Your favorite developer?

If you could work at any developer in the United States which one and why? .........................

Comments (47)

Nov 16, 2020 - 4:57pm

Donald Bren. What he's built over his life is amazing. It was a different time and I don't know how possible it would be to replicate what he did today, but it sure would be cool.


I was gonna say Donald Trump, but it's too obvious.

  • Analyst 2 in PE - Other
Nov 18, 2020 - 10:31am

Did a deal with estranged son by the same name, it ended in a giant mess.


Later realized it was the kid who sued his dad for "a lifestyle he missed out on by living with his mom?" 

Nov 16, 2020 - 5:33pm

Favorite Developer: Gerald Hines

If I could work anywhere: There are a few I really admire. I'd rather work for myself though. 

Pls Fix, thx: "Your" 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 3
  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
Nov 16, 2020 - 11:31pm

I would really want to work for his son Billy, a lot more risk adverse than his father and still an amazing position.

Nov 17, 2020 - 10:44am

McCormack Baron Salazar.

Big nationwide affordable developer, involved in multiple municipalities and know how to leverage multiple grant/tax credit/abatements to build sustainable working class communities.  Because of the dispersion of their development team and the wide range of product they build, most deals seem to be reasonable differentiated and the complexity of the capital stack on any given development project far outstrips building a typical condo tower in a major urban area.  Long history so you know they're not about to go under, good back office support... yeah.  

Most Helpful
Nov 17, 2020 - 11:08am

Going to throw a random one out here but Fisher Brothers in NYC. Family office who has done really cool projects, sick Park Ave office and probably has a relaxed culture. Basically any "smaller" big time NYC developer with a fancy office, institutional capital, and good history/well respected.

Nov 17, 2020 - 11:09am


Going to throw a random one out here but Fisher Brothers in NYC. Family office who has done really cool projects and probably has a relaxed culture. Basically any "smaller" big time NYC developer with a fancy office, institutional capital, and good history/well respected.

Haha I feel like any NYC developer who has institutional capital and is well respected probably doesn't stay very small for long!

Nov 17, 2020 - 11:22am

No love for Trammell yet?

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

Nov 17, 2020 - 9:41pm

Before, I read his bio and it seemed pretty interesting how the financing all worked, going straight to shit and coming back. That being said, from the developments I remember, they don't all look that great imo, like the Peachtree Center in Atlanta and the Embarcadero Center in SF. He does make for some interesting stories though, like how JFK was on his way to see him in Dallas that day.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

Nov 18, 2020 - 8:57am

Pierogi Equities

No love for Trammell yet?

Trammell Crow the man would be on my list, particularly if I had a time machine and could work for him back in the day. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 2
  • Analyst 2 in RE - Res
Nov 17, 2020 - 7:39pm

For those into hospitality, I like a lot of the creative developers such as Ian Schrager Company, Sydell Group, Andre Balazs Properties, etc.

Nov 17, 2020 - 8:14pm

So I think in development, you are only as good as your projects. Thus, I think of cool projects I would want to be a part of, firms change mode/strategy too often. 

With that said, I'm going to throw a curveball...... H. Gary Morse who started The Villages in Florida. Literally a from ground "city" that became its own Micropolitan Statistical Area per the Census Bureau, it is literally in a part of nowhere Florida, the "build it and they will come" story. Clearly, I can't work for this person, he is dead and the project is basically complete (still growth all around, but that is wayyyy boring now). 

Even better...... Walt Disney, specifically on the Walt Disney World project in Orlando. That was the coolest story in acquiring over a 100 square miles of land without getting detected (had it been figured out Disney was true buyer, prices would have exploded). He even formed his own municipality to control everything (the Reedy Creek Improvement District) and then they spawned the first new urban master planned community ever, Celebration. 

Those are truly amazing real estate stories, not sure if anything to the scale of either will happen for a long time if ever! 

Nov 18, 2020 - 9:00am

Charles Fraser would be on that list for me. Created Sea Pines and Harbour Town and really made Hilton Head what it is. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Nov 18, 2020 - 9:00am

What kind of returns does he typically get? 

A lot of great architecture at least and an adventitious tax structure for sure. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Nov 18, 2020 - 9:45am

Ah - capital preservation play, got it. 

Making his 30 year old son, who really only had a background as a subcontractor, Co-CEO is definitely a real estate exec move though. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

  • 4
  • Intern in RE - Comm
Nov 18, 2020 - 11:02am

He's a bit of a bully sometimes. He tends to smite people when he doesn't get his way. He operates on such a high level, that he'll destroy the things he's built, just cause he can! Imagine Related blowing up Hudson Yards because they felt like it. Dude blows up stars on the daily.

Nov 23, 2020 - 4:46pm

I'd love to work at Extell or JDS simply because I love their supertalls. Otherwise, I know someone who ran development for Ritz-Carlton for a decade or so and said that was a great experience. I'd love to do luxury hospitality development (RIP) since I'm interested in design and user experience in addition to the real estate stuff. 

Nov 23, 2020 - 4:51pm

It will be back - especially the hyper-luxury hotels and resorts. They can always increase pricing and their target market will pay. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Nov 23, 2020 - 5:03pm

Definitely, I was just speaking with someone a few weeks ago from Marriott about their entry into the all-inclusive space, which certainly fits the hyper-lux standard. It'll be interesting to see how far they take it. 

Nov 23, 2020 - 5:37pm


I'd love to work at Extell or JDS simply because I love their supertalls. 

What do you love about them?  Just the fact that they're built tall?  This is such an alien attitude to me, I want to understand it in others. 

Nov 23, 2020 - 6:22pm

The fact that they are just tall is definitely part of it, although I feel phrasing it like that is a bit reductivist. Erecting tall, slender objects is a very difficult task from an engineering perspective (in my opinion, it's one of the reasons humans have built and loved obelisks for millennia), and supertall skyscrapers are no different. I have an engineering background and find the tuned-mass dampers really cool and how they're used to counter wind forces and sway. Some of them can be really cool like in Taipei 101, others like the one in 432 Park Ave aren't as flashy (they just added mass to the upper columns and slabs) but are still interesting from a structural design perspective (like imagine trying to balance a column stack that is getting increasingly heavier as it goes up instead of the opposite). Just in general, being able to build something so tall fascinates me. 

Additionally, miscellaneous design features like the stilts of the 601 Lex (aka the Citigroup Center) and all the issues that surrounded that are pretty fascinating. 

Finally, I enjoy the architecture of tall buildings, some of my favorite buildings are One57, 432 Park, 550 Madison Ave, Transamerica Pyramid, and the Seagram Building. The tall buildings of Modernism are really the first major break from the historic architectural language of ornament, and I'd say most radical architectural movement since Perrault and the east façade of the Louvre in the 17th century. Single family homes like those of Mies van der Roe, Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson also represent the shift to Modernism, and I enjoy those too, but for commercial buildings the skyscraper is where the most forward ideas are embodied. 

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