April 20, 2024

Square Feet | The 30-Minute Interview: David Barry

Q How do you divide up responsibilities with your brother, Michael, the firm’s other principal?

A We overlap a tremendous amount, but I concentrate more on the development side of the business — particularly finding the sites, the concept and the development strategy. Michael concentrates more on the asset management and the financing.

Q Why the focus on rentals instead of condominiums?

A I like the business model of income-producing rentals better. At certain points of time in the cycle, the market goes down and it’s dangerous to hold a lot of condo product. With rentals, even if you miss your projection a little bit in that early year or two — we’re in a credit crunch or rents are down — there’s an opportunity to improve as the market improves.

And condos got into this mode of seeing who can be more luxurious than the next guy and put out a crazy amenity nobody ever thought of before. It became silly.

Q So what do renters want?

A They want to be in a solid location, in a building that they can feel good about; maybe it’s got a few cool touches in terms of a health club or some stores in the bottom or a restaurant or cafe.

Q What is Ironstate’s rental occupancy rate portfoliowide?

A Definitely in the high 90 percent range. We operate primarily in North Jersey — it’s a very strong market because it’s linked to the Manhattan market. The Berkshire and 225 Grand in Hoboken were both delivered in 2010, and both are leased up.

Q And rental rates?

A In mid-Jersey, like the New Brunswick and Long Branch markets, the rental rates are $27 to $29 a foot, and as you get closer to Manhattan, like Jersey City and Hoboken, they tend to be $34 to $40 a foot.

Q Tell me about your new projects.

A We have four new hotel projects on the books: one in Harrison; a hotel in the next phase of Pier Village in Long Branch; W Marrakesh, where we have a Moroccan partner; and we’re also in the R.F.P., or request for proposal, for Terminal 5 at J.F.K. Airport with André Balazs Properties for a hotel.

We’re also working on a lot of new residential projects. In Jersey City, we’re getting ready to start a project in the Liberty Harbor redevelopment area. It’s kind of a sister building to 225 Grand; this one’s called 18 Park. Our partners on that are K.R.E., which is Kushner Real Estate. And in Staten Island we have Stapleton Homeport.

Q What will the Staten Island project entail?

A Think Pier Village, in terms of restaurants and shops on the ground floor, apartments above.

It’s right on the river and has amazing New York City and Verrazano views. The city is putting in a waterfront park immediately adjacent to it. It has a Staten Island Rapid Transit stop there.

Q So you’re branching out.

A We’re looking at the outer boroughs and Manhattan. We acquired a plot in Manhattan in the Fifth Avenue corridor in the 30s.

Q Let’s talk about the next phase of Pier Village.

A The third phase of Pier Village will continue the retail, promenade and the boardwalk south for the next block. It’s going to have an additional boutique hotel with about 80 rooms and an additional 320 residential units, which we intend in this case to make condos.

Q Some critics complain the area is so built up that it has lost its honky-tonk charm of past years.

A Long Branch once had a glorious history, and then there was that traumatic event of the pier burning down in 1987. It was a really distressed town after that. The mayor’s platform has been the redevelopment and revitalization of Long Branch.

There may be somebody who will say, “Oh, gosh, I really miss that tattoo parlor.” But when I talk to a typical person who lived in Long Branch, they say, “We couldn’t even come to this beach years ago because it was so burnt out.” At its low point, 10 to 12 years ago, the town sold $50,000 a year in daily beach passes. Last year it broke $1 million.

Q Do you spend much time at the Jersey Shore?

A I have a place in Pier Village, and also my brother and I have a place on Long Beach Island.

Q How else do you spend your free time?

A I’m the team leader for the 2012 U.S.A. Olympic wrestling team. That’s one of my passions.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=f9ab51828081fc97941a77e9219eb370

Speak Your Mind