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Speyer promotes ethics at YM/WREA meeting.

Jerry I. Speyer, president of Tishman Speyer Properties, came to the Rainbow Room not to talk about Rock Center - he was precluded by SEC rules - but to talk about ethical business conduct and the current state of the city's real estate.

He told members of the Young Men's/-Women's Real Estate Association (YM/-WREA) to stop dealing with those who don't tell the truth because the future of the real estate business depends on them taking that stand.

"Don't let them cross your path anymore. Don't let them into your office, don't take his phone call. Just don't do business with him," Speyer pleaded. "I suspect, if we all dedicated ourselves to that principal, first, we would all feel better, and secondly, we would have a better way of doing business with each other."

Speyer said "getting the deal done" is causing deteriorating ethics in all enterprises. It is now pervasive in American business, he noted, adding that real estate has its share of unethical contact.

"There are those people that I just don't want to deal with any more because I can't trust what they say," said Speyer. "Telling the truth is really important, and ultimately, you can only deal in projects - in the kinds of things all of you are involved with - if you really are straight-forward."

Continuing with his lesson, Speyer said, "I really am imploring all of you. You are the future of the industry in this city and if you don't set the path right, then those coming behind you, and those that are with you that aren't here today, won't be doing it properly either."

Ending what he said wan as impromptu lecture inspired by John Whitehead, former Deputy Secretary of State and a Goldman Sachs leader, Speyer said "This is a serious thing that each of us should be thinking about on a regular basis."

He described Whitehead as "a man of great principal, great integrity and huge success."

"The three do go together, the three can go together, and I'm sure if each of us tries harder, it will happen for all of us," Speyer concluded.

Turning to what he called "lighter subjects," Speyer admitted to being a Big Apple booster and bragged about this terrific town.

But disturbed by the legions of out of work Americans, Speyer suggested the city, and in particular the Wall Street and banking industries, become host to a jobs program to help retrain displaced workers.

"What about making this the retraining ground for making people get back to the workforce?" he asked. While he did not say it, that action might also fill empty offices with trainees.

"We in New York have the ability to train people and bring them back into the workforce that you can't do anyplace else in the world," Speyer noted. But continuing the theme of New York coming out of the bad times, he added "It's like the 10 plagues of Passover, we've had it all but we have it all."

While Speyer is busy with Rockefeller Center in a bid with David Rockefeller and the Whitehall investors group of Goldman Sachs, he is also is pursuing former Olympia & York assets with Apollo.

In 1988, Tishman Speyer expanded its activities overseas and developed the tallest building in continental Europe, Frankfurt's 950,000 square-foot 70-story Mezzerstern.

Today, Tishman Speyer is the designated developer in the center of East Berlin for over one million square feet of office, retail and residential space.

The company is a also "on the cusp" of starting the European headquarters for Sony that Speyer said is a billion dollar job comprising seven buildings.

"Obviously, we wouldn't be starting that if we didn't have some confidence in Berlin," he said, "even though it's not perfect."

A third project they are about to embark on in that area will have as much as three million square feet of space.

Speyer said they are "bullish on Germany, bearish on Western Europe arid we are particularly bullish on Berlin. It's a new city. The growth factor is exponential and the opportunities are there."

Speyer observed that the real estate industry in general is in "good shape," but continuing recovery was also dependent on people seeing "the glass is half full." He explained that people now have to think differently to get the job done.

"The future is dependent on the brain power in this room and groups like this around the country," he said.

He praised Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for "giving us back some self-respect," and noted that while not all the problems have been solved, there is a new view, new wisdom and hope. "And when there is hope, there is opportunity."

He pointed to the huge amount of space that has been leased in the last two years - more than the total square footage in many cities combined - and that this leasing explosion is true of the outer boroughs as well as Manhattan.

"There's a whole new buoyancy of the city and not just on Madison Avenue," he said. "This place is alive and sizzling and there's a lot going on."

Speyer also praised interpersonal relationships and making contacts over lunches, such as the Young Men's Young Women's group. "If you were sitting behind the laptop or PC you wouldn't have that interchange," Speyer added. But he admitted to using the videophone to maintain that face-to-face contact as a substitute for many five-hour plane flights.
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Title Annotation:Tishman Speyer Properties Pres. Jerry I. Speyer; Young Men's/Women's Real Estate Association
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Apr 17, 1996
Words:905
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