Real Estate Group Offers Alumni and Friends of Yeshiva University Chance to Network, Learn from the Best

More than 130 alumni and friends of Yeshiva University gathered for the inaugural event of the YU Professionals Real Estate Group, hosted at Silverstein Properties’ 7 World Trade Center on March 12.

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In a beautiful space whose full-length windows overlooked ongoing construction of the new WTC towers, real estate veteran Larry Silverstein, president and CEO of Silverstein Properties, Inc., talked about the process of rebuilding the Trade Center with guests and members of the group and shared future plans for the site. “The rebuilding effort didn’t follow a straight line but one thing that drove us all at the end of the day was the passion to create something better than [what] existed before 9/11,” he said.

Silverstein made real estate transaction history in New York when he signed a 99-year lease on the 10.6 million square foot WTC site for $3.25 billion in July 2001. Six weeks later, he watched all of it implode during the terrorist attacks of September 11. “I also lost four Silverstein employees that day who left six children between them, which was the worst aspect of anything,” he said.

Still, as other businesses and investments fled the neighborhood in the aftermath of the tragedy, Silverstein was already thinking of ways to rebuild. “My team and I felt it was critically important to do something positive and proactive downtown. We needed to show the world that New York could and would come back stronger than ever,” he said.

In 2006, Silverstein opened 7 World Trade Center, the first office tower to reopen on the site. His company is also currently developing towers 2, 3 and 4, designed by Pritzker-prize winning architects Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Fumihiko Maki.

Following Silverstein’s presentation, Michael Stoler, president of New York Real Estate TV and managing director at Madison Realty Capital, engaged Silverstein in conversation about his 55-year career.

“In every generation there are rebuilders of destruction,” said Ralph Herzka, chairman and CEO of Meridian Capital Group, LLC, which sponsored the event. “Just standing here and seeing what is being built out the window is truly amazing.”

Afterwards, attendees had an opportunity to network, catch up and discuss new trends in the real estate market at a reception.

“The prime purpose of this evening is to introduce everyone to the connectivity of the University, our friends, our graduates and our students,” said Joshua Muss ’58YUHS, ’62 YC, member of the YU Board of Trustees and chair of the YU Real Estate Committee. “Meet each other and understand the talent in the room and that of our students and graduates when you consider whom to recruit and with whom to do business.”

Last June, the YU Wall Street Group organized a real estate panel discussion titled, “Changing World—What’s Next for Real Estate,” moderated by Stoler and featuring Jeffrey Barclay of Goldman Sachs; Richard Born of BD Hotels, LLC; Brahm Cramer of AllianceBernstein; Bradford Klatt of Roseland Property Company; and Herzka. The event was so successful that Muss asked members Marc Kwestel ’87YC and Bruce Schanzer ’91YC, ’93C to co-chair the newly-formed YU Professionals Real Estate Group, closely modeled off its Wall Street predecessor.

“We envisioned this group as a networking opportunity for alumni as well as a chance to connect with current students and potentially consider them for internships and jobs,” said Schanzer. “Hopefully programs like tonight’s will help us build this community in the way the Wall Street Group has done so successfully for the last 15 years.”

“Alumni of YU have considerable reach into the real estate industry in the New York metropolitan area,” said Yigal Marcus ’97YC, vice president of Bernstein Global Wealth Management. “Getting together to feel the pulse of what’s going on in the industry is of significant value to us all.”

To learn more about the YU Real Estate Group, please email yurealestategroup@yu.edu. For more information on upcoming alumni events visit www.yu.edu/alumnievents.