Real Estate MENTORS
President and Chief Executive Officer
Acadia Realty Trust
Kenneth F. Bernstein is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Acadia Realty Trust, which he co-founded in 1998. Acadia Realty Trust is a real estate investment trust specializing in the acquisition, redevelopment and management of open air retail properties. Acadia owns, or has ownership interest in over 100 properties totaling approximately $2.5 billion dollars in value. For the 10 year period ending December 31, 2011 Acadia achieved annual shareholder returns of 18%.See all answers from Ken Bernstein
Acadia executes its growth initiatives through a series of discretionary institutional acquisition funds. Acadia recently launched Fund IV which is capitalized to acquire $1.5 billion dollars of retail properties.
Mr. Bernstein served as Chief Operating Officer of RD Capital until its merger with Mark Centers Trust in 1998, creating Acadia Realty Trust. Prior to that, Mr. Bernstein was an associate with the New York law firm of Battle Fowler, LLP.
Mr. Bernstein received his BA from the University of Vermont and his JD from Boston University School of Law. Mr. Bernstein sits on the Board of Trustees of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), and he is co-chair of the Open Air Center Committee. He is an active member of National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), Urban Land Institute (ULI), and the Real Estate Roundtable. In addition to being a member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO), where he was the founding chairman of the Real Estate Network and currently sits on the Board of Advisors, he also sits on the Department of Real Estate Advisory Board at Baruch College. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of BRT Realty (NYSE:BRT) as well as Golub Capital (NASDAQ:GBDC).»
President, CEO, and Founder
Blumenfeld Development Group
Edward Blumenfeld is President, Founder, and the creative force behind Blumenfeld Development Group ("BDG"). Under Mr. Blumenfeld's direction, BDG has become an industry leading Development firm that specializes in converting underutilized real estate into vibrant, innovative, progressive space that meets the economic and social needs of the community.See all answers from Ed Blumenfeld
Mr. Blumenfeld has sought to improve the quality of life within his community by bringing his energy, insight and personal commitment to a broad range of charitable efforts. He is a founding member of the Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI) and has been returned by his peers for a third term as its President and also serves as a member of its Energy and Environmental Committee. He remains a strong and effective advocate on issues relating to education, the environment, child healthcare, responsible government and sustainable development.
As a founding member of the Schneider Children's Hospital, Mr. Blumenfeld has worked over three decades to sponsor a unique brand of care based on the special needs of young patients, care that has won international recognition. He has been an ardent supporter of the hospital since its inception and further confirmed his commitment to its continued success by spearheading the expansion of the Hospital campus to include the Blumenfeld Center for Pediatric Medicine.
Mr. Blumenfeld has also taken a leadership role in honoring the region's veterans and active duty military personnel through his philanthropic support of the award winning American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport.
Through his many undertakings, Ed Blumenfeld has literally and figuratively built a better Long Island.
Mr. Blumenfeld created BDG in 1978, when he undertook the redevelopment of the North Shore Atrium, a 300,000 square foot building that BDG converted from a Grumman aircraft manufacturing plant to the first office facility on Long Island to incorporate a restaurant, conference area, fitness center, and retail shops on premises. Mr. Blumenfeld has carried the same innovative and pioneering vision to every BDG project since.
A dramatic example of this approach toward redevelopment involved the expansion and conversion of Bulova Watch Corporation's 250,000 square foot manufacturing plant into a 480,000 square foot Class A office facility, anchored by British Airways' corporate headquarters. Renamed Bulova Corporate Center, this project won numerous design awards and with its art deco details rescued and restored by Mr. Blumenfeld, it is considered BDG's flagship project.
In the early 1990's, BDG expanded into the retail sector, largely in historically disadvantaged communities such as east Harlem that had long been ignored by his development peers. These projects have been satisfying financially and sociologically, as the increased choice and lowered costs that these operations generate have raised standards of living in neighboring communities. Gotham Plaza and East River Plaza are two examples of BDG projects that helped energize and revitalize communities. Mr. Blumenfeld feels a moral obligation to improve BDG's communities, and does so by supporting local charities, donating playing fields, and producing artistic, cultural, and educational events. Mr. Blumenfeld continues to bring his expertise and creativity to new neighborhoods through an array of Sustainable Projects such as The Arches in Deer Park, that remain sensitive to the communities they serve while strengthening local economies.
