What We Heard: NYC Property Management Summit

MHP's COO David Sturner and RDM VP Blake Grosch.
RDM’s Vice President, Blake Grosch was in attendance at The Yale Club for Bisnow’s NYC Property Management Summit.  The event brought together an all-star panel of owners and property managers to discuss the challenges, opportunities, efficiencies and sustainability efforts within the property management industry.

The panel consisted of Principals and CEOs from Murray Hill Properties, Honest Buildings, Monday Properties, Zurich and Rudin Management, with Ronald Kaplan of CohnReznick as moderator.

This is what we heard:

Building Needs
- David Sturner (Murray Hill Properties) believes that in order to keep tenants happy they need to know owners are accessible.
- Jeff Shearman (Zurich) notes that landlords need to do a risk assessment before initiating sustainability initiatives.
- Michael Rudin (Rudin Management) sees a challenge with staying relevant in the market -- need to provide a good product consistently.
- Hani Salama (Monday Properties) says you have to be flexible to meet tenant needs.
- Salama feels that property managers don't get enough credit.  They need to be exposed to engineering, construction, and accounting to be effective.

LEED Certification
- Salama says that to stay competitive you need LEED & Energy Star certification.
- Riggs Kubiak (Honest Buildings) believes transparent benchmarking for energy use is important for landlords to operate efficiently.
- Sturner says LEED certification isn't necessarily compatible with class B or C buildings.

Emergency Preparedness
- Shearman has seen landlords sealing their building envelopes post Sandy to reduce flooding in lower levels.
- Rudin is moving the building systems to 2nd and 3rd levels at 110 Wall St to comply with terms of new tenant.
- Shearman fears maintaining a high level of preparedness during periods without challenges.
- Sturner says there are Class A buildings and Class A owners with regard to security procedures set up - best to be safe than sorry.
- Shearman notes that you need to care about your building staff's home needs during an emergency as well.

CRE Technology
- Kubiak sees tech tenants placing a large emphasis on connectivity. Tenants are reliant on the existing infrastructure set by landlords.
- Ronald Kaplan (CohnReznick) notes that he has seen owners not using tech leaving money on the table.
- Kubiak sees a huge amount of capital pouring into NYC focused on CRE tech.
- Kubiak sees a lot of noise about tech in real estate. Questions if all these companies will stick around.

- Salama notes that his buildings are doing well in NYC but somewhat struggling in DC due to the government.
- Rudin mentions that commercial vacancy for his portfolio is very low.
- Sturner notes that staffing and insurance are a big piece of their budget.
- Salama notes operating expenses have been steady over past 3 years -- pay most on taxes.
- Rudin backs affordable housing initiatives but notes incentives need to align to make sense.

For more from the event, check out Real Estate Bisnow.