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Observer downgrades Ratner (not completely fairly) from #48 to #72 in "Power 100" list; the fate of modular could change all that

Bruce Ratner can't be all that thrilled about his plummet in the latest iteration of the New York Observer's Real Estate Power 100,  from last year's #48 to this year's #72.

And, wouldja believe it, I think the Observer went too far. Sure, Ratner deserves a downgrade because of the continued delays in his plan to build the first Atlantic Yards apartment tower. But if Ratner can pull off modular construction, likely only with help from the city and/or state, you can bet he'll jump in next year's list. And he's opening an arena, no small feat.

As for the observation that "the brand, not to mention the family name, has been so blackened in Brooklyn, it will be a wonder if [Ratner] ever builds there again," well, that sounds like the item got outsourced to NoLandGrab, previously un-consulted by the Observer on sunnier Ratner mentions.

I agree the brand has been blackened, including by the loss last month in court on the environmental review case and the pending lawsuit filed against Forest City Ratner and its Community Benefits Agreement partner BUILD, plus the machinations in Yonkers. But I don't think that most elected officials and reporters/editorialists either agree or would say so publicly.

And if Ratner pulls off the modular plan, he sure will be building in Brooklyn again. Perhaps the Observer has some insight on modular snags?

This year's mention
72. Bruce Ratner (48)Chairman and CEO, Forest City Ratner
Mr. Ratner has taken his ball, but he can't go home yet. The Barclays Center will actually open on time this fall, bringing professional sports back to Brooklyn, as well as Jay-Z, but the Cleveland-born developer has still yet to secure financing for the now-well-behind-schedule apartment towers. Those are now planned to be built modular, which has the potential to transform the way the city builds, but most New Yorkers will believe that when they see it. He completed one of the most beautiful buildings on the skyline by the world's most famous architect, with sky-high rents to boot, but the brand, not to mention the family name, has been so blackened in Brooklyn, it will be a wonder if he ever builds there again.
Last year's mention
48. Bruce Ratner (53)
Chairman and CEO of Forest City Ratner
With the last of the lawsuits behind him, Mr. Ratner began work on what may still be the most cutting-edge arena in the country, even without Frank Gehry designing it. The developer is struggling to find financing for the first apartment tower on the site-but if he does, there are rumors it could be the largest prefabricated structure in the world, and something with the possibility to transform the way New York builds. And there is a certain Manhattan apartment building he and Mr. Gehry managed to finish together.
This year's list

Ratner can take some solace that Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, last year unwisely (because his clout piggybacked on Ratner) placed at #23 on the Observer's list, has vanished from this year's list, apparently because he's been a non-factor in New York.

But he can't be happy that Donald Trump, more a marketer than a real estate guy, reached #14, and rival of sorts Gary Barnett of Extell notched #2.

Another AY association
84. Jonathan Mechanic and Stephen Lefkowitz (88 last year)Chairman of the real estate department and Partner, respectively, Fried Frank
You’ll be hard pressed to find a major commercial real estate deal that one of these two hasn’t had a hand in. Jonathan Mechanic and Stephen Lefkowitz, both partners in Fried Frank’s real estate practice, negotiate deals on behalf of some of New York’s most boldfaced names. These include Condé Nast’s 1 World Trade Center lease, SL Green’s $416 million joint venture with Jeff Sutton to acquire eight East Side properties and Forest City Ratner in its Atlantic Yards project. Their client list alone is a Who’s Who of New York’s real estate elite.


  1. Anonymous11:24 AM

    The Modular Plan is delayed because it can not get UL approval or NYC Fire Marshal blessing.

  2. That's news to me, if true... if anyone knows more, please contact me directly.


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