Forty Under Forty

Peter Slatin - Crain's New York Business

In 1995, MITCH RUTTER bought two Manhattan apartment buildings, led the acquisition of 1500 Broadway and started a 10-acre mixed-used complex in the center of downtown Rockville, Md.

He was also given a seat on the board of the Times Square business improvement district and appointed the City Council’s representative to the Business Relocation Assistance Corporate.

That’s not bad for the Bronx-born son of a window washer.

Mr. Rutter has been on a fast track all his life. He graduated from high school at 16, then finished New York University Law School at 22. He joined Simpson Thacher & Bartlett to practice real estate law.

But law spurred Mr. Rutter to jump into development himself. “As a lawyer, you’re insulated from the business decisions. I found that enormously frustrating,” he says.

He took the job as executive president at Solow Development Corporate. so that he could learn to be a “meat-and-potatoes developer.” Then, in 1990, Mr. Rutter of formed Essex Capital and began buying distressed housing and retail properties in Connecticut and Westchester County. All the properties needed further investment before they could be sold, and Mr. Rutter acted as his own construction manager.

Last year, he leaped into the big time with the $55 million purchase of 1500 Broadway, a joint venture with foreign investors on a troubled 475,000-square-foot Times Square office property.

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