3rd Annual Titans of Real Estate Wrap Up (3 mins)

On April 20, 2018, the Cornell Center for Real Estate and Finance and the Cornell Baker Program in Real Estate had the pleasure of hosting the 3rd annual Titans of Real Estate conference in New York City, with this year’s event centered around the theme of real estate family businesses. The event had five panelists, highlighted below, together representing Milstein Properties and Rudin Management Company, whose conversation was moderated by Richard Baker ‘88, Governor and Executive Chairman of the Hudson’s Bay Company, himself a member of a family business.


Howard P. Milstein ’73, Chairman & CEO, Milstein Properties

Michael Milstein ’11, Partner, Milstein Properties

William C. Rudin, Co-Chairman & CEO, Rudin Management Company

Samantha Rudin Earls, Senior Vice President, Rudin Management Company

Michael Rudin, Senior Vice President, Rudin Management Company

Family Real Estate Businesses

Guided by the theme of the conference, the panelists discussed some of the benefits and challenges of operating as a family business. Howard Milstein stressed the importance of managing working styles within the family – as is common across the real estate industry, one can often be working with strong personalities. Both Michael Rudin and Michael Milstein described the benefits of learning from your mentor on a daily basis and having unconditional love from those whom you report to. In addition to the workplace dynamics, the panelists described the nuance of overlaying the wisdom of previous generations on your own strengths and in the context of the market and business environment today. Given that the context is constantly shifting, Samantha Rudin Earls outlined the need to respect the past while finding ways to innovate and move forward. While the resources of a successful family business can afford new generations the ability to take risks – exemplified by Michael Milstein’s technology-focused venture capital entity Circle Ventures – the panelists noted that risks must calculated. New generations have the privilege of starting their careers with tremendous resources and must be conscientious; in general, there’s no urgency to take outsized risks.

New York City Market

As both Milstein Properties and Rudin Management Company are New York focused, the panelists shared some of their perspectives on the New York City market. William Rudin described the tremendous amount of capital being poured into the city, which signals investors’ preference for New York property. He’s seen a consumer shift in perceptions about New York that has resulted in people wanting to live and work across the city instead of in select areas. Howard Milstein noted the change in New York’s office tenant base from finance to tech, and highlighted the glut of supply in New York City driven by Related’s Hudson Yards project. Milstein likened this development, and its associated supply, with the original World Trade Center, which when completed in the early 1970s skewed the office market in New York for decades.

Message to Students

As the Titans event is attended by students in addition to industry practitioners, the panelists shared career advice with the audience. William Rudin urged students to find and follow an avenue of passion in order to approach future roles with energy. Howard Milstein highlighted the value of starting a career in real estate at a large organization, to understand how they analyze deals and to learn how decisions are made, then move to smaller organizations to nurture one’s human capital and gain breadth.

On behalf of both the Cornell Center for Real Estate and Finance and the Cornell Baker Program in Real Estate, the Cornell Real Estate Review team would like to thank our distinguished panelists and moderator Richard Baker for sharing their time and knowledge with us. We look forward to seeing what 2019’s 4th Annual Titans of Real Estate Event holds.

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