Mr. Blumenfeld attended Hofstra University, Uniondale, New York
Founder and President of the Board of Directors, Association for a Better Long Island
Member of the Board of Directors, RPS Realty Trust
Member of Planning Board, Village of Roslyn Estates
Member of Advisory Board, University of Pennsylvania- Wharton Real Estate Center
Founder/Past President, Children's Medical Fund- Men's Division, Schneider Children's Hospital
Trustee of Long Island Jewish Medical Center»
Founder and Chairman
Joe Cayre is a lifelong entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the founder and Chairman of Midtown Equities, a diversified real estate investment company whose portfolio consists of residential and commercial properties throughout the country and abroad. A selection of notable holdings include The World Trade Center, the Barney's buildings in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and Midtown Miami, a 56 acre development in the heart of Miami. With his experience in the real estate sector, Joe has become aware of the importance of efficient Title Insurance and has since acquired Boston National Title for its value in servicing a growing need in the field of real estate.»See all answers from Joe Cayre
Managing Director and Global Head
RREEF Real Estate
Pierre Cherki is a managing director and global head of RREEF Real Estate where he is responsible for the management and strategic direction of RREEF's global real estate business. Prior to his appointment as Global Head, Pierre was responsible for managing RREEF's investment managing business in Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific with approximately €20 billion of assets under management across 10 offices. Since joining RREEF in 1997 (then Banker's Trust, acquired by Deutsche Bank in 1998), Pierre has completed numerous transactions in France, the UK and Belgium, and was responsible for the development of RREEF's business in Central and Eastern Europe. PIerre graduated from Tel Aviv University with a BA in Management and Economics and hold an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University. RREEF is a global real estate investment management business of Duetsche Bank's Asset Management Division.»See all answers from Pierre Cherki
Owner, President, and CEO
Cohen Brothers Realty Corporation (CBRC)
As owner, president and chief executive officer of Cohen Brothers Realty Corporation (CBRC), Charles S. Cohen has achieved an enviable national reputation for his exceptional business acumen, innovation and creativity at every turn. An entrepreneurial real estate executive in the truest sense, Mr. Cohen, one of the country’s legendary commercial real estate owners/developers with a portfolio of over 12 million square feet of prime properties located in New York, Texas, Florida and Southern California, is one of the rare breed of developers with a vision that is clearly and ultimately defined by design. Beyond his mastery of business transactions, he has brought his impeccable--and innate--taste and style to a wide range of high-profile projects, from office skyscrapers to corporate parks to his newest passion--Design Centers.See all answers from Charles Cohen
Perhaps the best illustration of this is Mr. Cohen’s remarkable revitalization of the D & D (Decoration & Design) Building in New York City, which has been universally hailed as an unequivocal triumph. In repositioning this once proud specialty building into a true showcase property, Mr. Cohen turned a seemingly outdated structure into the premier luxury home furnishings center in the country. He has done the same in three different sectors of the country-- in Texas at the Decorative Center Houston, in Florida at the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) in Dania Beach, and on the West Coast at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, where perhaps his most spectacular ground-up development to date -- Caesar Pilli’s breathtaking Red Building -- represents the final phase of this award winning 14-acre design and office campus.
While breathing new life into commercial properties, Mr. Cohen has essentially refined the role of the “re-developer”; his ability to reposition and maximize the potential of underutilized buildings has allowed him to carve a special niche within his industry. No better example of those talents was his remarkable transformation of the vacant 39-story million square foot former Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield office building in Manhattan into a fully leased Class A office tower housing the world headquarters of McCann Erickson, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and HypoVereinsbank. More recently, he has successfully repositioned and redeveloped the world class Manhattan office building at 623 Fifth Avenue, formerly known as Swiss Bank Tower, into a dynamic multi-tenanted corporate center for elite financial firms and service providers including Merrill Lynch, UBS Securities, and Cargill.
