By Judith Alberty
In the super competitive New York City real estate market, it is difficult, if not impossible, to be the “one and only” in any discipline.
But Steven Schleider has achieved the impossible as the only commercial real estate appraiser with a LEED AP BC+D designation, a hard-earned credential that places him in the forefront of green valuation. If there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come, then the genesis of Steve’s decision to pursue a LEED AP began with such an idea, which was The Solaire, the first green residential building in the United States.
Steve’s introduction to the environmentally-advanced apartment tower was two-fold: he appraised the property twice. The second appraisal resulted in an epiphany when he realized he could breathe noticeably better and had a sense of ‘well-being’ due to the technologies used to enhance indoor air quality.
Thus, when The Solaire opened ten years ago, Steve foresaw the profound effect “going green” would have on the future of providing valuations for such real estate. Steve is president of Metropolitan Valuation Services, a leading real estate appraisal and consulting firm which serves a broad base of clients including investment firms, international and domestic pension funds, industrial corporations, foreign and domestic financial institutions, individual investors and law firms.
The majority of appraisals relating to the post-recession wave of the mid-1990s for major residential construction, development and re-adaptive use projects in the New York area were conducted by him. Additionally, many large-scale, multi-family complexes for FannieMae and FreddieMac loan portfolios were appraised by his team.
Steve’s assignments have included development strategies, valuation and/or feasibility studies for market-rate and subsidized rental facilities, nursing home, age-restricted and assisted-living residences, cooperative and condominium apartment buildings, development projects in various stages of approval and, valuation modeling/consulting for lower- and moderate-income housing. His experience with HUD-based programs includes section 8 facilities, MAP, and rent comparability surveys.
Recently, Metropolitan Valuation Services relocated to 44 East 32nd Street, doubling its space to 7,200 s/f. The new headquarters provides a full floor presence with windowed private offices, an open work area, conference room and lounge, break areas and features high-end technology platforms as well as energy efficient ‘smart’ lighting systems and real estate-centric artwork integrated into video displays.
“It’s a rebranding of our space and business as we move to the next level of growth,” said Steve.
As real estate investment stake holders and decision makers rely on appraisals to finance new construction or major renovations, one of the value-added propositions of working with Metropolitan Valuation Services is Steve’s expertise in green valuation, from site sustainability and water use efficiency, to energy usage, indoor air quality and design innovations. All impact property operations and, by extension, property value, one of the reasons why he has provided valuation services for many privately-owned green buildings within New York City.
The LEED AP course of study was among the more demanding in Steve’s professional career. “The material was familiar to professionals such as architects, designers and engineers, but for an appraiser, it was like learning a new language,” said Steve.
The credential has also, amusingly, made him a marketing strategy for a school with LEED AP courses which ran ads asking, “Do you want Steve Schleider to be New York City’s only LEED AP appraiser?” (The answer, so far, is yes.)
Given the social and legislative mandates towards green buildings, Steve believes it’s only a matter of time before lenders require due diligence underwriting to consider financing risks associated with non-green assets and that properly appraising properties will require a working knowledge of green technology and building systems.
“Valuing green real estate is a new and complex area of analysis at a level beyond what most appraisers currently possess,” said Steve. “But opportunities for study by appraisers at institutions are increasing.”
A proponent of ongoing education, Metropolitan Valuation Services serves as Education Sponsor of the Metropolitan New York Chapter of the Appraisal Institute of which Steve is an active member and past president.
He is also active in the New York Urban Green Council, holds the MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS), is a member of REBNY where he’s served on its Housing Committee and chaired the Appraisal Committee and has been three times reappointed by Mayor Bloomberg to the New York City Rent Guidelines Board.
Having segued into real estate appraisal from his first love, music, Steve continues to make good use of his degree from the Berklee College of Music, known as the world’s foremost institute for the study of jazz and modern American music, and can be found in clubs around town, playing bass in jazz and R+B/funk groups.