Advertise, Promote, Attend, Create – Work with Connect.
A full service marketing and PR agency.
Meet the team behind the machine and taste a little of the secret sauce.

New York & Tri-State CRE News In Your Inbox.

Sign up for Connect emails to stay informed with CRE stories that are 150 words or less.

Sub Markets

Property Sectors


New York & Tri-State  + Retail  | 

Q&A with Lendlease’s Melissa Burch: Upside and Challenges in NYC Development

The headwinds facing developers in New York City are comparable to what Lendlease is seeing in other global gateway markets where it’s active. Yet the city is also ripe with opportunities. Connect Media asked Lendlease Development’s Melissa Burch, who is speaking at Connect NY on April 17, to share her insights on the development landscape.

Q: Where does Lendlease see development opportunities, and potential headwinds, in New York at present? 

A: We have 600,000 square feet of mixed-use development underway in Manhattan, and I see fertile ground for additional projects there.  Large-sale transit-oriented sites in Brooklyn and Queens are also of particular interest.  Mixed-use development is in our DNA, and you see that in Lendlease’s projects in NYC and around the globe where we integrate office, academic, condominium residences, rental housing and amenities such as boutique retail and open space into our projects to create dynamic and engaging places that people enjoy.

In terms of headwinds, there is an oversupply of ultra-luxury condos and rental housing in Long Island City and Downtown Brooklyn. The rental housing supply issues in the boroughs will work their way through over the next 2-3 years. Due to the gap between the expiration of 421-a and enacting the Affordable New York program, there is very little new product coming behind this wave, so I’m quite optimistic about future development in these transit-rich neighborhoods.

Q: In terms of these opportunities, and potential challenges, how does New York compare to other U.S. markets Lendlease is pursuing?

A: Lendlease Americas has active developments underway in New York, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco, and when you combine that with our work in London, Sydney and Singapore, you see that many of the global gateway cities are grappling with the same set of issues: lack of housing affordability, resiliency to extreme weather events, growing economic inequality and aging infrastructure.

As part of a company that works across the global gateway cities, I seek to embrace and share the best ideas, innovations and practices across our markets. For New York City, employment and population growth continue to exceed expectations, and this bodes well for additional development activity and investment. Mayors Bloomberg and de Blasio have been successful in diversifying the business base of New York from finance only to also include a robust technology, health care and higher education presence. This diverse ecosystem makes NYC more economically resilient than other U.S. gateway cities; however, investments in transportation and infrastructure are badly needed, and public private partnerships will be essential to achieve real progress.

Q: Although Lendlease is active in development globally, in the U.S. it’s still perceived as primarily a construction management firm. How are you working to dispel this perception?

A: For decades Lendlease has been known as a top-flight builder in New York, and I see this as a great leg up for launching a development business in a complex, costly and competitive market. Since joining Lendlease in 2015, I’ve sought to leverage this local expertise along with a strong balance sheet and international track record to secure and develop our own projects in this market.  We’ve seen early success with this model in NYC and across our U.S. development business where we have 4.4 million square feet of development underway. In fact, several of our first U.S. developments will open in 2018. For example, 277 Fifth Ave. in NYC just topped out at 55 stories last month, and will welcome its first residents by the end of the year.

Subscribe to Connect Daily New York

For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Paul Bubny


Inside The Story

Connect With Lendlease's Burch

About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

  • ◦People
  • ◦Development