The Trophy Polisher

In total, Mr. Farley estimates that in 2009, he has completed 400,000 square feet in transactions valued at $200 million. The Upper West Side resident pointed to a deal he inked in October with the Simons Foundation to occupy 60,000 feet on four floors of newly renovated 160 Fifth Avenue, a nine-story gem that underwent a soup-to-nuts structural rehab earlier this year. Another lease that’s expected to be finalized at the 120,000-square-foot building later this month will leave only a small amount of space on the market, said Mr. Farley last week.

Additionally, Mr. Farley has executed 12 transactions totaling more than 50,000 square feet at the Lower Manhattan building 17 State Street, the Emery Roth & Sons–designed tower notable for its curved facade.

“I’ve always loved the buildings in New York,” said Mr. Farley, a board member at the nonprofit Landmark’s Preservation Foundation, of 17 State Street and other the iconic buildings throughout Manhattan. “I’ve always loved the city and its energy, and so I thought combining my love of architecture with my sales background would be a good choice for me, and it really has been.”


MR. FARLEY PARLAYED HIS job as a tenant representative into a new position at Madison Newmark before joining SL Green as a leasing agent in 1983. By the time he accepted an in-house job with the mega-landlord in 1989, he was well on his way to becoming a trusted owner’s rep for towers across the city.

It was at SL Green, in fact, that Mr. Farley brokered a deal in 1992 that eventually placed Cornell University into a converted manufacturing building on East 34th Street. The complicated renovations at the 70,000-square-foot building included adding elevators and overhauling the space to accommodate the needs of students and faculty. Mr. Farley told The Commercial Observer that the deal ranks atop his proudest achievements.

“There were a lot of changes there,” recalled Mr. Farley of the Cornell deal. “That was a particularly challenging project because rather than putting in an interior staircase, we gave them their own elevator. There were various changes in the use and certificate of occupancy. That was one of the more memorable experiences.”

Of Salander O’Reilly, the art gallery that RFR filed a lawsuit against after its proprietor, Lawrence Salander, failed to pay rent, Mr. Farley has little to share about the ordeal. But one good thing did come out of the doomed relationship. Through Mr. