REBNY Announces 2017 Sales Brokers Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Award Winners

CBRE’s Mary Ann Tighe and Ken Meyerson team up with Cushman & Wakefield’s Jon Serko, take first prize for finding a new home for healthcare workers union and funds

2017 Sales Brokers Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Award Winners with the Judges and REBNY Leadership
L-R: Mary Ann Tighe, Woody Heller (Chair of REBNY's Sales Brokers Committee), Jon Serko, Ken Meyerson, Geoffrey Newman, Mark Weiss, John H. Banks, David Robinov (judge), Andrew Albstein (judge). (Not pictured: Greta Guggenheim - judge)

The New York City commercial brokerage community gathered on Tuesday at the Real Estate Board of New York’s (REBNY) Sales Brokers Committee’s 74th Annual Cocktail Party to celebrate the distinguished dealmakers who steered 2017’s top transactions and were honored with the Sales Brokers Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards.

Mary Ann Tighe and Ken Meyerson of CBRE, along with Jonathan Serko of Cushman & Wakefield, were presented with the first prize Henry Hart Rice Achievement Award for “A Union of Rivals: CBRE and C&W Find 1199 a Home” at 498 Seventh Avenue. This is Mary Ann Tighe’s eighth time winning a REBNY Sales Brokers Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Award and Ken Meyerson’s second.

Mark Weiss and Richard Bernstein of Cushman & Wakefield won the second prize Robert T. Lawrence Memorial Award for “Repurposing a New Building While Addressing Manhattan’s Dearth of Dormitory Space” at One West End Avenue, also known as 625 West 59th Street. This is the fourth REBNY Sales Brokers Most Ingenious Deal of the Year title awarded to Mark Weiss.

Geoffrey Newman of Newmark Knight Frank took home the third prize Edward S. Gordon Memorial Award for “Assembling An Icon – How One Broker’s Tenacity and Vision Made 45 East 22nd Street Possible” at 45 East 22nd Street.

“These highly complex commercial real estate deals required great vision, depth of market knowledge, and technical skill from each of the brokers to achieve ingenious solutions,” said John H. Banks, REBNY President. “We are proud to honor their exceptional accomplishments and recognize all of the submitting brokers’ outstanding work in navigating transactions that are important to our industry and our city.”

Sponsors for the Sales Brokers Committee’s 74th Annual Deal of the Year Cocktail Party were: Brookfield Properties, Cushman & Wakefield, Eastern Consolidated, GFP Real Estate, Jack Resnick & Sons, Newmark Knight Frank, Savills Studley, and Silverstein Properties.

> Read about the 12 other sale, lease, and finance transactions that were submitted for REBNY’s 74th annual competition.

Henry Hart Rice Achievement Award Winners
Mary Ann Tighe, Ken Meyerson, and Jon Serko

HENRY HART RICE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Taking the top honor of 2017, competing brokerage firms Cushman & Wakefield and CBRE, worked together to find the largest healthcare union in the nation a single home in New York City. Cushman & Wakefield’s Jonathan Serko (along with Richard Serko and Ed Donnery), and CBRE’s  Mary Ann Tighe and Ken Meyerson (along with Brendan Herlihy), expertly aligned the visions of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the 1199SEIU Benefit Fund for Health and Human Service Employees to consolidate their operations at 180,000 and 400,000-square-foot spaces, respectively, at George Comfort & Son’s 498 Seventh Avenue, formerly home to GroupM.

The extensive process of identifying and negotiating this solution for 1199’s two affiliated, but strictly independent groups, spanned 12 years with requirements to satisfy the needs of 400,000 union members, resolve an expiring lease at 330 West 42nd Street, and accommodate growth needs previously addressed by 1199 at their long-owned 310 West 43rd Street headquarters.

The “Union of Rivals: CBRE and C&W Find 1199 a Home” created an ingenious building within a building solution to bring the two 1199 entities entirely under one roof with exclusive lobbies, dedicated elevators, an escalator, auditorium, and cafeteria, in addition to the relocation of 1199’s tiled mosaic honoring Martin Luther King Jr. that is accompanied by the phrase, “If there is no struggle, there can be no progress,” by Frederick Douglass.

Robert T. Lawrence Memorial Award Winners with the Judges and REBNY Leadership
David Robinov, Woody Heller, Richard Bernstein, Norman Sturner, John H. Banks, and Andrew Albstein (not pictured: Greta Guggenheim)

ROBERT T. LAWRENCE MEMORIAL AWARD

The 2017 Robert T. Lawrence Memorial Award was presented to Mark Weiss and Richard Bernstein of Cushman & Wakefield for ingeniously repurposing a 67,000-square-foot commercial condominium spanning four floors at the base of 625 West 59th Street—a 43-story, luxury apartment building also known as One West End Avenue—to create a compelling value proposition for purchaser, Touro College.

The overhaul to re-invent the space into a dormitory for Touro’s Lander College for Women required careful study of the site’s zoning to allow for a change of use. It was initially designed for a community facility with office space for local nonprofits and medical practices. While the building was still in development by Silverstein Properties and the Elad Group, Weiss and Bernstein worked out a redesign to accommodate Touro’s needs for 180 single-occupancy rooms, each with its own bathroom, operable windows, two large kosher kitchens, and laundry on each floor.

The Cushman & Wakefield team capitalized on a value arbitrage with the sale and flexible leaseback of a well located Touro residential property on the Upper West Side.  This provided financial certainty and timing flexibility to execute the modifications necessary for the condominium purchase.

Edward S. Gordon Award Winner
Bruce Eichner of Continuum Companies, Geoffrey Newman, and John H. Banks

EDWARD S. GORDON MEMORIAL AWARD  

Geoffrey Newman of Newmark Knight Frank took home the third prize Edward S. Gordon Memorial Award for “Assembling An Icon – How One Broker’s Tenacity and Vision Made 45 East 22nd Street Possible” at 45 East 22nd Street.

What started in 2007 with an assignment to sell 64,000 square feet of air rights for the cooperative apartment building at 33-39 East 22nd Street, evolved into Newman’s ingenious assemblage of eight contiguous parcels’ worth of transfer development rights from adjacent properties, in addition to 62,000 square feet of inclusionary air rights from Arker Companies’ 50,000-square-foot low income housing development at 257 West 29th Street.

Newman’s vision, steadfast dedication, and professionalism in dealmaking resulted in the seemingly unattainable development of Continuum Companies’ Madison Square Park Tower, a 200,000-square-foot luxury residential building with 83 units at 45 East 22nd Street.