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Exploring New York City's Real Estate Landscape: A Study Trek

Author: Jaime Espinoza (MRE '24),

Editor: Pinyang Paul Chen (MRE '24, MLAUD '23)

Trek Leaders: Jonathan Lee (MBA '24), Joseph Yu (MRE '24)


Organized by the Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board (HAREB), a select cohort of students from Harvard Graduate School of Design and Harvard Business School recently conducted an insightful exploration of New York City's dynamic real estate development and investment ecosystem. This initiative aimed to provide real estate students with a firsthand understanding of the practical application of theoretical concepts discussed in the classroom.


This trek commenced in Midtown Manhattan, positioning our cohort at the heart of New York City. Our agenda was curated to encompass a comprehensive study of firms that have been instrumental in shaping the city's real estate profile.



Visit 1: Ares Management Corporation


Our first stop was at the esteemed Ares Management. Recognized as a leading global alternative investment manager, we were received by Andrew Holm, Harvard AB '05, Partner and Co-Head of U.S. Investments in Ares Real Estate. Established in 1997, Ares has expanded its footprint with offices spanning North America, Europe, and Asia, showcasing a global reach in the alternative investment market. With a notable asset management portfolio, it manages approximately $144 billion of assets, underscoring its significant market presence. The discussion with the cohort centered on operating across the credit, private equity, real estate, and infrastructure asset classes, as well as delivering sound risk-adjusted investment returns throughout market cycles - key to Ares Management’s sustainable and robust investment approach.

Photo Caption: Ares Management, NYC Office



Visit 2: Trammell Crow Company


The subsequent engagement was with Trammell Crow Company, one of the nation's leading developers and investors in the real estate industry. Since its inception in 1948, Trammell Crow Company has developed and acquired over 500 million square feet of buildings valued at more than $50 billion, showcasing its substantial contribution to the real estate sector. During this visit, Nick Desatnick, Harvard MBA ‘22, Senior Associate of Trammell Crow, engaged with the group on the company’s approach to real estate development. Nick shared insights into some of Trammell Crow’s notable projects, explored the evolving landscape of real estate investment, and shared innovative solutions for addressing contemporary urban challenges.

Photo Caption: Trammell Crow Company, NYC Office



Visit 3: Extell Development Company


The final morning stop of the trek was with Extell Development Company, a well-regarded real estate developer specializing in luxury residential, commercial, retail, hospitality, and mixed-use properties. With a portfolio exceeding 20 million square feet, Extell is recognized for its significant contributions to the New York City skyline, having developed several iconic super-tall skyscrapers along “Billionaires’ Row,” located below Central Park. During this visit, Stephen Nowak, Harvard MDes REBE '17, Assistant Vice President of Extell, shed light on the company’s approach to iconic real estate development. The cohort also had the opportunity to visit a condominium located on the upper floors of One57, Extell’s first supertall tower on Billionaire’s Row.

Photo caption: One57, Extell’s first supertall tower on Billionaire’s Row



Visit 4: SL Green Realty Corporation


Following a lunch interlude, our afternoon agenda led us to SL Green Realty Corp. With more than 59 buildings totaling approximately 32.5 million square feet under its ownership, the company is a well-known REIT, recognized as New York City’s largest owner of office real estate. SL Green’s endeavor extends to driving value in Manhattan’s commercial properties, reflecting its focused approach towards real estate investment and management within a highly competitive market. Through a rich exchange of ideas and experiences with the student cohort, Analysts, Joe Kashanian, Preet Aneeja, and Matthew Verrone, delved into the complexities and nuances of commercial real estate in Manhattan, as well as the challenges and opportunities the real estate market presents to the company. Many thanks to SL Green for providing a tour of One Vanderbilt.

Photo Caption: One Vanderbilt, SL Green Corporate Headquarters



Visit 5: Greystar


Concluding the day's formal engagements, Greystar, a leading, fully integrated real estate company, welcomed the cohort to their apartment community, The Chelsea. Established in 1993, Greystar boasts over $74 billion in gross assets under management, operating in 17 countries, and is recognized as the largest apartment manager in the United States. During this visit, Austin Smyth, Director of Investments, discussed the company’s unique business model integrating investment management, development, and property management.

Caption: Greystar development in Chelsea, Manhattan



Synthesizing Insights from the NYC Trek


As we concluded our exploration, the trek's impact was significant in enriching the collective perspectives of the cohort. The exposure to New York City's premier real estate entities offered invaluable insights into the intricate blend of architectural innovation, strategic business operations, and contemporary development practices.


This initiative reaffirms HAREB’s commitment to equipping Harvard students with comprehensive industry exposure, complementing their academic pursuits in the real estate industry. We extend our gratitude to all participating firms and New York City for its unparalleled educational offerings.


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