Mr. Cohen’s rare mix of business savvy and design sensibilities has been instrumental in CBRC’s extraordinary record of success and achievement. Since purchasing the company outright in 1988, he broadened its horizons and, at the same time, significantly increased its profitability. These results can be attributed to Mr. Cohen’s unparalleled expertise in all phases of building development--from construction to leasing, to financing, marketing and managing. At CBRC, he has scrupulously assembled a team of more that 400 employees who share his passion for and commitment to achieving the highest standards of excellence in the real estate field. The CBRC team finances, assembles, constructs and manages its own properties. An exacting dedication to detail and superior leadership skills are hallmarks of both CBRC and Mr. Cohen himself.
Throughout his career, Charles Cohen has worked in collaboration with a remarkable lineup of architects and design professionals on many prominent projects built for an array of Fortune 100 companies. In transforming the former General Foods Headquarters in White Plains, NY, into a Class A multi-tenanted business center, Mr. Cohen worked with legendary architect Philip Johnson. He has completed projects with architects Helmut Jahn and Allan Greenberg and interior designers Adam Tihany and Jacques Garcia. Mr. Cohen has acquired buildings designed by the architectural firms of Kohn, Pederson & Fox and Cesar Pelli.
Mr. Cohen’s broad business and legal backgrounds stood him in good stead early in his career. An attorney admitted to practice law before the New York State Bar and the Southern and Eastern Districts of the U.S. Federal District Court, he served as an officer in Chemical Bank’s Real Estate Division from 1977 to 1979. Following that he acted as vice president and General Counsel for CBRC until 1983 when he was installed as the company’s president.
Despite his inordinately busy schedule, Mr. Cohen has always found the time to pursue other interests--both professional and personal. In 2008, Mr. Cohen joined the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. He is also the former chairman of the Metro New York Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the international business organization’s largest chapter. Mr. Cohen is a trustee of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, The Lighthouse International, The Public Theatre and Advisory Board for the Film Makers’ Cooperative and is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York, the Young Men’s and Women’s Real Estate Association, the American Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He is a board member of the Stella Adler Studio and The Film Society of Lincoln Center, and former chairman of the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, a position that he held from 1991 to 1993. He is a licensed real estate broker in New York and New Jersey. In 2001, Mr. Cohen received the USO’s prestigious Gold Medal for a lifetime of patriotic service to his country and was honored on both coasts by B’Nai B’rith International for his humanitarian and community service. He received the prestigious Israel Peace Medal in 2002 at a luncheon event in his honor that raised an all-time record $52.4 million for the State of Israel Bonds.
In yet another arena, Mr. Cohen served as lead Executive Producer on the film, “Frozen River,” which was awarded the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic. Juror and award presenter Quentin Tarantino described the film as “a wonderful depiction of poverty in America. It took my breath away and then somewhere around the last hour, it put my heart in a vice and proceeded to twist that vice until the last frame.” The film went on to win two Spirit Awards and received two Academy Award nominations in major categories. This film was released by Sony Pictures Classics. A lifelong film aficionado, Mr. Cohen is the author of the well-received TriviaMania (Zebra Books), a Q&A Quiz Book that is a veritable bible of movie-related information. He also created, directed and produced short, which was the recipient of a Kodak Movie Award.
Charles S. Cohen is a 1974 graduate of Tufts University and a 1977 graduate of Brooklyn Law School. He resides in suburban Connecticut (where his home has a movie theatre in it) and New York City. Mr. Cohen is married and has four children.»
Colliers International NY LLC
Mr. Cohen is President of the Tri-State Region. When the firm operated as GVA Williams, Mr. Cohen was theSee all answers from Michael Cohen
third generation of his family to head the firm, which was founded in 1926. He chaired GVA Williams’ Executive
Committee and was the founding partner and Chairman of GVA Worldwide Ltd., GVA Williams’ strategic
partnership of leading real estate firms serving 120 business capitals on five continents.
An expert real estate advisor, Mr. Cohen represents an elite clientele of the nation’s top companies, including
Broadridge Financial, ADP and General Motors. He specializes in representing corporations in the acquisition
and disposition of office space nationwide. Mr. Cohen is also a partner in the ownership of numerous New York
City office buildings, including 57 West 57th Street and 224 West 57th Street. In this capacity his responsibilities
include overseeing leasing, management, and, in some cases, the restoration, redevelopment and repositioning
Mr. Cohen represents a wide range of clients regionally and nationally. He represents Broadridge Financial on
a global basis. On a national scale, he manages ALM’s real estate needs. Mr. Cohen handled Bank of New York’s
acquisition of both its primary and secondary 200,000- square-foot data centers. At 28 W 23rd Street, Mr.
