November 5, 2019
Commercial Observer

Owners Magazine 2019: Talking With the Top Developers and Owners of NYC

MaryAnne Gilmartin CEO, L&L MAG 

Do you think we’re heading into a downturn? Why or why not? New York’s fundamentals are strong, but I do see a correction, if not a modest downturn, which creates big opportunities for folks like us. 

What do you think the future looks like for WeWork and other coworking operators if the economy slows down? While there’s plenty of culpability to go around, WeWork’s troubles are largely its own doing. I think it will course correct, right-size itself, and adjust the market’s expectations. 

Is New York City losing its shine? Are property investors starting to look elsewhere? Political headwinds and the cost of doing business make it ever more challenging to build and operate here. New York remains the global capital of the world, but the barriers to entry keep getting higher and higher. Again, we will create opportunities due to this. 

How have you adjusted your business plan since the new rent laws were passed? We will concentrate our building in neighborhoods where the majority of the market rents are already over $2,000 per month. With this strategy, we still have a multifamily business in new construction. That said, we are borough builders too and the new rent laws are foreboding for areas outside of the urban core — hopefully time will produce a political awakening up in Albany. 

Do the new rent laws present any opportunities for savvy owners? Other than producing a less cluttered field of developers, the new laws present more of a workaround than an opportunity for savvy developers. 

Is REBNY in need of a revamp? A lot. 

What’s the biggest headache in your job that no one knows about? This job is full of headaches for all of us in this business. That’s what keeps it fun and real. Telling you how I cope with them would be revealing my secret sauce. 

What’s more important: having the best lawyer or having the best accountant? Having the best lawyer with an accounting background. 

Most underrated neighborhood in the city? Bushwick. 

If you could pick the Republican and Democratic nominees for President, who would they be? I’m not foolish enough to answer that question. 


Favorite book? Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels 

Favorite restaurant? Crown Shy 

Favorite vacation spot? Maldives 

Favorite TV show? “Fleabag” 

Favorite movie? Too many good ones to pick 

Favorite sport? 10th grade girls’ volleyball 

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