President-elect Donald Trump has previously outlined his $1 trillion infrastructure plan not just as a means to repair and build bridges and roads, but as a real estate platform for private entities to build and subsequently own public works such as schools, hospitals, or energy pipeline expansions through $137 billion in tax credits. So it comes as no surprise that he’s tapped two of his longtime buddies and big-time New York real estate developers to head up the new council that will monitor this spending. The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump asked Richard LeFrak and Vornado’s Steven Roth to manage this council of 15 to 20 builders and engineers, referring to the men as “pros” because “…all their lives, they build. They build under-budget, ahead of schedule.”
Similar to Trump’s trajectory, Richard LeFrak joined his father’s real estate firm LeFrak in 1968. Since then, he’s amassed a fortune of more than $6.5 billion, making him one of the wealthiest developers in the country. He’s responsible for the 1980s Newport plan, which created a 600-acre, mixed-use development along the Jersey City waterfront, as well as a current $4 billion mixed-use complex in North Miami.
Stephen Roth is the founder and chairman of Vornado Realty Trust, one of the country’s largest office landlords, which has over $21 billion in total assets. Their holdings in New York include nine million square feet around Penn Station worth $5.5 billion, the Bloomberg Tower, and Piers 92 and 94. They also include two of Donald Trump’s “most valuable assets,” a 30 percent stake in the office buildings at Manhattan’s 1290 Sixth Avenue and San Francisco’s 555 California Street, which together brought in roughly $22.7 million in pre-tax income for Trump last year.
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