Joseph J. Sitt
Chief Executive Officer, Thor Equities
Chairman and Managing Principal, Thor Urban Property Fund
Message from the Board Chairman:
With approximately 55 million visitors traveling to New York City in 2012 alone, it is vital that we have world-class airport infrastructure to maintain our reputation as the greatest city in the world. For close to 50 years, our region’s airports were considered among the best in the country, but today, the very same airports that led the world in travel and exuded economic dominance are now considered among the worst. The Global Gateway Alliance was established in order to change that.
By bringing together leaders in business, government, labor, and academia, the Global Gateway Alliance is tackling the challenges plaguing New York’s airports to ensure that our air transportation infrastructure continues to serve as a catalyst for the region’s growth. To do so, we are working aggressively to raise awareness, propose solutions and demand action.
Our airports are often the first and last impressions visitors have of our City and country, and every bad first impression has a direct impact on economic activity. In fact, it’s predicted that the New York metropolitan region could well face $79 billion in economic losses by 2025 if we don’t do something about the declining state of our airport infrastructure. Whether its congestion into and out of our airports, excessive flight delays, overly burdensome screening processes or poor maintenance of our air terminals, the results are still the same: lost revenue, lost income, and lost prestige for our business climate. It is evident that the challenges facing New York’s airports, if left unaddressed, are going to have major, long-term impacts on New York City’s business climate and our local economy.
The Global Gateway Alliance was established to tackle the challenges facing our airports and serve as the leading advocate in an effort to make them better. We hope you find this website informative and we hope that you will join our effort to ensure that New York has airport’s worthy of its reputation as a global gateway city.
Joseph J. Sitt
Born in 1964 in Brooklyn, New York, Joseph Sitt was taught at an early age the value of hard work and social responsibility. While attending New York University, he began entrepreneurially working flea markets at the Aqueduct and Roosevelt racetrack parking lots.
After developing a strong interest in retail at an early age, Mr. Sitt founded Ashley Stewart (part of Urban Brands) in 1991 based on serving the urban consumer, a traditionally overlooked and underserved market segment by many national retailers. The company experienced considerable success in a relatively short period of time, growing to over 380 stores in 100 cities which generated approximately $400 million in annual sales. A key to Mr. Sitt’s success at Ashley Stewart and Urban Brands was identifying and leveraging the best urban real estate opportunities for its stores, and he decided in 1998 to divest his interest in the company and focus his energy primarily on the development and acquisition of prime real estate in urban markets with his real estate company Thor Equities.
Today, Thor Equities has an international retail, office, hotel, and residential portfolio valued at more than $5 billion and totaling more than 15 million square feet and is a leader in urban real estate development, leasing and management. Mr. Sitt also serves as Chairman and Managing Principal of the Thor Urban Property Funds whose investors include pension funds, investment banks, top-tier college endowments, and foundations. Notable developments under Thor’s umbrella include the award winning restoration and redevelopment of the historic Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, London’s oldest and most historic indoor shopping bazaar The Burlington Arcade, and the recently acquired Takashimaya building in the heart of Fifth Avenue—one of the most heavily trafficked and valuable retail streets in the world. In addition, he oversees Thor High Street Advisors which provides tenant representation and advisory services to retailers seeking premier retail locations around the world, and TOWN Residential, a full service, tailored luxury residential brokerage service in New York City.
Mr. Sitt is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and various universities including Columbia University, New York University, and Notre Dame and is an active board member of The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, one of the most renowned and respected community development organizations in the country. He also serves on the board of the Real Estate Roundtable in Washington D.C., the Department of Real Estate at Baruch College, and is a member of the Partnership for New York City. He was an honoree of Crain’s New York’s annual “40 Under 40” list in 2004 and has been named by the New York Observer in its annual list as one of the most powerful people in New York Real Estate. Harvard professor Michael Porter and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) have also honored him for his commitment to fostering healthy competitive business conditions and new opportunities in inner city neighborhoods. He is a graduate of New York University.
Joseph J. Sitt, 47, is the founder and CEO of Thor Equities, a multifaceted international real estate development company that specializes in value-added investments in shopping centers and mixed-use urban developments in the United States, Europe, and Latin America.
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