Cohen represented the landlord in the disposition of 270,000 sf to Ecko. He has extensive experience representing
law firms and has represented Moses & Singer in the acquisition of 90,000 ad at 405 Lexington Avenue.
Mr. Cohen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Cohen is on the Board of Directors of several organizations, including The Roundabout Theatre Company and the
Jewish National Fund of Greater New York. He is also a past Chairman of the Board of Housing and Services Inc.
and past President of Young Presidents’ Organization NY Metro Chapter.»
Co-founder and Chairman
As co-founder and Chairman of Allied Partners, Eric Hadar has led Allied’s emergence as one of New York’s most dynamic privately held real estate companies. Since its formation in 1993, Allied has established a diverse portfolio of properties that have produced returns well in excess of the overall market. Allied continues to specialize in identifying unique investment opportunities where creative redevelopment strategies and intensive hands-on management provide significant upside potential.See all answers from Eric Hadar
Eric has been extremely supportive of numerous charities, particularly causes that benefit inner-city children from disadvantaged backgrounds. He has served on the board of many organizations including the New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL), HEAF, Eyebeam and others. Eric was awarded the NYJTL Annual Civic Leadership Award. Eric was also awarded the Starlight Foundation’s “Man of the Year” award for his efforts on its behalf. Eric has been a member of The Board of Governors of REBNY since 2001.
Eric received his bachelor’s degree with highest honors from Hobart College in 1986 and earned an MBA from Columbia Business School in 1989. He remains very involved with Columbia University and Columbia Business School where he is a frequent guest lecturer. Prior to forming Allied, Eric worked for Sonnenblick Goldman Company in New York.»
Founder & CEO
Prime Real Estate New York City
Eric Hantman is the CEO & Founder of Prime NY. He started Prime NY at the end of 2008 after many years experience in the industry. Eric proved to be a huge asset to Homestead, running the office as Managing Director at Homestead NY and producing results as one of the top sales agents in 2007 & 2008. Hantman's vast knowledge of the inventory paired with his relationship building skills make the buying/renting process seamless from start to finish. Eric instills his energy and work ethic into all the agents at Prime NY, building a team of well-rounded professionals.
Prior to Eric's career in Real Estate, he excelled in the Commercial Printing industry, heading up Suniland Press' New York Office. Quickly, Hantman became a force in the NYC upscale catalog business, breaking into the Diamond industry with Kwiat Diamonds.
After Eric graduated with Honors from University of Maryland Business School in 2003, he pursued a 3 year career in the Wine & Liquor Industry. Eric's hard work and motivation always put him at the top of his sales team.
Eric prides himself on Prime NY being the next generation of Real Estate with the best team the industry has to offer.»
Hudson Companies, Inc.
David Kramer is a principal with the Hudson Companies, Inc. (www.hudsoninc.com) which he joined in 1995 and currently runs with fellow principal William Fowler. Hudson has developed 4,500 residential apartments since 1986. Hudson’s projects range from market rate condominiums (J Condo, Riverwalk Court, Third + Bond, The Marais) to institutional housing (NYU Dormitory, staff housing for Memorial Sloan Kettering and Weill Cornell Medical College) to renovations (345 West 13th Street, Cobble Hill Tower, The Knick) to market rate rentals (Riverwalk Crossing, Hudson East, The Crossroads, The Clinton) to affordable housing (Atlantic Center, Dumont Green, Gowanus Green).See all answers from David Kramer
Prior to joining Hudson, Kramer developed affordable housing as the Housing Director of the Venice Community Housing Corporation in Los Angeles, and a project manager for the Skid Row Housing Trust. In 1989, David was one of the founders and the first Executive Director of People for Parks, a Los Angeles non-profit coalition of parks advocates.
