s Far West Side, has kept Related at the top of TRD’s ranking for several years. The developer’s largest ongoing project this year is the nearly 2.3 million-square-foot office tower, 50 Hudson Yards. Late last year, Facebook agreed to take more than half of that space, along with 265,000 square feet at 30 Hudson Yards and 57,000 square feet at 55 Hudson Yards.
Like Two Manhattan West, work was able to continue at 50 Hudson Yards when construction was limited to essential and approved work. The DOB temporarily stopped operations on the site, however, after finding that some unsanctioned work was happening.
3. BRP Companies | Square feet: 3.1 million | Project count: 10
BRP didn’t crack the top 10 list last year or in 2018. But projects in Jamaica, Queens, helped propel the firm this year to the third spot. The largest is a 500,000-square-foot, mixed-use building at 90-02 168th Street. The project is expected to include 614 units of mixed-income housing. The developer is also constructing a 490,000-square-foot, 669-unit apartment building at 147-40 and 148-10 Archer Avenue.
4. Extell Development | Square feet: 2.5 million | Project count: 5
Once again, Extell’s massive luxury tower at 217 West 57th Street is the firm’s largest ongoing project. Central Park Tower will rise 1,775 feet and span 1.2 million square feet. Sales launched in October 2018, with a projected sellout of $4 billion. In October, Extell brought in Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group to serve as co-exclusive brokers alongside its in-house sales team.
5. L+M Development Partners | Square feet: 2.4 million | Project count: 9
Most of L+M’s ongoing projects are in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The largest is 575 Exterior Street, which is part of the two-phase Bronx Point waterfront development. The 23-story, 542-unit, mixed-use building is expected to span more than 550,000 square feet and is being co-developed with Type A Projects. Bronx Point will ultimately include some 1,045 units, of which more than half will be permanently affordable. The developer is also working on a 446-unit apartment building at 2926 West 19th Street in Coney Island with BFC Partners and Taconic Investment Partners.
6. Tishman Speyer | Square feet: 2.2 million | Project count: 1
The Bjarke Ingels-designed supertall at 509 West 34th Street, known as “the Spiral,” once again landed Tishman Speyer on this year’s ranking, taking the sixth spot for the second year in a row. The office tower is expected to span 2.2 million square feet (though, it is marketed as 2.8 million). Pfizer agreed to anchor the building, signing a lease in 2018 for 800,000 square feet.
7. TF Cornerstone | Square feet: 2.1 million | Project count: 4
The firm is working on a pair of affordable-housing towers in its Hunters Point South development. Together, the buildings — at 52-03 and 52-41 Center Boulevard — are projected to span more than 1 million square feet and include 1,200 apartments. The towers represent TF Cornerstone’s largest ongoing project.
The second-biggest is part of the Pacific Park development in Brooklyn. In early 2019, the developer bought 615 and 595 Dean streets from Greenland Forest City for $143 million. TF Cornerstone is building two towers there, which will collectively span more than 900,000 square feet and include nearly 800 apartments.
8. JPMorgan Chase | Square feet: 1.9 million | Project count: 1
Despite a rise in office vacancies and a shift to remote work, the pandemic hasn’t put a damper on JPMorgan’s plans for a new headquarters at 270 Park Avenue in Midtown East. The bank is demolishing the existing office tower on the site to make way for a larger tower (marketed as 2.5 million square feet), marking the first project to take advantage of the recent rezoning of the neighborhood.
9. Durst Organization | Square feet: 1.6 million | Project count: 8
Most of the Durst Organization’s ongoing projects are located in Queens, the largest of which is a rental tower known as Queens Plaza Park. That project, at 29-55 Northern Boulevard in Long Island City, will include nearly 1,000 apartments and span roughly 1 million square feet. The firm is also chipping away at its seven-building, 2,002-unit rental complex known as Halletts Point. That project, however, has been repeatedly delayed, most recently in January by disagreements between the developer and City Hall. The firm has indicated it will wait until the next administration to move forward.
10. United Construction and Development Group | Square feet: 1.5 million | Project count: 6
All of United’s ongoing projects are in Queens. When complete, a 778-foot tower at 23-15 44th Drive in Long Island City will be the borough’s tallest. Appropriately dubbed Skyline Tower, the 780,000-square-foot project will have more than 800 condo units. The tower is being developed by United alongside FSA Capital and Risland US Holdings. Yimby reported earlier this month that work on the building’s exterior was in the final stages.
SOURCE: TRD analysis of Department of Buildings data for jobs that have not received a temporary certificate of occupancy as of December 2020.