Robert I. Shapiro

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City Center Real Estate, founded in 1964 by Robert I. Shapiro (Bob), is one of the pioneers in the use of air rights. He is recognized as the preeminent broker in land assemblages along with the sale and acquisition of air rights (TDRs). Over the last several decades, Bob has been involved in over 3.0 million sq. ft. of TDRs. His vast amount of knowledge in this discipline lead Lois Weiss (New York Post) to dub him the Sky King of air rights.

Bob, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and Columbia University Graduate School of Business, has 55 years of experience in the New York City real estate industry. He was recognized as the “Young Real Estate Man of the Year” by REBNY early in his career. Bob was also awarded the Most Ingenious Deal of the Year (Robert T. Lawrence) award by REBNY in 1986 for his work on the Crowne Plaza project. The transaction involved the assemblage of a site on the west side of Broadway 48th and 49th Streets for the creation of a major mixed-use as-of-right project and included the sale of 5 properties, 2 land leases, 2 air rights, a right of a tax free exchange, a right of first refusal, the relocation of a major tenant and the buyouts of a myriad of adult entertainment establishments whose leases do not have demolition or cancellation clauses.

He has lectured and appeared on panels at Columbia, NYU, Baruch College, the Appraisal Institute, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the General Services Administration in addition to making presentations to numerous law firms, panels, and forums.

Bob currently serves on the REBNY Board of Governors, is on the REBNY Zoning and Design Committee, and was a former Vice President of the Real Estate Foundation.

Ronald Novita

Ronald Novita (Ron) brings over 30 years of real estate experience in both the private and public sectors. This experience includes leasing, management, revitalization techniques and urban issues as it relates to real estate development.

After 5 years at Lansco Corporation, where Ron was a tenant leasing broker, he moved to the landlord’s side when he joined Rose Associates. As a VP of Montrose Realty Corp., a subsidiary of Rose, Ron was part of a team that repositioned financially troubled buildings on behalf of mortgage holders/financial institutions, referees, and bankruptcy courts. Ron was the point man on these buildings and effectively coordinated successful workouts of commercial properties that totaled over 4 million square feet in Manhattan and Philadelphia. His primary role was handling the leasing and marketing, while assisting in the management.  

When Ron moved to the public sector it was as Director of Commercial Development at Harlem CDC, a subsidiary of Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) the NYS agency charged with economic development. Ron worked on various facets ranging from job creation issues to real estate development where ESD had an investment or ownership role. Ron then moved to ESDC headquarters where as Senior Project Manager, he was part of a team that worked with other state and city agencies, as well as not-for-profits, on real estate, job creation, loan programs, and other statewide issues.  Ron graduated from Baruch College with a BBA.

Ron is a member of REBNY and the REBNY Economic Development Committee.

Brian Strout

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Brian Strout's initial land use and entitlement background started when he entered commercial real estate in 2004.  For undergrad, he graduated with honors from the University of Florida with a degree in Finance.  He then worked in Florida and South Carolina for 7 years prior to receiving his Masters in Real Estate with honors at NYU Schack.

Brian has applied for and received several favorable ZRD1 DOB zoning requests related to clarifying gray areas of the NYC Zoning Resolution. In representing buyers and sellers for either air rights or development assemblages, he works along side land use attorneys and architects on development scenarios.  He has spoken at CLE and CRE events.

Brian also has experience in the NYS FOIL requirements for obtaining records from various agencies on issues that could affect client interests. He has overcome initial FOIL denials for records by the MTA, NYC EDC, NYS ESD, Mayor’s office, and NYS AG Charities Bureau.

Brian is a member of REBNY and the REBNY Zoning and Design Committee.  Given his interest in NYC real estate history, he has a hobby of collecting old block and lot maps of NYC.