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Thomas Ryan, CEO of Greystone, currently has eight NYC projects underway, including the West Village's 175 West 10th Street. Thomas Ryan, CEO of Greystone, currently has eight NYC projects underway, including the West Village's 175 West 10th Street.
CEO of Greystone Development Thomas Ryan isn’t afraid of a barrier to entry. The company’s lead developer is currently overseeing projects across the island of Manhattan and its outer boroughs including Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx, not to mention a slew of completed projects in Florida, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Greystone Development’s current Manhattan projects include 175 West 10th Street in the West Village, Harlem 125 in East Harlem, 108 Chambers in Tribeca, and 164 West 74th Street on the Upper West Side. Outside Manhattan, the firm’s New York footprint includes On the Sound, the first large-scale condominium development in City Island, Bronx in more than 15 years; Myrtle & Steuben, rental buildings in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn; 223 4th Avenue, a rental property in Park Slope, Brooklyn; and 24-16 Queens Plaza South in Long Island City.

With a 25-year track record in the industry, Thomas remains one of the original founders of Greystone Development and oversees all projects from conception to completion. Below, he speaks with CityRealty regarding his role in the company, and in the larger cityscape beyond.
108 Chambers 108 Chambers is rising to its height of 10 stories in Tribeca. (Greystone Development)
175 West 10th Street 175 West 10th Street in the West Village

Your current portfolio includes projects all over New York City, in nearly all boroughs. What neighborhoods are you most excited to be working in?

Thomas: I really like the Park Slope/Gowanus area right now. The barrier to entry, to both develop and reside, is attractive. This area is a consistently desirable part of Brooklyn, and when compared to Manhattan, the value is undeniable.

Additionally, a resident will live in an area that already has key infrastructure in place. As developers, we find all of the above attractive, plus we like that there is a high demand for first time homeownership from people already living in the neighborhood.
Myrtle & Steuben, a pair of rental buildings in Clinton Hill, began leasing in January 2017.

Which area do you think is the most up and coming?

Thomas: One neighborhood that is currently experiencing a renewed interest is Harlem. While West Harlem is more established, we’re focused now on Central/East Harlem.

For many reasons, these areas are so incredibly appealing and a resurgence was just a matter of time. The resident who is interested in this neighborhood finds it appealing because they can get more space while remaining on the island of Manhattan. This resident is also drawn to the proximity and abundance of the transportation options: subway, train, Citi bikes, busses, etc., as well as the vibrant energy within the community. All of the above coupled with the rezoning of Park Avenue creates an environment prime for residential resurgence.
Leasing launched last May at the 75-unit Harlem 125 in East Harlem.

When planning a development for a designated NYC neighborhood, what are the first things you consider?

Thomas: When a potential opportunity is presented to us, we are fortunate that we have the capacity in-house to assess the site from various perspectives to decide if we truly like the property and the neighborhood.

Our investment/acquisitions team can analyze if the economics work. The development and construction team can assess if there are impediments to permits, entitlements, or potential environmental challenges. Our marketing team can understand the micro trends: is the real estate in the area trending up, is the existing inventory absorbing and if so, how quickly? Is there currently any shadow inventory, how many upcoming properties are in the pipeline, and how will all of this impact our potential site?

What project on the horizon has been received with the most community support?

Thomas: 164 West 74th Street is a development we are just getting out of the ground, and the community has very much embraced this change of use. Converting the facility to 14 condominiums is more in line with the balance of the neighborhood. We received very positive responses from the Community Board and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Conversion plans for 164 West 74th Street

In terms of your career in development, what has been the hardest decision you've had to make?

Thomas: There was a period of time where the NYC market costs heated up and we decided to move more towards second tier markets. This required an awful lot of travel and time away from my family. Being a good steward of the deals in various markets meant sacrificing home life. The decision to personally attend to the out-of-state portfolio was not an easy one.
Construction began on the 117-unit 24-16 Queens Plaza South

Do you model future developments off of any specific successful projects in your firm's past? Do you have any favorite developments outside your firm?

Thomas: I’ve taken away positives from all the deals we’ve done. This has translated into a constantly evolving company mindset, whether it be partnering with another firm in a market we are less familiar with, finding improved construction means and methods, or discovering new finishes.

On The Sound is the first of its kind in City Island in 15 years. Where did you draw its inspiration from?

Thomas: On the Sound was inspired by the vintage coastal neighborhoods in New England and the Mid-Atlantic. It was also our vision to create a gated community with waterfront views and shared amenities just minutes from Manhattan.
City Island's On The Sound is bringing 43 homes oriented around community living to the neighborhood.
Aerial view
Residents' clubhouse
Private outdoor space
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Contributing Writer Katy Cornell Katy Cornell is a Long Island native with a passion for writing about real estate in the big city. She recently graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in English and is a frequent contributor to CityRealty's Market Insight and NYC real estate blog 6sqft.