Big Real Estate Players Meet the Big City

Commercial News » Commercial Real Estate Edition | By Trisha Ocona | September 29, 2008 10:47 PM ET

(NEW YORK, NY) - On the eve of the seventh anniversary of the WTC tragedy, over 3,000 real estate professionals filled Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall for The Real Deal's 4th Annual Development Forum. Constructing the future of Lower Manhattan is important, explained real estate tycoon Larry Silverstein (CEO of Silverstein Properties and WTC developer) during the "Surviving a Market Slowdown" forum.

Attendees had the opportunity to get advice from NYC real estate expert panelists, network and party later. "We don't get this chance every day," said an attendee when posing a question to the panel.

Bob Knakal

Although the panelists believed the market still has more falling to do, they acknowledged that there is plenty of upside coming to both the lower Manhattan and Brooklyn market in the years to come. Robert Knakal, founding Partner and Chairman of Massey Knakal Realty (with more than $5.5 billion worth of NYC building sales), explained how NYC building sales is still pretty strong. "There will always be some fool who wants NYC," added Barbara Corcoran, Founder of The Corcoran Group and Chairman of Barbara Corcoran Inc. which brings in billions of sales each year. R. Donahue Peebles, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Peebles Corporation, believes Brooklyn is an emerging market. As the owner of the country's largest African American real estate development company with a $4 billion portfolio throughout the nation, he is actively looking for properties while in town.

The panel moderated by Brian Sullivan, a Fox Business Network anchor, also included Charles Kushner (Chairman of Kushner Companies, a prime commercial owner in NYC) and Steven C. Witkoff (Principal of the Witkoff Group with a portfolio that consists of over 11 million sq. ft. of properties).

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