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Owners Magazine 2017: Interviews With NYC’s Top Landlords

Original article published on Commercial Observer


Francis Greenburger

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Time Equities

What was the best decision you made in the last year? To sell a couple of New York City assets that had appreciated greatly.

What was the worst? Not to sell a New York City asset for which I had a strong offer but slightly less than I wanted.

Is the Midtown office market oversaturated? The market has slowed down somewhat in part due to additional supply.

Where’s retail at the moment? It obviously went through a lot of agony earlier this year…What happens now? The retail landscape has changed in New York. Tenants require lower economic rents and real estate taxes that can be realistically supported by their sales volume.

A lot of developers desperately want Amazon to open its headquarters in New York. Why is this a good idea or bad one? Where should it go? Having Amazon would be a wonderful addition to New York City. Long Island City would be a possible location for them.

Is foreign money still coming to New York at the same pace? Who’s investing? Although there are exceptions, Chinese investors are subject to government restraints in arranging to transfer funds out of China. This has caused a reduction in transactions by one of the most active group of New York City buyers.

Has the recent spate of hurricanes changed your calculus in terms of where to invest? Has it made you reconsider how to build your buildings? Has it altered your opinion about climate change? Clearly, extreme weather patterns are here, and we all need to take a more defensive approach to where we invest and make our properties more storm resistant.

Did New York City public transit’s “summer of hell” impact your business? How? I am sure this affected members of our staff, but I have not seen a broader effect on our business.

Is the open-space model undergoing a rethink? What about prebuilt? The market still seems to like open space models. Prebuilts need to be more competitive from a cost point of view.

If you were on the City Council, what’s the one piece of legislation you’d introduce? To force building owners to fix exterior problems quickly and eliminate long-term scaffolding.

What could Mayor Bill de Blasio do to win your heart? Create a master plan to close Rikers and bring cutting-edge borough-centric justice centers to New York City.

What are your thoughts on the construction safety bill? Is this going to change the cost of doing business in the city? Safety is something we have to be able to offer. However, the training must be readily available and effective.

What are the pros and cons of Affordable New York? Pros: More affordable housing helps New Yorkers who cannot afford market-rate housing. Cons: Can we afford the subsidies required to make it affordable? Where is the balance?

If you had 15 minutes alone with President Donald Trump, what would you say? I would try to assess whether he really believes in the policies he advocates or whether it is some complex political strategy that is hard to discern.


Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel: Jimmy Kimmel.

740 Park Avenue or One 57: 740 Park Avenue.

Mets or Yankees: Mets.

Left Bank in Paris or white sandy beach in Maui: Left Bank in Paris.

Master of None or Broad City: Not familiar with these.

Oculus or Grand Central Terminal: Oculus.

DeKalb Market or Chelsea Market: Chelsea Market.

Robert A.M. Stern or Bjarke Ingels: Bjarke Ingels.

Bernie Sanders or Roy Moore: Bernie Sanders.

Starbucks or literally any other kind of coffee: Starbucks.