Jemal on Jemal
On a fairly regular basis, the nichey news-and-events outfit Bisnow pulls together panels of (usually all white and male) power plavers to lure professionals in various fields with the promise of nosh and networking. I occasionally attend on the off chance that someone might say something interesting. Today, Bisnow hosted a Growth Expo at the Reagan International Building, and invited the two top Dougs in commercial real estate—Donatelli and Jemal—to chat with Mark Ein (whose Venturehouse rents space from Douglas Development in Gallery Place).
Bisnow panelists tend to chatter on about their brilliant market insights. But Jemal, as per usual the only guy around wearing jeans, was fairly glib when it came to the secrets of his success. Here's an edited selection of the conversation, with Ein's questions paraphrased:
Ein: Please, introduce yourselves.
Jemal: We started by buying old buildings that nobody wanted...It got bigger. Lot more headaches, lot more problems, but that's life.
What neighborhoods are you excited about?
I'm very bullish on New York Avenue, so I think prices there are going way up.
How do you decide what emerging neighborhoods to go into?
There really is no rhyme or reason. If it feels right, I'll do it....The reason I hold things for a long time is that I look at the whole painting.
Do you worry when you make these huge buys?
I love to gamble. I never had so much fun with my clothes on....Of course I worry. No, I don't worry. We're all leaving here with nothing, let's have a good time. All we need is for everyone to have that kind of attitude, and we'll be fine.
Do you think the city will ever raise the height limit?
I hope not. The beauty of the city is that the sun shines over the buildings.
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, Doug Jemal!