NEW YORK CITY—Though they represent a cross-section of theindustry, several of the industry's luminaries agree on severalquestions regarding the city's future. A group of five such CREprofessionals came together last week—at the annual capital marketsconference by NYU School Of Professional Studies SchackInstitute Of Real Estate—to discuss topics ranging fromthe impact of Hurricane Sandy on the city to what New York needs tostay ahead of its global competitors.

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Provocative questions were raised by moderator RobertBlumenthal, managing director, Deutsche BankSecurities, including an inquiry about whether there'senough demand for high-end condominiums to justify supply. Read howthese newsmakers replied in part one of this two-partdiscussion.

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Blumenthal: We've just passed thesecond anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. What's the aftermath of thestorm?

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Stephen Ross, chairman and founder,Related Cos.: The city today is very robust. Wegot through it, which you can see with all of the construction andoptimism in the marketplace. The prices for retail, condos andoffice are as high as they've ever been.

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Mary Ann Tighe, CEO, New York tri-state region,CBRE: What's interesting is how quickly peoplestopped thinking about Sandy. Every building on Water street pickedup its infrastructure so all of the buildings have filled up now.There's also been a tremendous amount of rewiring so theinfrastructure is better. But the next question is what are wedoing to protect the island. I don't think we've figured out thearray of solutions we need and how to fund them.

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William Mack, founder and chairman,Mack Real Estate Group: Downtown will continue toadvance, possibly at the detriment of other areas, like Midtown.Rent differentials will be much less between Downtown and Midtownover the next few years.

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Blumenthal: What's does New York need tostay competitive with other global cities?

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Ross: We have to look at ourselves as a business city and notjust get caught up in providing affordable housing. From a coststandpoint, we must be competitive in the office sector with otherglobal cities.

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William Rudin, vice chairman and CEO,Rudin Management Co.: We need to diversify oureconomic base. We've always been a city that welcomes everybody;that creates the energy we all thrive on.

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Mack: We have to be competitive on real estateand other taxes. We also have to make sure we have safe, cleanstreets. As long as there's that perception—and reality meetsit—there will be a favorable atmosphere here.

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James Kuhn, president, Newmark GrubbKnight Frank: If you look at polls, the city'sdemographics are changing, with today's minority groups becomingtomorrow's majority. So we need to organize a consensus and bringthese groups to our side by creating more wealth across theboard.

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Gary Barnett, president and founder,Extell Development Co.: The city has had a greatquality of life for the last 20 years and we need to make surethat's preserved. Also, at the high-end, wealthy people need to becomfortable investing here.

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Blumenthal: Is there continuing demand forcondominiums and what's the social value of those units for thesuper rich?

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Barnett: They're providing tremendous economicbenefit. Two of our buildings will generate billions of dollars intaxes, jobs and spending at Nordstrom and the Park Hyatt.

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Also, we're a beacon of safety and stability for the rest of theworld. We see people from the Middle East and China coming herebecause they feel safe and that they're money is safe. If they haveto run away from their countries, they have a safe place tolive.

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Rudin: To have affordable housing, you have tohave high-end units and everything in between. But luxury buyersare not all foreigners; some are Americans who come here forbusiness and want a place to stay or they could be from anoverseas-based company establishing a presence here. It'ssimplistic to say all high-end buyers are foreign.

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Barnett: Almost 50% of our buyers are from NewYork.

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Rayna Katz

Rayna Katz is a seasoned business journalist whose extensive experience includes coverage of the lodging sector, travel and the culinary space. She was most recently content director for a business-to-business publisher, overseeing four publications. While at Meeting News, a travel trade publication, she received a Best Reporting award for a story on meeting cancellations in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.