NEW YORK CITY-Some of the real estate industry’s heavy hitters offered up their opinions on hot topics in the news during the Real Estate Board of New York’s members’ luncheon. Moderator Jonathan Mechanic of Fried Frank started it off with a query about the status of the West Side now in the wake of a state agency turning down financing for the effort the other day.

“Why did it have to come to this impasse?” asked CB Richard Ellis’ Mary Ann Tighe, adding that the city should be able to maintain two capital projects at the same time–Downtown and West Side initiatives. Cushman & Wakefield’s Bruce Mosler pointed out the need to look forward and believes the New York Sports and Convention Center will move forward. Mosler concurred with Eastdil’s Douglas Harmon in expressing the need for improved infrastructure on the West Side, particularly moving forward with plans to extend the No. 7 subway line.

Ground Zero redevelopment was another hot issue up for discussion. “The Freedom Tower needs to be built, I believe 7 World Trade Center will be successful,” Mosler said. “The city needs those structures.”

Also discussed was CIT Group Inc.’s decision to make the city its global headquarters at an under construction site at 505 Fifth Ave. It will be named the CIT Building and the company anticipates being in the site in the first quarter of 2006. And the indecision expressed by Goldman Sachs to committing to a Lower Manhattan headquarters was addressed as it appears to other potential tenants with security concerns. “They’re saying what does Goldman Sachs know that we don’t know,” noted Tighe, adding that the firm’s ultimate decision will have an impact on other companies exploring Lower Manhattan. “There’s a tremendous hesitance no matter how deep the discount is and a pause in the marketplace.” She did point out a trend that many global companies are taking small amounts of space here just to have a Manhattan base.

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