Women at the Forefront: Exploring the Changing Landscape of NY Real Estate

November 18, 2019

The power of professional women in New York’s real estate market is not widely known, even though major deals are happening with women at the forefront. Marian Klein Feldt (President of Park Tower), Mary Ann Tighe (CEO of CBRE’s New York Tri-State Region), and Melissa Burch (Executive General Manager of LendLease) are among the standouts in this change of landscape. FOLCS hosted a discussion with these three women at The Harmonie Club on current real estate trends and market issues, the changing nature of an industry that is being increasingly disrupted by women, and their own personal contributions to Manhattan’s real estate scene. In a brick and mortar, steel and glass industry once dominated by men, these women have broken through a glass ceiling and built an entirely new floor for a new generation of female developers and real estate executives.

This event was co-produced with The Harmonie Club.

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Mary Ann Tighe
CEO of CBRE's NY Tri-State Region

From the revitalization of Times Square and the rebirth of Downtown to the westward expansion of Midtown’s central business district, Mary Ann Tighe has been at the forefront of the transformation of New York’s skyline during her 34 years in the real estate industry. Mary Ann has conceived, structured and negotiated virtually every form of deal including ground leases, air rights acquisition and disposition, net and gross leases, government incentive packages, and a range of equity transfers from partnership and condominium interests through fee simple sales. She has been responsible for more than 101.6 million square feet of commercial transactions, and her deals have anchored more than 14.4 million square feet of new construction in the New York region—believed to be a record in commercial brokerage.

Mary Ann has been CEO of CBRE’s New York Tri-State Region since 2002, a region of 2,500 employees. Under her leadership, CBRE has become New York’s preeminent firm, outdistancing all competitors in market share, revenue and margins.

Marian Klein Feldt
President of Park Tower Group

Marian Klein Feldt is President of Park Tower Group, a major real estate development firm recognized as a leader in the development of high-quality projects in the United States and overseas. In addition to overseeing existing assets within the firm’s portfolio, she is responsible for the management and the execution of all aspects of Park Tower’s newest development, Greenpoint Landing, consisting of approximately 5,500 apartments on 22 waterfront acres in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Prior to joining Park Tower in 2006, Marian worked in derivatives trading at The Bank of New York and in Private Client at Sanford Bernstein, a division of Alliance Capital. She is a Member of the Board of Governors of REBNY, a Member of the Board of Directors of the New York Building Congress, and a Member of the Board of Overseers of the Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Ms. Klein holds a Master of Business Administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Melissa Burch
Executive General Manager of LendLease

A leading developer in New York City for over 17 years, Melissa Román Burch is Executive General Manager at Lendlease. Lendlease is an international property and infrastructure group listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. Committed to “Creating the Best Places,” the firm has a $70 Billion development pipeline of Urban Regeneration projects across the major global gateway cities. Melissa heads Lendlease’s Development business in the New York market, sources large-scale development opportunities, and supports the Company’s Urban Regeneration efforts nationally.

In 2015, Melissa was recruited by Lendlease to start their New York development platform. Today she oversees a business totaling ~$900 million of projects in New York City, including 277 Fifth Avenue and 100 Claremont Avenue.  Rising 55 floors and 660 feet, the iconic 277 Fifth Avenue tower is designed by internationally acclaimed architect Rafael Vinoly and is the tallest residential tower on NYC’s most famous avenue. In 2019, the building received top recognition by the Tall Building Council as the Best Tall Residential Tower globally. Located in Morningside Heights, 100 Claremont is a mixed-use academic/community facility and residential development that is part of the campus renewal plan for the Union Theological Seminary.  The project, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, will commence construction in late 2019.

As a committed civic leader, Melissa proudly serves as a Trustee of the Henry Street Settlement, a member of the Executive Committee of the Citizen’s Budget Commission, and Board Vice-Chair of the Coro New York Leadership Center. She is an active member of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), Urban Land Institute, and W/X New York Women Executives in Real Estate. She has received numerous recognitions and awards including Crain’s 40 Under 40, City & State’s Women of Public & Civic Mind, and Bisnow’s New York Power Women.