Paying tribute to New York's top commercial dealmakers

Steven Spinola

President, Real Estate Board of New York

The Real Estate Board of New York recently bestowed top honors to commercial real estate’s leading dealmakers and the most promising salesperson of the year.  This is the time of year that REBNY recognizes the outstanding work and superior achievements of our talented brokers and their completed transactions.  We commend all the winners and nominees.  

The highly coveted Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards was presented to seven of the industry’s top dealmakers on April 23 at the Commercial Sales Brokers Committees’ 69th annual cocktail reception at the 101 Club. This year, 37 deals were submitted for the most ingenious sale, lease, and finance transactions of the last year. The winning transactions were selected based on submissions that demonstrated the highest levels of ingenuity, creativity and professional skill.

Every one of these deals was clever and creative, and each stands as an exemplar of some of our members’ extraordinary work.  The year’s top prize went to a truly significant deal that will help a major financial institution keep thousands of jobs in New York City.

The first place Henry Hart Rice Award, was presented to Barry M. Gosin, Brian S. Waterman and Romel Canete from Newmark Grubb Knight Frank for the Morgan Stanley lease at One New York Plaza. This transaction represented two years of analysis, strategy, and negotiations with various parties. The team was instrumental in Morgan Stanley’s decision to return 2,300 financial services back-office jobs to New York City, underscoring that Manhattan was not just a business location for the firm’s front-office operations.

The winners of our second and third-place prizes devised innovative solutions in the face of unique circumstances, including one that closed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Their hard work enabled successful transactions to be completed for two major residential properties.

For second place, the Robert T. Lawrence Award was presented to Helen Hwang and Nat Rockett from Cushman & Wakefield for the sale of 88 Leonard Street, a newly constructed building developed by Africa Israel (AFI) in Tribeca. While managing diverging interests of several stakeholders, the team fought through the adversity to create numerous solutions that helped AFI achieve its goals, including an imaginative transaction structure that satisfied the disparate economic interests of the participants.

Scott A. Singer and Jeffrey C. Moroch from The Singer & Bassuk Organization won the third place Edward S. Gordon Award for the refinancing of 50 Oceana Drive West in Brighton Beach, part of the successful Oceana residential development complex owned by Muss Development. Condo construction financing was close to impossible to secure for this transaction. The deal could have been derailed by the aftermath of Super Sandy as well as a technical problem with the HOA agreement, but Singer and Moroch’s ingenious tactics allowed the transaction to close.

On April 25th, REBNY recognized Stephen Winter, Tenant Representation Specialist at CBRE, by presenting him the coveted, Most Promising Commercial Salesperson of the Year Award during our Members’ Luncheon at the Hilton New York.

Winter is well-known by all at CBRE as the “go-to source” for market information and he has completed approximately 800,000 square-feet of transactions.  Since 2010, Winter has demonstrated a level of ambition and tenacity that propelled him from rookie status to working on the teams that handle some of New York’s most prestigious companies.

He is the sixteenth award winner to be inducted into REBNY’s esteemed “Circle of Winners” group since the creation of the award in 1996. As part of the award, he received a one-year seat on the REBNY Board of Governors.

The Most Promising Commercial Salesperson of the Year Award was created by the REBNY Commercial Brokerage Division directors to recognize current and potential professional achievement, as well as high moral character and ethical professional behavior. The other finalists for the award were Peter Alden of Cushman & Wakefield and Robert Khodadadian of Eastern Consolidated.

In other REBNY News:

Insight into lease negotiation is being offered by REBNY’s Commercial Brokerage Division Seminar Committee during “Lease Negotiation Seminar” from 8 to 10 am on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 in the Mendik Education Center at REBNY, 570 Lexington Ave. The panelists are Steven M. Durels, EVP Director of Leasing & Real Property, SL Green Realty Corp.; Jonathan L. Mechanic, Esq., Chairman, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP; Craig L. Reicher, Vice Chairman, Tri-State Region, CBRE, Inc.; and Wallace L. Schwartz, Esq., Partner, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, LLP. The panel moderator is Michael R. Laginestra, Vice Chairman, CBRE Inc. REBNY members pay $10 and non-members are $15. Register online at

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be the keynote speaker at REBNY’s 10th annual Commercial Management Leadership Breakfast on Thursday, May 30th from 7:30 to 10 am at the Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of the Americas.  Each year, commercial building owners and professionals recognize the achievements of the industry and unmatched individuals. Edward V. Piccinich of SL Green Realty Corp. will receive the Edward A. Riguardi Commercial Manager of the Year Award.  We will also present nine other awards at the breakfast, including the: John M. Griffin Community Service Award; Outstanding On-Site Manager Award; Outstanding Portfolio Manager Award; Small Buildings Engineer of the Year; Large Buildings Engineer of the Year; Security Professional of the Year; Porter of the Year; Rising Star of the Year and a New Category – Best Engine Room. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Please register online at For more information, contact Cindy Ramotar at