Every September, for one week, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) brings hundreds of visiting diplomats and dignitaries to New York City, many of whom have staggeringly large motorcades and security detail.
The hectic nature of so many people cramming into an already jam-packed Manhattan may cause headaches for some, but for Metropolitan Pacific Partners president and CEO Steve Osman, it’s all part of the job.
“It’s chaos,” he admitted to Real Estate Weekly about the week in September when UNGA is held.
Osman knows first-hand about how crazy it can get — his firm manages two buildings that exclusively house 10 different missions to the UN. The firm doesn’t even give out the addresses of the buildings because of how tight security is for the countries.
If you’re wondering just how crazy secure it gets during UNGA, the King of Jordan’s motorcade alone featured nearly 140 vehicles, according to Osman.
In preparation for the gathering, all embassy rooms in Metropolitan Pacific’s building were thoroughly cleaned and inspected before dignitaries arrived. Windows got a fresh wash, and all air-conditioning systems and technical equipment was checked and doubled-checked.
The anticipation for UNGA was increased exponentially this year with the scheduled visit by Pope Francis, which drew huge crowds in Midtown and across the city, and 2015 also being the 70th anniversary of the gathering. Just to keep everyone on their toes, President Obama also made an appearance at the U.N.
But despite the commotion, Osman’s firm made it through the week with smooth sailing.
“We have been doing this for years,” he said. “We know what to do and just when to do it. We would know immediately if anything was out of order, and absolutely nothing was. All went as planned and perfectly.”
Osman’s company, which he started in 1995, also manages 20 other buildings in Manhattan. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Ethiopia, Greece, Portugal, Tanzania, and several more countries all have space in Metropolitan Pacific’s designated UN buildings.
Packages can’t be brought into the building, and every floor has its own elevator key. Four different royal families have offices in the buildings — Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Jordan.
“You have to understand their customs, you have to be sensitive when dealing with them,” said Osman of the particular nuances of having foreign diplomats and missions as tenants. “Security has to be very sensitive; they have to know what doesn’t look normal.”
Osman, who grew up on Long Island, went to St. John’s University in Queens and studied management and economics.
“I wasn’t sure then, like most kids in college, what I wanted to do,” said Osman.
A year after graduating, he landed a job with a major real estate management company. That led to two more jobs in real estate management, and then Osman opened up his own firm, Metropolitan Pacific Partners, in 1995.
Originally, the firm started out as mostly residential management, but 20 years later, the firm is now looking to shake things up.
“We’re basically phasing out residential and going into mostly commercial,” said Osman.
He added that the firm has worked on some projects where they did redevelopment, but they are also looking into doing new development in the future.
The company has offices in Manhattan and in Astoria, Queens, and recently purchased property in Roslyn Heights on Long Island, with plans to build a three-story office building there that will serve as the firm’s main office.
But one of the biggest things in the company’s future is its expansion to Washington, D.C., which it anticipates with its opening of an office there next spring.
The company expects to house half a dozen staff at that location.
The expansion is a natural progression for the company — many of the countries that are tenants of Osman’s also have embassies in D.C. “Even though some of these countries are very wealthy, they’re running a thousand consulates around the world, and 300 embassies and these things don’t bring income in,” said Osman. “We’re watching all these costs and saving them more than a quarter of a million dollars a year, by making sure they aren’t overpaying for things.”