Case Studies

Gregg Stanzione – Related

VP of construction tackles epic NYC projects

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is a sprawling, ground-level shrine paying tribute to the lives lost in the 2001 and 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center. Its rectangular bronze panels, which bear the names of everyone killed in those attacks—along with the crashes at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania—surround walls of water cascading into subterranean memorial pools that reflect the city lights above.

While somber, the memorial has become a destination, attracting 52 million visitors between its opening in September 2011 and the 20th anniversary of the 2001 attacks.

Gregg Stanzione | Vice President of Design and Construction | Related

Gregg Stanzione | Vice President of Design and Construction | Related

On the surface, there’s not much linking the September 11 Memorial and 50 Hudson Yards, a towering glass-and-steel skyscraper rising 77 stories above the pavement two blocks from the West Side Highway. Yet each offers a unique expression of New York’s ethos: fierce ambition, bustling energy, sweeping grandiosity and world-class elegance.

They’ve also both been pivotal stops in the career of Gregg Stanzione, now vice president of design and construction at The Related Companies, a real estate development firm headquartered in New York. Stanzione, a New Yorker at heart,  calls his work on the Memorial “the most career-defining project that I was involved in.”  That was during his tenure at Lendlease, a construction management firm, which provided both core and shell and fit out services for both the memorial and the museum.

Today, Stanzione is excited to be working on one of the newest and most exclusive class-A office spaces in Manhattan, the fourth-biggest office skyscraper in New York City, home to some of the world’s biggest financial and tech companies. The 50 Hudson Yards project, which was designed by Foster + Partners, is now accepting tenants—and when those tenants sign leases, Stanzione is there to provide turnkey corporate interior services.

“I’m currently working on three floors and expect to build two other floors this way this year, the turnkey way,” Stanzione says.

Inside 50 Hudson Yards

When companies want to lease space in 50 Hudson Yards, they first tell Stanzione what they want it to look like: how many private offices, how many employee lounges, how many work stations or conference rooms and so on. Then Stanzione hires the designers and subcontractors needed to make that vision happen. He attends every meeting, oversees the work and approves all payments. And at the end of the project, his clients simply pay the bill and move in.

As 50 Hudson Yards fills up, Stanzione says he’s seeing the “flight to quality” principle at work, with tenants streaming out of older offices in favor of newer buildings.

Gregg Stanzione | Vice President of Design and Construction | Related

Related has certainly spared no expense to draw them in. At 50 Hudson Yards, there are elaborate lobbies, painted steel, aluminum and fiberglass sculptures from artists like Frank Stella; and manicured outdoor terraces with views of the Hudson River. The office tower also features access to the subway from within the building and a private porte-cochere with valet parking.

“I always have a full picture of the entire project,” Stanzione says of his work on those multitenant floors of the tower. “I get complete transparency on the design side, the construction side, the transition to operations; open communication with the tenant, and also the development team on finances and the status of leasing and potential leases.”

Epic New York projects

Stanzione, who says he wants to finish his career in New York, is no stranger to epic projects. One of his past jobs for Lendlease involved an Olympic-sized pool and hockey rink conceived as part of New York’s bid for the 2012 Olympics. The natatorium—located in Corona Park, in Queens—was scaled back after New York did not get the Olympics, but it remains one of the most compelling projects Stanzione has worked on.

The most interesting challenge, Stanzione says, was creating a column-free interior for the entire pool and diving tank plus the skating rink.

“It was very unique,” he says. “The whole roof of the building is supported by cables, like a cable-supported bridge.”

Gregg Stanzione | Vice President of Design and Construction | Related

 

When opportunity knocked in the form of Related’s Hudson Yards projects, Stanzione was ready, given his background in civil engineering and general contracting.

His first project for Related was the interactive, beehive-shaped work of art known as The Vessel, which features 154 intermingling flights of stairs leading up to clear views of the city skyline. Stanzione also worked on the interiors for The Peak restaurant on the top floor of 30 Hudson Yards. And he worked on The Edge, the largest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere, which juts out from the top of 30 Hudson Yards and reveals a 100-story drop through its glass floor.

“It’s great to be a part of projects that people from all over the world get to experience,” Stanzione says.

Gaining broad experience

It was a long road that led to overseeing such grand projects. A native of Crestwood, New York, Stanzione earned a bachelor’s in civil engineering from Manhattan College in 1990, followed by a master’s in civil engineering from Purdue University. In 1991, he started his career at Malcolm Pirnie, a large environmental and civil engineering consulting company, where he worked on projects ranging from environmental studies to a wastewater treatment plant design for Superfund remediation.

After eight years there, he moved to Chas. H. Sells, Inc., another civil engineering firm. While there, he worked on transportation and civil site engineering projects. But before long, Stanzione felt a need to switch from engineering to construction project management.

“I felt like my interest was more towards the building part of the business, whereas engineering you mostly prepare drawings and write specifications and do a lot of reporting,” he says. “I wanted to get more hands-on and be closer to the physical world, the built environment.”

 

Gregg Stanzione | Vice President of Design and Construction | Related

He jumped to Lendlease in 2001 and spent 12 years there before going over to Related. And he’s been at the latter ever since, leading projects that are quintessentially New York in their scale and appeal.

Stanzione says 50 Hudson Yards sets a new standard for modern office space, and surrounded by neighbors like Warner Media, Wells Fargo and KKR at 30 Hudson Yards, its tenants can certainly feel like they’ve nabbed one of New York’s hottest addresses.

“Looking back, I don’t think it’s possible to have worked on a more meaningful project than the 911 Memorial or a more rewarding project than Hudson Yards for its size and impact on the city,” Stanzione says. “Looking forward, I believe despite the current headwinds in commercial real estate, the best is yet to come, especially in New York City.”

View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. III 2023 Edition here.

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