ULI NY features ‘Five Minutes With’ Alloy Development President A.J. Pires. He shares the best advice he received from a professor, the qualities he believes an effective leader should possess, and what makes him most proud of One John Street – finalist in the Housing category of the Awards for Excellence in Development.
Who has had the greatest influence on your career and what was the best advice he or she gave you?
I’ve had many great teachers, mentors, colleagues and partners who have influenced my career over time. But, one who continues to stay with me was a wonderful professor, Richard Farley, who offered two great pieces of advice. The first was, “It’s not a rehearsal.” There is no reason, he said, not to push for the best outcome regardless of what comes your way, professionally or otherwise. The second one was, “On a job site, don’t get so excited by what’s going on around you that you forget where you’re walking.” That one continues to come in handy.
What qualities do you think are essential to be an effective leader?
There are so many challenges in designing and developing great mixed-use, public-private projects in New York, however at the end of the day, I think honesty coupled with a long-term push toward improving the place where you’re working carries the day. So much of development work takes so long to realize and has such lasting impact, so I think keeping an eye on these keys to reputational success ultimately comes through in the work.
While the condominium portion of the project was highly successful in the marketplace, there are two components of the project I’m most proud of. First, its design, which we continue to receive compliments about. We feel like it’s contextual and meshes beautifully with the adjacent Brooklyn Bridge Park. And second, we donated space for an annex of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, which has served more than 10,000 families. It was important for us to make a contribution to the surrounding neighborhoods, and it was truly a privilege to be involved in that effort.