David has a Bachelor Degree from Yale University and graduated from the Coro Foundation's Public Affairs Program. David serves on the Alumni Council of the Collegiate School and is a Board Member of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and the Coro Foundation. In 2008, David was elected to Chair the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, where he currently serves on the Board. David also founded the quarterly Brooklyn Real Estate Roundtable to benefit the Brooklyn Historical Society. He lives in Brooklyn Heights with his wife, three children and poorly trained dog. He is a long suffering New York Giants fan, has completed 5 New York City Marathons, 3 Century Bike Races and knows the lyrics to most Broadway musicals. At the 2006 New York Post Su Doku Grand Master Championship, David finished in the money in 6th place, and more recently, finished in the top 9 of the 2nd Annual KenKen tournament.»
Global Brokerage of Cushman & Wakefield Inc
Bruce E. Mosler is Chairman of Global Brokerage of Cushman & Wakefield Inc, the world’s largest independent real estate services firm. As CEO from 2005-2010, he secured IFIL Investments, S.p.A. (now EXOR) as the firm’s new majority shareholder.See all answers from Bruce Mosler
As Chairman, Mr. Mosler advises major tenants and investors on strategic real estate matters, taking a senior role in managing and developing key client relationships on behalf of Cushman & Wakefield on a global basis. He continues to advise Vornado, Cohen Brothers, NYU University Hospital (The Langone Center), Madison Square Garden, among others.
Mr. Mosler first earned the prestigious Real Estate Board of New York “Deal of the Year” award in 1998 for the creation of the Reuters Building at 3 Times Square, a transaction that consolidated 14 separate locations for the global media giant and solidified the renaissance of Times Square. His second “Deal of the Year” award recognized his success in bringing the European retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) to its United States flagship location on Fifth Avenue. In 2008 and 2009, he was chosen in a poll of his peers as Commercial Property News’ “Brokerage Executive of the Year” and was named CPN’s national “Property Services Executive of the Year.”
Mr. Mosler chairs the Wharton Executive Education Advisory Board and the board of BENS (Business Executives for National Security). He also serves on the Board of Governors of the Real Estate Board of New York. He is Vice Chairman of The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, and is a member of the boards of the Atlantic Council, Police Athletic League, Quinnipiac University, Duke University’s Trinity College and Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families, among other civic and charitable organizations. In addition, he serves on the advisory board for the European Combatant Command. In 2003, REBNY presented Mr. Mosler with its annual Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award for his service to the community, and in 2008, REBNY’s Louis Smadbeck Broker Recognition Award.»
Muss Development LLC
Jason Muss joined Muss Development LLC in 1996 and is Principal in charge of development, construction and marketing for the company. He is involved in all aspects of real estate development for MDL, including existing, under construction and planned projects.See all answers from Jason Muss
Mr. Muss oversaw the development of Oceana Condominium and Club, a 1.5 million-square-foot, 865-unit condominium project. He has also recently completed the development of a 100,000-square-foot rental building with a retail component in upper Manhattan and helped oversee MDL’s 280-room expansion of the New York Marriott in Brooklyn, as well as the redevelopment of a 200,000-square-foot office building in Queens. In addition, Mr. Muss oversees a five-million-square-foot, multi-building commercial and retail portfolio for MDL and its affiliates.
Mr. Muss graduated Yeshiva University in 1993 and received his JD from the New York University School of Law in 1996. He is an active member of the Real Estate Board of New York and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
In addition, Mr. Muss just completed a three-year term as a board member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. There, he was involved in planning council events and working with other religious groups on tolerance education initiatives. He also is active in the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a 100,000-member advocacy organization, where he rallies support for Israel among New York’s real estate community. And along with industry superstars Larry Silverstein, Steve Ross and Jonathan Mechanic, among others, Mr. Muss sits on the Board of Advisors for the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University.
Mr. Muss was recently named one of Commercial Property News’ rising stars of Real Estate. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children.»
