ULI NY was honored to have “Five Minutes With…” Silverstein Properties Chairman, Larry Silverstein. He shares the best advice he received from his mentor, his favorite building in New York City, and what makes him proud of the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown and Private Residences at 30 Park Place – finalists in the Hotel category of the Awards for Excellence in Development.
Who was the most influential person that left a mark on your career?
Probably a gentleman by the name of Louis Bianculli who I had I met back in 1966. He was a businessman and real estate developer. He took me under his wing and it was a priceless relationship. His advice, his guidance, his worldliness, his vision were all superb.
And what was the best advice he gave you?
Be honest, candid, open and treat people as you would expect them to treat you. If you were questioning whether or not you should take a particular action and if that particular action would end up on the front page of the New York Times, would you be embarrassed by it? If the answer was yes, then don’t do it. If the answer was no – no embarrassment at all, then you should proceed ahead. It’s a simple test, but one that has worked particularly well for me for over 60 years.
What is your favorite building in NY that isn’t yours and why?
I think one of the most beautiful buildings in New York is 375 Park Avenue – the Seagram Building. It’s a gem – an architectural gem. It’s also a jewel. From the stand point of its bronze façade and its architecture, it’s an extraordinary building. It’s set back from Park Avenue, it’s dignified, it’s elegant, it’s a classic, and I think it will always be timeless.
What makes you most proud of 30 Park Place?
It’s a beautifully designed building by Robert A. M. Stern and his team. It’s also a Four Seasons building. The facilities are superb and the apartments are quite beautiful. Lower Manhattan never had a 5 star hotel and it does now with the Four Seasons. It is a block north from the new World Trade Center and in many ways symbolizes how far the Downtown Manhattan neighborhood has come since 9/11.