Celebrating the Best of New York City Real Estate

Last week, we held our 121st Annual Banquet at the New York Hilton Midtown, sponsored by FTI Consulting and Xceligent. We were proud to welcome more than 2,200 guests to the real estate industry’s biggest night of networking and pleased to see so many leaders of real estate, business and public service gather to celebrate another year of growth in our industry and across our city.

Our honorees at this year’s event were a truly star-studded lineup and their accomplishments speak volumes about how much we can each achieve for the betterment of New York City.

Carl Weisbrod, the outgoing chair of the New York City Planning Commission and director of the New York City Department of City Planning, received the first-ever John E. Zuccotti Public Service Award for his many years spent enriching the lives of millions of New Yorkers. MaryAnne Gilmartin of Forest City Ratner took home the Bernard H. Mendik Lifetime Leadership in Real Estate Award for building a remarkable career that has redefined what is possible in our industry. And Marc Holliday received the Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award for combining industry excellence with an indomitable spirit of giving back to our community.

I have mentioned those three honorees in previous columns over the past two months, but last week’s banquet also honored four equally outstanding members of our industry.

Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management Co. was presented with REBNY’s Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award for going above and beyond as both a community-minded developer and a leading philanthropist. Under the leadership of the Walentas family, Two Trees employs an in-house civics team to coordinate much-needed philanthropic efforts with the firm’s vision and address the needs of neighborhoods across the city.

Peter Riguardi of Jones Lang LaSalle received the Louis Smadbeck Broker Recognition Award for his originality and sharpness as a manager and dealmaker across the tristate area. Peter has left an indelible mark on JLL since joining the company 15 years ago and his list of top transactions are among the most complex deals across our industry.

Former REBNY Chairman, Larry Silverstein was on hand to deliver a memorable and heartfelt presentation to Bill Dacunto of Silverstein Properties. Dacunto won the George M. Brooker Management Executive Award for his unmatched reputation for professionalism spanning three decades on the Silverstein team. Bill is a previous winner of REBNY’s Corporate Management Executive of the Year Award and also serves as a member of REBNY’s Management Board of Directors.

Last but certainly not least, REBNY once again celebrated an emerging star of our industry. This year, the Young Real Estate Professional of the Year Award went to Lindsay Ornstein of Transwestern, whose intelligence and poise reminds us all that the next generation of New York City real estate will be in good hands.

The evening was filled with fast-paced networking and deal-making, but most of all this year’s banquet was special – as they all are – because it was a time to enjoy pure friendship and camaraderie. It was a reminder to me of how fortunate I am to be in this position and work with incredible colleagues who do such important work for our great city.

I am grateful to everyone who attended REBNY’s banquet, our sponsors FTI Consulting and Xceligent, and it is my sincere hope that all attendees enjoyed the evening as much as I did.