It would have been easy for Lou D’Avanzo and his Cushman & Wakefield leasing team to rest on their laurels.
While Condé Nast’s million-square-foot lease at 1 World Trade Center last year has become a dominant emblem of downtown’s resurgence as a popular destination for office tenants, the C&W group’s lease-up of 77 Water Street has also etched its way into recent lore in the neighborhood.
Mr. D’Avanzo and colleagues Robert Constable and Joseph Fabrizi, who are also top executives at C&W, have filled close to 600,000 square feet at the property in recent years, almost the entirety of the building, at times braving the recession’s darkest depths to do it. The string of deals has been so impressive that even brokers at rival firms have pointed to the activity as an early sign of momentum in an area that just a few years ago seemed haunted by the possibility of high vacancy.
A recent deal to fill the building’s 16,400-square-foot mezzanine level has shown that the team, despite all its success, hasn’t turned away from the property, a postmodern skyscraper built in the late 1960s by the family-owned Kaufman Organization.
“I’ve been telling my team, let’s wrap this up,” Mr. D’Avanzo said. “If you don’t follow through to the bitter end, all your client remembers is the bitter end.”
The C&W team inked the mezzanine-level deal with the Lactalis Group, a large French cheese making and dairy company that owns the popular cheese brands Sorrento and Président.
Mr. D’Avanzo said that several tenants had been interested in the space. The floor sits between the building’s ground level entrance and the second floor and is called the mezzanine due to its configuration; its perimeter, which encompasses 16,400 square feet, steps back from the 25,000-square-foot footprint of the floors higher above in the 26-story tower. Though smaller and close to the street, the space was attractive because of its above-average 14-foot ceiling heights. The floor, in fact, had sat vacant for as long as it did so that the team could have the option of offering it to larger tenants who wanted to add to existing space or use it as an entrance.
“There were options to potentially run an escalator up to the mezzanine level so we didn’t want to lease it until we were done with the rest of the building,” Mr. D’Avanzo said.