Commercial Observer, November 2, 2020
In 2021, will you buy or sell any real estate? What kind?
We have been acquisitive throughout the pandemic and expect that trend to continue into 2021. We are investing equity into growth-oriented, resilient, tech-enabled sectors across the U.S. and Europe that are poised to do well long-term, such as life science, industrial, multifamily and creative office.
We are also evaluating opportunities in health care. We have a well-developed, data science initiative that allows us to isolate growth markets, as well as to risk-adjust sectors and markets.
How f@*$ed is retail?
Retail is in a state of disequilibrium, brought about by an oversupply of space, rent levels that don’t reflect the economics of in-store sales, and, of course, the shift to online. COVID-19, the great accelerator, has amplified these trends exponentially. Retail has been in a state of constant change for decades, and we will see these pressures continue. Retail won’t die, but it will continue to evolve.
How flexible are you with negotiating rents?
We stay very close to the market, our tenants, and understand the competitive positioning of our properties. Landlords benefit from lease agreements that govern obligations of the parties. The pandemic has, obviously, been a huge curveball. We want our tenants to prosper, but also evaluate their holistic positioning in our negotiations. We have, fortunately, acquired prime properties in irreplaceable locations. They continue to be sought after by tenants.
Has your “dead to me” list grown?
Not at all. Relationships, counterparties, industry players are the backbone of our franchise. We’ve maintained excellent connectivity during the pandemic with our contacts around the world. One of my greatest pleasures is maintaining global relationships. The strength of this network was evident in the hundreds of video calls we held early in the pandemic and the intel we obtained.
Are you in the market for financing?
Always. It’s a good time to sharpen your pencil on cost of borrowing.
What would be the signs that things are NOT going to improve in 2021?
Continued increases in the rates of daily COVID-19 infections. We are all eager to get back to some semblance of normal. Great strides have been made in therapeutics with vaccines to follow. We should expect bumps in the COVID-19 curves, as schools and some colleges resume, and the colder months approach.
What do you think will NOT go back to normal?
Fifty- to 60-hour workweek in the office.
Who do you like for mayor in 2021?
We need a moderate, practical-minded candidate who can balance the need for income inequality, justice for all with economic opportunities, and pro-growth tax policies for all to benefit. New York is, and will always, be an exciting, safe place to live and work. It needs to be a city for all.
What do you think the city and/or state should do to help both real estate and the city?
Approach property owners as the integral participants they are to making the city great. Proper economic incentives need to be maintained in order to allow tenants to enjoy quality experiences all around.
How do you think the November election will affect real estate? How do you see a Trump win? How do you see a Biden win?
We know the conditions that have existed for the past four years. Wouldn’t expect much to change should Trump be re-elected. Bigger issue for a Biden presidency is what happens to the Senate. Keep your eyes on that.
Where’s your apocalypse bunker?
I’m an avid boater, so it’s over the horizon.
Favorite at-home quarantine foods?
Sushi. Know a great source that hasn’t been closed a single day.
Did you gain or lose weight during quarantine? Lost. Discovered biking.
Which TV show have you binged?
Mayor de Blasio: Best Mayor or Best Mayor EVER? None of the above.
Best work-from-home hack? When my daughter videos from college. Not so much a hack as a welcome distraction.
Biden, Trump or Kanye
I wouldn’t bet on Kanye.