Thousands Pack PCON Convention in Sign of Real Estate Industry Resilience


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Even real estate people need some closure, and they got it in spades as the largest industry convention in the Orthodox Jewish community got underway last Tuesday.

Thousands of men and women affiliated with real estate and property management packed the Rockleigh Country Club in Rockleigh, New Jersey, to hear of the latest trends of the trade, meet like-minded people and listen to presentations by titans of the field.

One attendee said that he looked forward all year to this convention, the fifth annual event of its kind, since it helps solidify his contacts.

“In just the time that I was there, I saw hundreds of people who work in the real estate industry — managers, landlords, investors, corporations,” said the attendee, a Williamsburg expert in compliance with New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development regulations. “I usually just speak to them by phone or on WhatsApp, but here I was able to meet them in person, put a face to the name and have a nice conversation in a nice environment.”

“To me,” he added, “this conference shows that the community is getting very upscale. Speakers discussed the future of the industry, where it is headed, and what we can learn from past mistakes. It was terrific.”

It also emphasizes the strength and durability of the industry, which has been body-slammed with a triple measure of blows in recent years. The rise of progressive politics in New York State’s legislature in 2018 brought in its wake a series of real estate laws which realtors worried would spell the end of their industry. Then came the Covid pandemic, followed by an economic downturn and skyrocketing inflation.

None of that gloom was evident at the convention arranged by PCON, which stands for property management and construction. Professionals dealing in anything related to real estate began arriving even before the doors officially opened. Property managers, landlords and construction magnates rubbed shoulders with electrical engineers, roofers and plumbers. On the sidelines, mortgage brokers networked with contractors, while representatives from elevator maintenance companies and lighting experts discussed future plans with flooring specialists and scaffolding engineers.

The program was designed to have something for everyone — there were five panel discussions on various topics and two breakout sessions, only interrupted by gourmet meals. It was organized by Ushi Teitelbaum, the founder of Sky High Public Relations which specializes in government PR.

Teitelbaum said he was proud to have organized PCON, “a one-of-a-kind event made by and for the Jewish property owners in New York, featuring expert speakers on hot topics and unmatched networking opportunities.”

“It was a great opportunity to learn from industry leaders, connect with fellow professionals, and stay ahead of market trends and developments,” he added.

The program began at noontime with a fascinating session on “politics in New York State real estate,” moderated by New York State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein, a Democrat from Brooklyn. The two panelists were former New York State Governor David Paterson and John Catsimatidis, the billionaire founder and CEO of the real estate and aviation Red Apple Group, and host of the weekly John Catsimatidis Show.

Mark Hertz, the founding President and CEO of the Mark Hertz realtor company, then delivered a breakout session to a rapt crowd on how to navigate New York City’s increasingly bureaucratic maze.

This was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Ronnie Levine, the senior managing director at Meridian Capital Group, on how to find success in commercial real estate. The three panelists — Nathan Wasserman, the President of AM Properties; David Junik, a partner at Pinnacle Realty NY; and Jonathan Bennett, the President of Amtrust Realty Corp. — offered tips drawn from their collective experience.

The program then broke for a gourmet lunch. When they got together again, it was to talk about the thorny issue of HPD compliance, moderated by Chaskel Bennett, a well-known community activist and a member of the Board of Trustees of Agudath Israel of America. New York City’s housing preservation and development department can easily trip up the uninitiated, and three experts — Ahmed Tigani, the deputy commissioner of HPD; David Mattel, the director of HPD compliance at Jack Jaffa and Associates; and Remy Raisner, founder and CEO of The Raisner Group — did their best to break down the complexities into manageable pieces.

Concurrent to this was a panel session on “dollars to deals,” how to close a real estate deal in New York. Moderated by Steven Goldschmidt, the general counsel at Cammeby’s International, four longtime realtor leaders — Abe Betesh, a senior manager of Capital Group; David Bistricer, the billionaire CEO of Clipper Equity and Clipper Realty; Steven Vegh, the President of Westwood Realty; and Greg Corbin, the President and founder of N. Point Real Estate Group — offered a wealth of knowledge and expertise.

Attendees were then offered the opportunity to meet with and question New York City’s deputy buildings commissioner.

The final panel was on landlord-and-tenant law. Moderated by Martin Heistin, a partner at the BBG law firm with a specialization in L&T law, as it is known in industry parlance, the two panelists were a sitting L&T judge and Henry Manoucheri, the CEO and Chairman of Universe Holdings.

The day culminated in a five-course dinner sponsored by Martin Joseph, the founder of
Metropolitan Realty Exemptions Inc., and the keynote address by Amir Korangy, the founder and publisher of The Real Deal, a prestigious real estate news website.

“It was such a beautiful kiddush Hashem to see so many people who are leaders in the fields and at the same time educated in yeshivos,” Yedidya Leibler, the organizer of the convention, said. “Every year we just keep on seeing more and more people show up. It has already become a must-attend for anyone in real estate and its associated industries.”

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Nicole Lambert
Nicole Lambert
Nicole Lamber is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes about arts, entertainment, lifestyle, and home news. Nicole has been a journalist for years and loves to write about what's going on in the world.

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