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder
Stephen M. Ross is the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Related Companies. Mr. Ross formed the company in 1972 and today the company includes over 2,000 professionals. Related has developed over $20 billion in real estate and owns real estate assets valued at over $15 billion made up of best-in-class mixed-use, residential, retail, office, trade show and affordable properties in premier high-barrier-to-entry markets. Mr. Ross is also the majority owner of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium.See all answers from Stephen Ross
Mr. Ross began his career in Detroit, Michigan as a tax attorney. He later moved to New York where he specialized in real estate and corporate finance at two investment banking firms immediately prior to founding Related. Mr. Ross graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and from Wayne State University Law School with a Juris Doctor degree. He then received a Master of Laws in Taxation from New York University School of Law. In 2004, the University of Michigan renamed its business school the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and in 2011 the University of Michigan awarded Mr. Ross an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws.
Mr. Ross is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Equinox Holdings, Inc. and chairperson emeritus of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the city’s leading real estate trade association. As a member of the Board of Trustees of the Guggenheim Foundation, Mr. Ross was involved in the planning of a major renovation of the Frank Lloyd Wright iconic building in New York and other new museums. He is a trustee of New York Presbyterian Hospital, the Urban Land Institute, the NY Chapter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, the Levin Institute and is a director of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the World Resources Institute. He also serves on the Executive Committee and is a trustee of Lincoln Center.
Over the years, Mr. Ross has received numerous honors for his business, civic, and philanthropic activities. Most recently, he was named the Most Powerful Person in New York Real Estate by the New York Observer, Multi-Family Property Executive of the Year by Commercial Property News, and Housing Person of the Year by the National Housing Conference. In 2007 he received The National Building Museum Honor Award and in 2005, REBNY presented him with the Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award. In 2003, he received the Jack D. Weiler Award from UJA. Crain’s New York named Mr. Ross one of the 100 Most Influential Leaders in Business and Mr. Ross was recognized by NYC & Company with their Leadership in Tourism Award.»
Founder and CEO
Joseph J. Sitt is the founder and CEO of Thor Equities, a multifaceted international real estate development company that specializes in value-added investments in shopping centers and mixed-use urban developments in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. Mr. Sitt, 47, was born and raised in Brooklyn, and from childhood was taught the value of hard work, entrepreneurship and social responsibility. His first business venture, as a New York University undergrad, was implementing a lucrative system of weekend parking lots at the flea markets at Aqueduct and Roosevelt racetracks.See all answers from Joseph Sitt
Mr. Sitt developed a strong interest in retail at an early age. He founded Ashley Stewart (now part of Urban Brands) in 1991, which focused on serving the urban consumer, a traditionally underserved market segment overlooked by most national retailers. The company experienced considerable success in a relatively short period of time, growing to over 380 stores in 100 cities that generated approximately $400 million in annual sales. A key to Mr. Sitt’s success at Ashley Stewart and Urban Brands was identifying and leveraging the best urban real estate opportunities for its stores. In 1998, Sitt deaccessioned his interest in Ashley Stewart and focus his energy primarily on the development and acquisition of prime real estate in urban markets with his real estate company Thor Equities.
Today, Thor Equities has an international retail, office, hotel, and residential portfolio valued at more than $5 billion and totaling more than 15 million square feet, and is a leader in urban real estate development, leasing and management. Mr. Sitt also serves as Chairman and Managing Principal of the Thor Urban Property Funds whose investors include pension funds, investment banks, top-tier college endowments, and foundations. Notable developments under Thor’s umbrella include the award winning restoration and redevelopment of the historic Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, London’s historic luxury landmark Burlington Arcade, and the Takashimaya building in the heart of Fifth Avenue—one of the most heavily trafficked and valuable retail streets in the world. Thor is also one of the largest landowners on Fifth Avenue.
Thor Equities has invested heavily in key emerging markets, especially Latin America. Notable projects include the development of a stretch of luxury European boutiques, including Gucci and Ferragamo, on the Avenida Presidente Masaryk in Mexico City and the formation of Thor Urbana Capital, a recently launched partnership between Thor and GFA Grupo Immobiliaro, which focuses solely on maximizing investment and developments throughout Latin America and South America.
In addition to Thor Equities and Thor Urban Real Estate Fund, Mr. Sitt oversees Thor High Street Advisors, which provides tenant representation and advisory services to retailers seeking premier retail locations around the world, and TOWN Residential, a full service, tailored luxury residential brokerage service in New York City.
