Apr 5, 2019
As part of the theme of today’s podcast my real estate brethren, we are initially going to channel that 1970’s disco classic “We Are Family,” a song which among other things helped inspire the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates to be World Series champions that year. Just as that ’79 Pirates team was a close knit family, the same can be said of today’s dynamic duo, namely that of commercial real estate owners and developers Norman Sturner, and his son David Sturner, of Murray Hill Properties. Norman, the Co-Founder and Chairman of MHP - which has acquired and sold more than 150 properties over the past 30 plus years - has been heard to say on more than one occasion when conveying his passion for New York City that it “is an island which cannot be moved anywhere nor lose its value.” David Sturner is the President and CEO of MHP, who among his many contributions to the growth of Murray Hill Properties, oversaw the merger of MHP with the investment and management firm Banyan Street Capital out of Miami, who together now own and manage over 15 million square feet of property in the eastern region of the United States.
On a personal note, I have known
Norman and David for over 30 years, back to the days when I worked
for MHP during the Resolution Trust Corporation days. Back in the
day, among the myriad of services MHP provided, the most enjoyable
and satisfying was that of being turn-around specialists. We
essentially were a M*A*S*H unit, performing the equivalent of real
estate triage on the buildings which were included in distressed
mortgage portfolios that our clients - such as Lehman Brothers and
Lennar Partners - had purchased in such then distressed areas of
SoHo, TriBeCa and downtown Greenwich,
At 3:03, David Sturner speaks about information being essential in the real estate industry, and suggests that the more one has at its disposal to analyze, the better the conclusion it can draw up. At 3:43, David advises how MHP adds value to properties in which they own, and also how they determine which investments they make. At 4:37, David discusses beginning his career in the construction business. At 6:35, Norman Sturner points out that MHP’s focus is on adding value, but notes the current difficulty due to competition and the influx of capital from overseas. At 8:08, Norman informs us of MHP’s recent partnership with Banyan Street Capital. At 11:02, David shares growing up with a passion for the real estate industry, as well as that of performing due diligence. At 13:10, Norman touches upon giving back and making a difference in the community. At 14:07, David makes known of his gratitude to his father for the head start in which he provided. At 16:55, Norman shares that 98% of the time MHP “buys bricks,” as it is hard to find a cap rate that makes sense in the current landscape. At 18:47, David highlights the culture at MHP, and the importance of those who work at MHP. At 20:52, David defines risk in the past versus that of risk today, and speaks of MHP’s confidence in its due diligence. At 23:28, Norman revisits a mistake MHP made in 2007/2008. At 26:51, Norman strongly believes that everybody has to walk away from the negotiating table feeling like they got something during a negotiation. At 28:16, David advises that one should figure out their passion during the early stages of its career, and once that passion is found, pursue it. At 31:21, Norman touches upon why MHP believes that it must always leave something on the table for its partners, as well as leave some meat on the bone for a new buyer when selling a property. At 32:33, Norman provides a few pointers for those interviewing and pitching business. At 34:24, David and Norman impart their thoughts on Amazon’s recent withdrawal from Long Island City. At 36:47, Norman closes the podcast with a message about Manhattan being an island at the center of the world.