By Max Gross, Commercial Observer
CEO and Chairman of RXR Realty
Last Year’s Rank: 4
Two-thousand-and-eighteen has already taken off like a supersonic jet for RXR Realty. We’re referring, of course, to the March announcement that JetBlue Airlines tapped RXR and Vantage Airport Group to lead the multibillion-dollar expansion of its terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“The big thing is JetBlue,” Scott Rechler said. But in a year when a lot of real estate professionals have been content to sit back and see what the market does, RXR has been doing “big, bold deals.”
Case in point No. 1: One Worldwide Plaza. Along with SL Green Realty Corp., RXR purchased a 48.7 percent stake in the Midtown West skyscraper, which was valued at a whopping $1.7 billion.
Case in point No. 2: RXR bought the development rights to replace Long Island University’s athletic fields at 161 Ashland Place in Brooklyn to put up a new complex that will include 476 apartments.
Case in point No. 3: It is continuing its “suburban-urban strategy”—i.e., developing thousands of units in the areas surrounding New York City with projects like Larkin Plaza, the $200 million mixed-use complex in Downtown Yonkers, which topped off this past November.
Case in point No. 4: RXR sold NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital 500,000 square feet of space at 237 Park Avenue for $250.8 million (with the sweet condition that RXR gets the property back in 30 years).
And Rechler has certainly not neglected the bread-and-butter leases that make a real estate empire hum. It might have disappointed some that Anthony Bourdain’s Singapore-inspired market bit the dust, but RXR managed to replace him with a nice, juicy Google expansion. (As far as tenants go, yes, that counts as an upgrade.)
The civically engaged (and former vice chair of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey) Rechler has taken a very public stand on the issue of gun control in the last year.
In November, RXR lit up 230 Park Avenue for 58 nights in orange in honor of each of the victims of the massacre at a concert in Las Vegas a month earlier. Earlier this month Rechler appeared with former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, John Feinblatt of Everytown for Gun Safety and Linda Beigel Schulman, a mother who had lost her son in the Parkland shooting in February, at Merkin Concert Hall to advocate against gun violence.
“It’s time for business to step up,” Rechler declared to the audience.
*For the full list of 2018’s Power 100by The Editors of Commercial Observer, click here.
The RXR platform manages 69 commercial real estate properties and investments with an aggregate gross asset value of approximately $18.1 billion, comprising approximately 24.6 million square feet of commercial properties, inclusive of a multi-family residential portfolio of approximately 2,600 units under operation or development, and control of development rights for an additional approximately 3,600 multi-family and for sale units in the New York Metropolitan area. Gross asset value compiled by RXR Realty in accordance with company fair value measurement policy and is comprised of capital invested by RXR and its partners, as well as leverage.