Mr. Sitt is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and various universities including Columbia University, New York University, and Notre Dame and is an active board member of The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, one of the most renowned and respected community development organizations in the country. He also serves on the board of the Real Estate Roundtable in Washington D.C., the Department of Real Estate at Baruch College, and is a member of the Partnership for New York City. He was an honoree of Crain’s New York’s annual “40 Under 40” list in 2004 and has been named by the New York Observer in its annual list as one of the most powerful people in New York Real Estate. Harvard professor Michael Porter and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) have also honored him for his commitment to fostering healthy competitive business conditions and new opportunities in inner city neighborhoods. He is a graduate of New York University.
Mr. Sitt is also the president and founder of the Sephardic Heritage Museum (SHM) which is currently developing books, documentary films, and a museum chronicling the life and history of the Syrian Jewish community in effort to foster a broader understanding and increased dialogue between the United States, Syria and Jewish and Muslim peoples. Mr. Sitt received permission from the Syrian Government to restore and manage the historic Jewish temples and cemeteries in Syria including the great Synagogue of Aleppo—a 3,000 year old synagogue and cemetery established by Israel’s King David. He also serves as Vice President of the SFF Food Fund which helps feed over 2,000 people in need.
Mr. Sitt has spent much of his career in youth development and education. Mr. Sitt serves on the Boards of Brooklyn’s TAB High School and Flatbush High School and most proudly, through a teen program, has acted as an ongoing mentor and guidance counselor to wayward youth in various New York City communities.»
President and Chief Operating Officer
Hartz Mountain Industries, Inc.
Serving as president and chief operating officer of Hartz Mountain Industries, Inc. since 1997, Emanuel Stern oversees numerous and diverse development projects throughout the New York/New Jersey area and manages one of the largest privately held commercial real estate portfolios in the country. Totaling 38 million sq. ft., the Hartz portfolio includes over 200 office, industrial, hotel and retail buildings.See all answers from Emanuel Stern
Mr. Stern leads the company with a combination of keen business judgement and respect for the organization's family tradition. Recent initiatives he has directed include the speculative development of 70 & 90 Hudson Street at Colgate Center, a major catalyst in the renaissance of the Jersey City waterfront. In downtown Manhattan, Mr. Stern created a market for posh hotels where none had previously existed by developing the SoHo Grand and Tribeca Grand hotels. Mr. Stern also recently embarked on a cutting-edge redevelopment project at the former Ford Motor Company Plant in Edison, NJ that will become a model for converting aging industrial facilities to higher and better uses. While moving forward with new projects, Mr. Stern has remained equally committed to continually improving existing properties within the Hartz portfolio, as demonstrated by the repositioning of the company's Harmon Meadow mixed-use development and by recent renovations of SoHo and Tribeca Grand.
Mr. Stern runs the company with a rare combination of sharp business sense and family tradition, while actively pursuing interests in New York public affairs and culture. Among many community affairs positions, he was recently named Director of the New York Historical Society. Mr. Stern also is a Trustee of the esteemed Citizens Budget Commission of New York City as well as a Board member of the Jewish Community of Manhattan.»
Lee & Associates NYC
A passionate and deeply committed New Yorker, Jim brings more than 30 years of real estate experience to his role of Sierra Real Estate (formerly Sierra Realty Corp.) president. Jim oversees all facets of Sierra's business including development and acquisitions, residential and commercial property management, leasing and sales brokerage and construction management.See all answers from James Wacht
As a real estate attorney with the law firm of Bachner, Tally, Misher, Brinberg & Polevoy, Jim represented Sierra Realty in all aspects of its real estate activities and in 1989, at the invitation of its principals, Jim joined the company as vice president. Eleven years later, in 2000, Jim assumed his current position as president of Sierra Real Estate. During his tenure at Sierra, Jim has engineered the growth of the company from a small real estate management firm to the full-service real estate company that it is today. In 2010, Jim's achievements were recognized by Real Estate Weekly where he was named one of its "Industry Leaders."
A strong believer in civic and community involvement, Jim demonstrates his commitment to New York and the real estate industry through his active leadership and involvement in numerous charitable and civic organizations by:
- Serving on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of The Community Housing Improvement Program, an advocacy organization of owners of rent-regulated housing.
