By Olivia Scheck
MANHATTAN — Even the worst recession in 80 years didn't do much to shake up the list of New York's most powerful people in real estate.
About three quarters of the names on The Observer's 100 Most Powerful People In New York Real Estate list, published Tuesday, have been there before, the paper said.
Stephen Ross, this year's No. 1, was No. 2 in 2009 and No. 3 in 2008. Founder of The Related Companies, L.P., Ross topped the list despite losing $1.6 billion in the past year, according to Forbes.
Explaining the decision to rank Ross at No. 1, The Observer pointed to the hotel and apartment tower that he is currently constructing on 42nd Street and to a large acquisition fund he is creating to buy up distressed assets. Ross already owns the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle and the Miami Dolphins.
Jerry and Rob Speyer, father and son owners of Tishman Speyer Properties, also made the list, clocking in at No. 11 (down from No. 5 last year), despite defaulting on a $3 billion mortgage earlier this year.
The money had been borrowed to fund the $5.4 billion purchase of the soon-to-be-foreclosed-upon Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village in 2006 — the most expensive residential purchase in history, according to the 2008 Observer list.
But even with Stuy Town's impending foreclosure, the Speyer's still own Rockefeller Center, the Chrysler Building and the MetLife building, according to The Observer. Jerry, the elder Speyer was No. 1 on the Observer list in 2008.
There were some fresh faces on this year's list, however.
Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecommunications tycoon who was No. 1 on Forbes billionaires list this year, came in at No. 13 on the Most Powerful in Real Estate list.
Slim, who is a part-owner of The New York Times, made his foray into the world of New York real estate recently, buying an office building at 417 Fifth Avenue and the former New York Times' headquarters, but he and his son, Tony Slim, are said to be in the market for more Manhattan real estate, according to The Observer.