New York

Jerry I. Speyer, Tishman Speyer

Jerry I. Speyer

Vertically Integrated

Editors’ Note

Jerry Speyer is one of the two founding partners of the company. He is Chairman of the Museum of Modern Art and Vice Chair of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He is the former Chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Chairman Emeritus of Columbia University; Chairman Emeritus of the Real Estate Board of New York; Chair Emeritus of the Partnership for New York City; and past President of the board of trustees of the Dalton School. Speyer’s other board affiliations include Yankee Global Enterprises, The Economic Club of New York, The Municipal Art Society of New York, Columbia Business School Board of Overseers, and the Asia Society. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Business Roundtable. Speyer graduated from Columbia College and received an M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

Company Brief

Founded in 1978, Tishman Speyer (www.tishmanspeyer.com) is one of the leading asset managers, developers, owners, and operators of first-class real estate worldwide. Active across North America, Europe, South America, and Asia, many of the world’s most prestigious corporations rely on Tishman Speyer to meet their office space needs. The firm has acquired, developed, and/or managed a portfolio of over 122 million square feet valued at $59 billion. Signature assets include New York’s Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Center, Frankfurt’s MesseTurm and OpernTurm, São Paulo’s Torre Norte, and Ventura Corporate Towers in Rio de Janeiro. Tishman Speyer has projects in different stages of development in Brasilia, Chengdu, Frankfurt, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, and Tianjin.

Is this a time of opportunity for the New York City market?

I’m an optimist and I always see oppor-­tunity.

Is New York still the major market for the firm?

Given that we are headquartered in New York and are among the largest owners of commercial space in the city, it plays a major role for us.

How has your brand grown overseas and do you foresee continued opportunities in international markets?

Yes, we see a lot of opportunity internationally. Today, we have about 2.5 million feet of space that we’re working on or about to start in the United States as compared to approximately 38 million feet around the world.

Is that focused on specific markets?

We have a focus on various continents, except Africa and Australia. Our major focus is on China and Brazil in addition to India, France, and Germany.


Rockefeller Center

How challenging is it to differentiate the firm?

We’re vertically integrated, which means that we cover all aspects of real estate: development, acquisition, ownership, design, construction, and management – all under one roof.

We like to think we have the best people in the world to carry out those different aspects of what we do in various parts of the world.

How important is sustainability for Tishman Speyer?

It’s something we’ve been working on for a long period of time through different economic cycles. We will continue to be focused on it.

Are we getting to the point where the LEED-certified building is a given?

Yes, it should be a given.

Are you surprised by the close-knit relationship among business leaders within New York, all with a focus on bettering the city?

Many of those leaders live in New York. Their companies occupy space in New York, and they’re involved for many reasons, including that New York is a great place and they want to keep it a great place. New York is probably the greatest reservoir of intellectual horsepower of any city in the country, or for that matter, in the world.

Are you surprised at how many areas within the city that were once undesirable are now considered to be up and coming?

Cities have to grow – they grow in different directions. They grow to accommodate where people want to live and where people want to work or where different kinds of activities develop – follow the artists and you will know where the next area of growth is.

How critical is it that New York’s future mayor emphasize the relevance of the public/private partnership?

That’s really important. Mayor Bloomberg has done a great job with it because he understands from his own experience why it is important.

It is also true today that many successful mayors in cities around the world understand why that’s important, thanks to his example.

Is New York defined as much by real estate as by financial services?

These things are interrelated and I don’t think one drives the other; they work together. As markets and needs emerge, the real estate industry tries to accommodate them at prices that are affordable.

Should more be done to make sure that New York remains diverse and that it’s priced fairly for all?

There are always different requirements in cities for new development. For example, new housing relates to the needs of people. It has been my experience to find ways in which the two interrelate, like real estate and the financial industry, or research and technology.

As the company has grown, has it been difficult to avoid being involved in all the details when you know this business so well?

Every company, if it’s going to be successful, has to grow. If you’re a manager, you have to continually grow with it by delegating responsibility to qualified people.

Is there still excitement and passion for you in the deal?

Yes, and it never gets old. I also enjoy that we’re doing things in different places – that is fascinating.

You are now working side by side with your son, which has been a successful partnership. How do you both make it work?

I think we are both interested in the growth of the business and making sure that we continue to have the best people in the organization to meet the demands of the company.

With all the deals you’ve made, do you take time to reflect on your success or are you always looking ahead?

I’m always looking ahead. The most exciting thing we do is furthering the development of a company that can deal with the changes that are constantly taking place. My greatest pleasure comes from the wonderful and talented people that are part of the organization.

In an industry that often has high turnover, how does it feel to have so many who have stayed with you for many years?

It’s great. The important thing is to keep them challenged and happy.•