Got Any Change? At REBNY Retail Awards, Brokers Put Up Brave Front

REBNY’s award for the most creative retail deal from a broker’s standpoint went to Mr. Downey and Gene Spiegelmen of Cushman & Wakefield for their replacement of Gucci’s former flagship with Diesel. Streams of women came to kiss Mr. Downey on the cheek after the award was announced, and many men shook his and Mr. Spiegelman’s hand.

Recognition for the retail deal with the greatest impact on Manhattan was awarded to Harry F. Blair and Clifford F. Molloy of FirstService Williams Real Estate for their lease for Zara’s new flagship store on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

“It really signals that retail can be successful on the Lower Fifth,” said broker Sean Kearns, who helped push forward the deal. Robin Abrams, who works for Lansco, predicted that the space between 42nd and 49th Streets will now fill in with retailers—overcoming retailers’ typical avoidance of space below 49th Street—thanks to Zara’s new presence.

“I’m stunned,” Mr. Molloy said about the award.

But before the awards were announced, he admitted that this year has not been as fruitful. “I’m sure other people are more successful than I am, but I do not have anything worthy to be nominated next year,” he said.

In spite of the recession, libations were pouring freely at the cocktail party, and many brokers were enjoying themselves.

“I had three glasses of wine, so I don’t want to talk about the market right now. But I can tell you about my outlook about you, not the market,” said one real estate broker as he handed The Observer his business card. “Do you want me to do that?”