41. Jeffrey Gural
Chairman of GFP Real Estate
Last Year’s Rank: 26
While owning close to 11 million square feet of real estate in New York can keep one more than busy, Jeffrey Gural’s 2017 found him dealing with more elemental matters. Gural retired from the chairmanship of his family firm, Newmark Knight Frank, becoming chairman emeritus, and renamed his Newmark Holdings firm GFP Real Estate. (On last year’s list, Gural was ranked with the Newmark Knight Frank crew.)
The name change was intended to clarify the distinction between the two firms as NKF embarked on its IPO.
“Once Newmark went public, I thought it would be confusing for people because a lot of people always thought Newmark owned the buildings,” Gural said. “Newmark never owned anything. It was always a management, leasing and consulting company.”
Of course, this is just one event of many for GFP in 2017, a year that saw revenue for the company reach $354 million, a 6 percent increase over the previous year.
One of GFP’s significant 2017 projects was the repositioning of the 14-story, 270,000-square-foot Film Center Building at 630 Ninth Avenue between West 44th and West 45th Streets. The building’s modernization included the addition of 25,000 square feet of new space, thanks to the reclaiming of obsolete film vaults.
“When my father [late Newmark Chairman Aaron Gural] acquired the building [in 1979], it had three vaults,” Gural said. “No one stores film anymore, so we embarked on a program to take out all the vaults, slab over them and make it part of the rentable area.”
The company’s challenges for 2018 will include preparing for the development of the 965,000-square-foot 7 Hanover Square, which GFP announced the purchase of in January for $310 million. For Gural, then, 2018 will be split between tackling big projects and continuing to maintain the company’s massive portfolio, which, outside of repositioning projects, remains leased at almost a 99 percent rate.
“We try to be good landlords and benefit from the fact that people know when they deal with family-owned businesses, it’s different than dealing with public companies,” he said. “There are a lot of tenants out there who like that when they have a problem, they can call the owner of the building.”—Larry Getlen