Related has made its name with oversized, transformative urban projects. But are these projects in cities’ best interest?
More than a decade into the current economic cycle, demand for downtown real estate hasn’t abated. Since most of the easily developable land has been bought and sold many times over, cities and developers have been giving more complicated locations a second look.
The remaining areas ripe for redevelopment—such as waterfronts, rail yards, and huge abandoned industrial sites—are generally in prime locations and well-connected from an infrastructure perspective. But developing them requires expertise, capital, and planning. It requires being able to wait out years of approvals and planning meetings and navigate bureaucracy, to think big and master plan entire new neighborhoods, and to risk money for what can be a decade-long process.
Related1has earned a reputation for being able to thrive on that complexity, thinking in “decades, not quarters,” according to Crain’s New York. The firm’s most famous deals, Time Warner Center and Hudson Yards, were both projects unsuccessfully pursued by other massive real estate firms (Mortimer Zuckerman and Tishman Speyer, respectively). When they couldn’t figure out how to close their deals, Related stepped in. These firms are far from the only ones who see potential in post-industrial landscapes. But when table stakes for such projects start in the billions, and require extensive negotiations with local government, only a few players can compete.
- 1. If the game of urban American real estate today is dominated by the megadevelopment—massive, city-changing projects that often marry public and private financing—Related has become one of the signature players. Owned by Stephen Ross, whose net worth is pegged at $7.7 billion by Forbes, Related, and its wide array of domestic and international divisions, has over $50 billion in real estate assets.