- Serving on the Board of Housing New York PAC, a political action committee formed to support local elected officials who favor sensible housing legislation.
- Serving as the Chairperson of the New York Council for The Appleseed Foundation, a not-for-profit organization comprised of 16 justice centers around the United States and Mexico.
- Serving on the Board of Directors of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance where Jim is currently spearheading its efforts to establish music programs in public schools throughout the South Bronx and in other underserved New York City communities.
- Serving on the Board of Directors of the Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Boston University School of Law, Jim has authored numerous articles on various topics, lectured regularly at The Stephen L. Newman Real Estate Institute of Baruch College and the National Real Estate Conference, and has been featured as a keynote speaker at several real estate conferences in New York. Jim currently resides on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with his wife and two children.»
Two Trees Management Co. LLC
Jed Walentas is a principal of Two Trees Management Company. Jed began his career in real estate working for The Trump Organization after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1997, when the Giuliani administration agreed to rezone DUMBO, Jed came to work with his father, David Walentas, at Two Trees.See all answers from Jed Walentas
In recent years, Jed has assumed daily operating responsibility at Two Trees. Jed manages the company and oversees all aspects of the acquisition, development, construction, marketing and leasing of Two Trees’ properties. Under Jed’s leadership, Two Trees has transformed DUMBO from a gritty, underutilized industrial district into a vibrant, creative community that has preserved and built upon the existing local arts scene to create a world-renowned neighborhood. Today, DUMBO is a home to emerging and established arts and cultural organizations, as well as an eclectic mix of commercial and residential tenants. Two Trees leases space to approximately 400 commercial tenants including Etsy, Huge, Wireless Generation, West Elm, and scores of others who create one of the City’s most vibrant technology sectors in DUMBO.
Two Trees successfully spearheaded a campaign to wire the entire neighborhood making DUMBO NYC’s first truly wireless community. Continued cultivation of the neighborhood’s retail establishments create wonderful shopping opportunities for visitors, workers and residents alike and provide the neighborhood with its genuine feeling of authenticity. In addition, Two Trees gives away or heavily subsidizes close to 100,000 square feet of space every year for artists and arts-related organizations.
Current projects that Jed oversees include the design, construction and leasing of Mercedes House, an architecturally breathtaking, 29-story, green, mixed-use building with more than 900 residences on the West Side of Manhattan that will be fully completed in 2012. In addition to the residential uses, Two Trees built and sold a 350,000 square foot commercial condominium to Mercedes Benz to serve as their Manhattan flagship and also their pre-eminent service facility in the region.
Also in construction is Two Trees’ first foray into the hotel world – The Wythe Hotel will be a 72-room boutique hotel in the heart of Williamsburg. The project is a painstakingly executed gut renovation of an old cooperage that has maintained the building’s historic charms and will provide guests with tremendous service along with today’s modern conveniences. The project is scheduled to open in spring, 2012.
Last year, Two Trees also completed the conversion of Gair2, a 106-unit 80/20 rental building in DUMBO which provided the neighborhood with its first affordable housing units. Starting next summer, Two Trees will commence work on Dock Street Dumbo, a several hundred thousand foot mixed use project at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge that will feature a new 300-seat middle school, which will be donated to the City of New York. The project will also include more than 300 units of rental housing, plentiful parking and retail at the street grade.
In past years, Jed led the conversion of 110 Livingston Street from the headquarters of the NYC Board of Education into 300-uxury condominiums; the transformation of 70 Washington Street, a former industrial warehouse building, into 259-high-end residential condominiums; and the conversion of a Downtown Brooklyn parking lot into the Court House, the first and only 80/20 rental building in Brooklyn housing the 40,000-square foot acclaimed Dodge YMCA and 320-luxury rental apartments for mixed-income tenants. Across the street, Two Trees has also brought retailers Trader Joes, Barneys Co-op and Urban Outfitters to Atlantic Avenue.
Jed is a committed supporter of the arts and education. He is a member of the Executive Board of Directors of REBNY, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the Urban Assembly and Creative Time. He lives with his wife Kate Engelbrecht, a photographer, and their son, Theo, in Manhattan.»