HomeBillionaire Stephen Ross talks real estate and owning the Miami DolphinsReal EstateBillionaire Stephen Ross talks real estate and owning the Miami Dolphins

Billionaire Stephen Ross talks real estate and owning the Miami Dolphins

Big achievements require vision and the moxie to see it through. Steve Ross has an ample supply of both. As chairman of Related Companies, Ross has built high profile projects like Hudson Yards, a $25 billion development spread across Manhattan’s West Side. His company also owns workout brands Equinox and SoulCycle, and he’s been in the headlines recently about those companies and his support for President Trump. Plus, Ross owns the Miami Dolphins, helping him amass a net worth of 7.7 billion. Some money he’s given away, including nearly $400 million to the University of Michigan, his alma mater. He’s here to talk about how to build the world in your image from the ground up.

Hello, everyone. I’m Andy Serwer. Welcome to “Influencers,” and welcome to our guest Stephen Ross, chairman of the Related Companies and owner of the Miami Dolphins. Stephen, great to see you.

STEPHEN ROSS: Great to be here. Thank you.

ANDY SERWER: So let me ask you, first of all, about Hudson Yards, which is probably the biggest thing on your plate. And for those people who don’t know what Hudson Yards is, can you give us a Hudson Yards 101 and tell us where we are?

STEPHEN ROSS: Well, what we did was really try to create a live, work, play environment knowing that, you know, today with people’s issues with congestion and also sustainability being such an important part of really development in the– in our future. So it came out of that. We had developed Time Warner Center, and we saw the impact that that had in Columbus Circle in the city. And, you know, being a real estate developer, you really love to do things that are the more impactful the better. I mean, at least I do and the challenge of doing it.

So Hudson Yards is the largest project ever done in the United States. We opened it up about three months ago, with about 11 million square feet out of the total– we’ll have roughly 20 million square feet when we’re done with it if we don’t pay any additional land, which we’re trying. And, you know, we’ve been involved and we were selected in 2008, which was really not a great time in– right in the middle of, you know, the Great Recession, and we started about five years ago, the physical construction.

And, I mean, it’s complex because it’s built over rail tracks, and, you know, but it’s very iconic. We’re shifting the center of gravity in New York from what I would say Rockefeller Center to Hudson Yards. In that period of time, which was really a wasteland because it was all rail tracks that we built over, today we get the highest rents in New York, you know, and which tells you something. I mean, it tells you, one, New York is ready for change. It was a project that was needed because of all the obsolescence and all the office buildings here in New York.

And– and we created a very, you know, place where people want to be with a great icon, which is the vessel that we created in the middle of it that today, you know, they tell me that it’s the most photographed piece on Facebook or Snapchat or whatever, you know, social media. So it’s, you know, we look back, you know, and well, of course, it was very easy, you know, now that it’s done with the first phases.

ANDY SERWER: Right. Now maybe this goes in sort of the category of no good deed goes unpunished. Some people like it. There’ve been some critics, some architectural critics or city planning critics, and then there were people who criticized tax breaks that you received. How do you respond to that?

STEPHEN ROSS: I mean, you don’t like to read the negative. They’re so wrong. I mean, you know, we got used to hearing and got sick of hearing everything is false news and all that kind of stuff. But, I mean, the “New York Times,” I think, because they weren’t involved or they’re not– didn’t have any influence in it, you know, criticized us for getting all these tax breaks.
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