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By Jeremy Cooper ’21 and Sophie Nitkin ‘20
On Friday, October 26th, a group of 20 students participated in the Real Estate Associations’ first NYC Trek. CBS may be at the very center of business, but REA members know it is also at the very center of one of the largest and most complex real estate markets in the world. Students gained insight into the diversity of companies, asset types and transactions in the NYC market through a combination of site tours and company visits.
The day kicked off with a tour of Panorama, a joint venture redevelopment project between CIM Group and LIVWRK at 25-30 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn. Paige Harris and Alex Picciano from the CIM project team led an inside look at the property that is expected to open as a mixed-use office and retail development in 2021. REA members loved the logistical nuances of a historic adaptive reuse from a Jehovah’s Witnesses headquarters to a cutting-edge mixed-use campus. Upon completion, the mega-project will feature 635K SF of office space, 35K SF of retail, 15K SF of hospitality and 55K SF of outdoor space open to the public.
The group next visited Sous Vide Kitchen on East 23rd Street to experience New York City’s first virtual food hall. The location offers six unique concepts, implementing the innovative sous-vide method which slow-cooks food in vacuum sealed packages at low temperatures for 20+ hours to add more flavor, tenderness and juice to the food. The restaurant’s Director of Operations Alexis Kukuka explained the advantage of the virtual kitchen from a real estate perspective. She highlighted the unique proposition of the small restaurant footprint, no requirements for a commercial hood and other traditional equipment typically needed to operate a restaurant. These factors not only reduce operational costs, but also contribute to an increased productivity and smaller customer wait times. It also simultaneously enables higher revenue via six different menus for customers both in-store and via delivery service, which we learned comprised most of its core business. After the insightful discussion, REA members were eager to test out the concept with a delicious lunch.
The REA’s third stop was hosted by Industrious in its Manhattan corporate headquarters by Marty Long and Myra Cortado ’12. Industrious has grown rapidly in over 90 locations and 50 cities, becoming the largest premium flexible workspace provider in the country. REA members learned how Industrious differentiated itself in the crowded co-working space.
Finally, the REA met with Mark Fisher, Senior VP of Capital Markets, as well as his colleagues Alex Furnary and Jared Sobel at CBRE’s Midtown Manhattan office. The presentation included a general overview of CBRE’s array of services as a leading commercial real estate services firm, a presentation from Sobel on his path at CBRE and a case study by Fisher and Furnary of a recent transaction.
Fisher had studied REA members’ resumes in advance and tailored the session to fit the diverse group’s knowledge cold calling participants for their insights into elements of the capital markets and structured financing of the deal. Members were grateful for a lens into the variety and complexity of transactions the CBRE team face and their creativity and team-based approach in addressing client needs.
Overall, the first NYC trek was a big success in providing REA members a taste of the vibrancy and dynamism of the local market. The group benefitted from student and alumni connections to explore CBS’s backyard, where investment and development continues to reach new previously unimaginable levels.
Special thanks to our company hosts, as well as our peers Maura Lewkowicz ’20, VP of Site Tours & Company Visits, and AVP Peter Gross ‘21 for organizing the trek.
Jeremy Cooper ’21 is a member of the Columbia Business School Class of 2021 focusing on Real Estate Finance and serves as AVP of Site Tours & Company Visits for REA. Prior to CBS, Jeremy worked as an Associate for LW Hospitality Advisors, where he managed and conducted appraisals, consulting projects, feasibility and market studies for hotel properties for the industry’s leading lenders, developers, chains and management companies. Prior to LWHA, he gained valuable hospitality experience with Hilton Worldwide and in hotel operations for properties near his hometown Memphis, TN. Jeremy earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics-Philosophy magna cum laude from Columbia University.
Sophie Nitkin ’20 is a member of the Columbia Business School’s Class of 2020 and serves as the VP of Site Tours & Company Visits. Most recently, Sophie worked as Development Analyst at CIM Group, where she managed both ground-up construction and adaptive reuse projects in Los Angeles. Prior to CIM, Sophie served as the Special Assistant to the Chairman at the NYC Department of City Planning. Sophie began her career at HR&A Advisors, structuring complex urban real estate projects and economic development programs across the United States. Sophie graduated from Wellesley College with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture.