Founded by Robert I. Shapiro in 1964, City Center Real Estate is the preeminent advisory firm for NYC air rights and land assemblages.


City Center specializes in the sale of air rights, aka Transferable Development Rights (TDRs), and land assemblages in the New York metropolitan area. With over three decades of experience in this niche market, City Center has sold over 3.0 million sq. ft. of TDRs. Approximately 1.5 million sq. ft. of these TDRs were sold within the last 4 years.

Founder & Associates

Representative Organizations

City Center has been involved in many of the largest and most important air rights deals with deep experience working for both public and private institutions. For-profit real estate organizations, comprising both the newest developers as well as multi-generational family businesses, range from AvalonBay to Zeckendorf.

For-Profit Organizations

Non-Profit Organizations

Land Assemblage

Land assemblage consists of putting together several contiguous parcels to create a new development site. City Center has represented both developers and owners in these transactions, acting as a third party to structure the best deal and value for our clients and finding creative solutions to facilitate a transaction.

Often the biggest challenge developers face in assemblages is identifying and convincing the decision makers to sell. Many properties are owned by second and third generation real estate families, and understanding the family dynamics that play into an overall approval process and decision of selling a property is critical. City Center has 50+ years of industry experience and relationships that span multiple generations. Many of our developer relationships span 2 to 3 generations, and in one case 4 generations. Additionally, having good relationships with an owner's third-party advisors can be beneficial in facilitating a dialog with a previously unresponsive property owner.

Example solutions City Center has engineered for our clients to facilitate a parcel sale include swapping an owner into a different property through a tax efficient 1031 exchange and offering a minority percentage interest in the larger redevelopment opportunity.

Value Added

Unique Insight & Experience

Part of the value added unique insight for City Center is knowing the differences and having the experience of dealing with a wide range of issues that are pertinent to air rights and land assemblage transaction.  Whether this is the difference of transacting a deal with a co-op versus a condominium, or the alternative structures to help minimize taxes of a seller's proceeds from a sale.

Historic knowledge of a site or the ownership's decision makers allows for the insight into helping achieve our client's transaction. Additionally, a background in combing data from various real estate and non-real estate sources provides leverage in our client's negotiations.

For a more detailed overview of some value added situations City Center was able to generate for our clients, please see the Case Studies section.

Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) Request

One component of developing unique strategies is also getting access to information that is not online.  City Center has leveraged the use of the Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL) request to gain access to obscure information to develop strategies for our clients.  City Center has successfully appealed initial denials for a FOIL request from:


(i) the Department of City Planning (DCP);
(ii) the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC);
(iii) the NYC Office of the Mayor;
(iv) the NYS Attorney General's Office (AG); and
(v) the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

This success is largely due to our expertise of knowing about complex applicable NYS Committee On Open Government (COOG) advisory opinions and case law that allow City Center to overcome the objections by a governmental agency to provide records requested by City Center.

Additional Services

City Center's additional development and real estate services include:


(i) tax free 1031 Exchanges (the purchase or sale of air rights qualifies for a 1031 Exchange);
(ii) bidding on development sites;
(iii) comparing competitive offers;
(iv) matching a property owner with the right JV partner or fee developer; and
(v) providing expert testimony for air rights and development site valuation.