Hats off to New York's outstanding retail dealmakers

Steven Spinola

President, Real Estate Board of New York

Two outstanding deals that exhibit the exceptional creativity and professional skills of New York City’s finest in the industry were recently recognized during the Real Estate Board of New York Retail Committee’s 15th Annual Awards Cocktail Party.

More than 200 real estate professionals attended the much-anticipated event on June 11 at the 101 Club to see the presentation of the two coveted awards and celebrate the many outstanding deals made in the Manhattan retail market.

David LaPierre of CBRE won the Retail Deal of the Year Award for the most ingenious and creative retail deal that demonstrates exceptional broker acumen for “All Aboard the Express to Times Square: Express’ Journey to 1552/1560 Broadway.”

Jacqueline Klinger & Chase Welles of SCG Retail won the Retail Deal of the Year Award which is most significant in its overall characteristics and importance to the New York City retail market for “Whole Foods Harlem” at 100 West 125th Street.

These two coveted honors were awarded to brokers that showed their sophistication and creativity in getting these deals done. Both award winners have helped to reinvent the norm by thinking outside-the-box to overcome challenges while also helping two major retailers continue to grow in New York.

This year, 17 top-notch dealmakers submitted retail transactions for a chance at winning the coveted awards. Winners were recognized for deals that demonstrated the highest levels of ingenuity, creativity and professional skill. REBNY congratulates the winners as well as all the nominees for their remarkable deal making abilities.

Showing exceptional broker acumen to win his award, David facilitated a 30,000-square-foot, long-term lease for the new Express flagship store at 1552/1560 Broadway – one of the most significant Manhattan retail deals of 2012.

His submission describes the deal. Initially, the fashion retailer signed a letter of intent for a 23,000-square-foot space at 4 Times Square in November 2011 with the goal of opening the new flagship by 2013.

The only viable alternative was bigger and more costly than the 4 Times Square deal on the table. At a combined 30,000-square-foot space in 1552 and 1560 Broadway, located in the middle of the intersection of Broadway and Seventh avenues between West 42nd and West 47th streets (“the Bowtie”), the new site also features four 150-foot-tall LED displays.

Yet, David managed to bridge the multimillion-dollar difference between the two properties through a creative deal structure that included a pro forma valuation to rent out the LED displays, generating a new revenue stream for Express worth millions of dollars.

Additionally, the deal increased the store’s operating hours by three to four hours per day to take advantage of the increased foot traffic at the center of the Bowtie, potentially producing millions in extra sales.

The additional two income sources eliminated the difference between the two properties making the 1552/1560 Broadway net occupancy cost lower than that of the 4 Times Square location, giving Express an alternative option and a better deal.

The other coveted Retail Deal of the Year Award, presented to Jacqueline and Chase, recognizes the significance and importance in attracting Whole Foods to Harlem at 100 West 125th Street on the southwest corner of Lenox Avenue.

Whole Foods, following the success of its first stores in Manhattan, was seeking another site in Manhattan, according to the submission. To convince the grocer, which predominantly has locations in traditional suburban locations, to select this location, Jacqueline and Chase needed to strike a balance between adherence to their strict econometrics while also providing the vision and imagination to demonstrate that the location could be successful. 

After finding the prime location with large floor plates to meet the store’s needs and proving that Whole Foods could operate a profitable store in the area based on demographic makeup, Jacqueline and Chase secured a lease in May 2012 for the space with 12,000 square feet on the ground level and 27,000 square feet on the concourse level.

Whole Foods is expected to open in 2015. The deal will create jobs, draw more residents to neighboring retailers, encourage businesses to move in, and attract the attention of more national and local retailers to Harlem.

Manhattan’s retail market continues to be one of the healthiest sectors in New York real estate. We look forward to seeing what extraordinary deals REBNY brokers make for next year’s awards.