When you bring developers, attorneys, planners, and policy experts together on one New York City stage, a stimulating dialogue on the evolving forces driving local real estate is sure to emerge. Co-hosted by SMPS and PULLMAN at the Haworth Showroom on August 6, 2019, “Reinvigorating New York City’s Aging Assets” was an informative panel discussion among representatives of the real estate community focused on economic development and urban planning and policy.

While the intended focus of this program was the repurposing of aging buildings in desirable neighborhoods, the moderated discussion led by Patricia Hauserman, Senior Vice President at Tishman Construction, addressed a broad confluence of factors in the design and development of New York City real estate.

There was much talk about the life sciences sector, with good reason. Steven Jacobs, Strategic Advisor at BJH Advisors, said the life sciences sector has finally arrived after years of the city pushing for it. That Boston-based life sciences developers are now looking at New York City shows the market is here, and they aren’t scared to build on spec. We are flush with incubators, according to Jacobs, and companies are looking for the next generation of space. They will be looking for more affordable space in the outer boroughs, he added, but Manhattan is still strong with the Alexandria Center for Life Sciences.

Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director at the Center for an Urban Future, sees growth trends for both life sciences and TAMI (technology, advertising, media, information) tenants seeking commercial space in New York City. Employees of these companies have different building needs and desires for their work space environments than those of the previous generation, added Bowles.

Space planning and design was indeed a focal point of the conversation. With regard to the tech-oriented future of building design, Rose Tilley, a Project Executive at RXR Realty, said that advanced building management systems and smart buildings appeal to the tenants they want, but automation must be balanced with the welcoming, human touch they also desire.

Zachary Schwanbeck, Director of Development at AB Capstone, described his firm’s use of an in-house architect for tenant fit-outs while retaining a design architect familiar with zoning and building code for new properties, as well as experience in the local borough. RXR Realty, according to Tilley, often retains architects whose work they see around the city and admire.

There is a changing landscape of commercial and residential development citywide, and Allan Starr, Founder and Co-Managing Partner at Starr Associates, added his expertise to the discussion of real estate trends and transactions we are seeing throughout the five boroughs. SMPS continues to serve a vital role in bringing well-designed panel discussions to its members around critical issues facing our firms today.

Check out more photos from the event here!