Building An Icon

Digging into the extraordinary visions and bold decisions behind the places around the world that transform, inspire and captivate us.

It was just two weeks after Developer Forest City Ratner closed on a $680 million construction loan to build a 76-story building in New York City to be designed by Frank Gehry when Bear Sterns collapsed and the economy soon came down with it.

“I had the great benefit of calling Frank Gehry and telling him we might be truncating the tower,” CEO of Forest City Ratner MaryAnne Gilmartin recalls sarcastically about the decision the firm faced on whether to move forward on New York by Gehry, the landmark sky scraper that would redefine Lower Manhattan post 9-11.

In the two months following, the team would make several bold decisions allowing construction on the remarkable building to forge ahead in darkest days of the recession.

It is the perseverance of great leaders — refusing to back down from the dream to create excellence — who are the cornerstone of The Urban Land Institute’s Case Study series.

Bringing to life the journey to create the places that redefine the way we live and work invigorates our daily experience and leaves us in sheer awe.  They motivate us, they inspire us, and show us all the possibility that may come from the determination to be excellent through devastating weather, financial collapse and everyone who said it cannot be done.

“Because in the life of a developer, you only get to do something like this once. You can never replicate this opportunity,” said Gilmartin.

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