Commercial real estate brokers may have their flaws—including a certain, shall we say, willingness to behave like extras in Lord of the Flies—but it’s hard to deny that the best have a special sort of street smarts.
Every year, around this time, in a closely watched nomination process, the Real Estate Board of New York selects the most inventive of the bunch and awards them a Most Ingenious Deal of the Year award, or, put more succinctly, the Ingenies. This year, 15 deals were nominated. Only three won.
At a cocktail party on Tuesday night at the 101 Club, REBNY gave the most coveted first-place honors to Cushman & Wakefield’s Paul N. Glickman and Mitchell L. Konsker, who, in a rather extraordinary feat, managed first to convince the Hakimian Organization to stop its residential conversion of 636 11th Avenue and to redevelop it as commercial space; then, in an arguably even bigger coup, the duo lured advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather from the far more convenient Worldwide Plaza into a 560,000-square-foot lease in the hinterlands of the far West Side.
CB Richard Ellis’ Darcy Stacom and William Shanahan came in second—an unusual spot for a team accustomed to preeminence—for the sale of the portfolio of buildings once belonging to Harry Macklowe, and ultimately turned over to lender Deutsche Bank, including the GM Building at 767 Fifth Avenue, 540 Madison Avenue, 125 West 55th Street and 2 Grand Central Tower.
The third-place finish was awarded to Ackman-Ziff’s Shawn Rosenthal for the financing of 650 Madison Avenue in credit markets that, like Lake Erie in winter, had gradually frozen over.
REBNY’s president, Steven Spinola, took note of the unusually harsh climate in a statement: “Navigating the complexity of the real estate market in New York City is difficult, especially in uncertain times, but as these complicated deals demonstrate, when an experienced REBNY broker is involved, obstacles can be overcome.”