This week the real estate industry honored seven of the city’s most ingenious dealmakers for their ground-breaking transactions in 2014, at The Real Estate Board of New York’s (REBNY) 71st Annual Commercial Sales Brokers Committee Cocktail Party at Club 101.
The winners of 2014’s Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards:
- William Shanahan, Darcy Stacom and Paul Leibowitz of CBRE were presented with the first place Henry Hart Rice Award for “East Meets West—Brooklyn Mirrors Kowloon.”
- Howard Fiddle and Brad Gerla of CBRE were honored with the second place Robert T. Lawrence Award for “A ‘Two-State Solution’ to 11 Madison: Everyone Wins.”
- Ira Schuman and David Carlos of Savills Studley were presented with the third place Edward S. Gordon Award for “Divine Intervention or Deal: The Story of the Sale, Repurchase, Rebuilding and Temporary Home for Congregation Habonim.”
The Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards highlight the year’s most ingenious and creative sale, lease or finance deals, and recognize dealmakers that demonstrate the most ingenuity, creativity and professional skill.
“We are delighted to honor these leading brokers that have shown tremendous determination, dedication, and ingenuity in navigating such intricate transactions,” said Steven Spinola, REBNY President. “Their accomplishments are a true testament to the extensive research, persistence, and sheer willpower that go into achieving success at the highest level in our commercial real estate brokerage industry.”
Woody Heller, of Savills Studley and chair of REBNY’s Sales Brokers Committee, presented the awards. The judges for REBNY’s 2014 Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards were: David Lebenstein of DTZ; Peter Hauspurg of Eastern Consolidated; Steve Alden of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; Andrew Albstein, Esq. of Goldberg Weprin & Ustin, LLP; John Gunther-Mohr of Santander; and Kevin Chisholm of 60 Guilders, LLC.
William Shanahan, Darcy Stacom and Paul Leibowitz of CBRE were awarded first place for arranging an ingenious partnership with Shanghai-based Greenland Holdings, which signed on as a 70 percent joint venture equity partner for Forest City Ratner’s Pacific Park project in Downtown Brooklyn, the largest urban residential infill development in the United States. The brokerage team overcame exceedingly complex structuring issues as well as cultural and language barriers to orchestrate the partnership. With no word for “joint venture” in Mandarin, Shanahan, Stacom and Leibowitz developed a brilliant alternative corporate deal structure with divisions, committees and a board of directors. Downtown Brooklyn, meanwhile, was best described through a comparison to Kowloon, a similar Hong Kong suburb. Other obstacles included a record-low investment yield for Brooklyn, land pricing at double the amount for recent comps and an impossibly tight timeframe. The team obtained a six-month extension for the closing so they could secure the development and more than six million square feet of air rights.
William Shanahan is now a four-time recipient of a Sales Brokers Ingenious Deal of the Year Award, while this is the third award for Darcy Stacom and first for Paul Leibowitz.
Taking second place were Howard Fiddle and Brad Gerla of CBRE, who extended and restructured a 1.77 million-square-foot lease with anchor tenant Credit Suisse at The Sapir Organization and CIM Group’s 11 Madison Avenue. Simultaneously, the team arranged a 550,000-square-foot lease with Sony Corporation of America by securing a building-within-a-building setup for the tenant with a new, dedicated entrance at the same property, but under a new address, 25 Madison Avenue. The leases, which unlocked tremendous value for ownership, were followed by subsequent tenant wins with William Morris Endeavor and Yelp, leaving just one floor vacant. The Credit Suisse and Sony commitments would also prove to be the largest and third-largest transactions of 2014.
This is Howard Fiddle’s third Sales Brokers Ingenious Deal of the Year Award and the first for Brad Gerla.
The third place winners, Ira Schuman and David Carlos of Savills Studley, Inc., assembled six mutually dependent transactions with seven counter parties to create a new temple for Congregation Habonim and its leading nursery school. The brokers orchestrated the remarkable sale of Habonim’s site at 44 West 66th Street and the adjacent Disney-controlled site to Extell Development, while buying back the condominium at its base. Schuman and Carlos also located the perfect temporary space for Habonim at 101 West End Avenue in a former Ethan Allen store. After all of the real estate fees and construction costs are paid, the congregation will receive an endowment of over $15 million.
This is Ira Schuman’s second Sales Brokers Ingenious Deal of the Year Award and the first for David Carlos.