Highlights: What Real Estate Big Wigs Have to Say About Brooklyn and Its Future

September 17, 2014

Brooklyn real estate is hot, very hot, and there’s no cooling off in sight, according to most speakers at yesterday’s sold-out Brooklyn Real Estate Summit, sponsored by Massey Knakal and held at the Brooklyn Museum. From Billy Macklowe to David Shorenstein and Jonathan Rose, get the run-down of what the industry’s leading pundits have to say about BK real estate.

  • Deputy Mayor for Housing Alicia Glenn told the 700 or so real estate executives attending the conference that they can’t build housing that needs rezoning or special permits without including an affordable housing component and that the city needs to take a “fresh look at its residential parking regulations.”
  • Paul Travis, managing partner of Washington Square Partners said that the Fulton Mall “is re-establishing itself as a top retail location” and will soon have Brooklyn’s first new movie theater in many years and “the largest food mall in the city.”
  • Andrew Barrocas, Chief Executive Officer of MNS, said that there has been “tremendous residential growth and that “hybrid” projects that combine rental and condo units are becoming popular with developers.


  • Billy Macklowe, chief executive office of William Macklowe Properties told the meeting that the commercial real estate market in Brooklyn is “underserved” and is an “extremely tight market,” adding that “at some point you will see major companies taking space.” Brooklyn, he noted, is now a lifestyle, adding that he recently saw a sign in a Chelsea store that a product was “made in Brooklyn.”
  • MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and CEO of Forest City Ratner, said that there has been a recent “change in the profile of Brooklyn,” which is “not just back office,” adding that New York University is looking to expand in the borough and that new Chinese investors “understand our business.”
  • In a different session, Asher Abehshera, the founder of LIVWRK, maintained that “there is not enough office space in Brooklyn” and that his five-building complex known as Dumbo Heights will have skywalks and is “in a prime sweet spot of DUMBO.”


  • David Shorenstein, a co-founder of Silvershore Properties, sold another session that “Brooklyn has so many neighborhoods” that it is not hard “get in on the upswing” and “ride the wave up” whereas there is no way you can do that in Manhattan.
  • While many people focus on trying to attract tech tenants, Jonathan Rose, president of the Jonathan Rose Companies, told his session that his phone “is ringing off the hook” from cultural non-profits especially in the neighborhood about the Brooklyn Academy of Music whose patrons used to come primarily from Manhattan but in the late 70s and early 80s abut now come from London and Europe.
  • And while the de Blasio administration is concentrating on affordable housing, the federal government is cutting back on such funding, Mr. Rose observed, adding that he was concerned that the very successful 421 Program is expiring next June and “it’s really important for all of us” to focus on that before it ends.

[Brooklyn Real Estate Summit official]

All images by Carter B. Horsley

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