NYREJ Spotlight on Peter Sabesan
Managing Principal, Cresa
What was the most challenging part of working during the pandemic?
Trying to keep my group together professionally and emotionally. As commercial brokers exclusively representing tenants, being unable to physically canvass space has been exceptionally challenging, as have prohibitions on cold calling.
What was your most notable project, deal, or transaction in 2020?
Despite the embargo on canvassing and other limitations, I was able to execute long-term leases for more than 90,000 s/f of space in two locations for LIM College at 216 East 45th St. and 535-545 Fifth Ave. These leases reflect a renewed optimism in our city and leasing activity in Midtown Manhattan.
What aspects of working from home did you enjoy most?
As with so many of us who have been committed to working 24/7 for most of our professional lives, being home with my family has been a blessing. It has been especially rewarding to spend more time with my kids, helping them with their studies, and really learning about their lives. And in the midst of this, my colleagues and I have found new ways to communicate and work together remotely, without skipping too many beats!
What was your greatest professional accomplishment in 2020?
Keeping my brokers focused, active, and enthusiastic has been a great accomplishment this year. At any other time, it would sound mundane, but especially during the early days of the pandemic, in the midst of so much uncertainty, my partner, Richard Selig, and I made sure we interacted with our group regularly via virtual meetings. The positivity projected by everyone at these meetings contributed to our collective outlook and, not surprisingly, resulted in a respectable number of leasing transactions!
What are your predictions for commercial real estate in 2021?
New York City is resilient! In 2001, my firm had a satellite office Downtown that was severely impacted by the 9/11 attacks. At the time, there were many naysayers predicting New York could never recoup its former status. But they were proven wrong then—and now. Just look at all the commercial leases and sales that occurred this past summer and fall, including the Google, Facebook, and Amazon transactions. The physical workplace will undoubtedly undergo changes. Open space layouts will be replaced with private offices and bullpens with protective interfaces. But physical interaction is inherently conducive to productivity and I predict the office market will be fine.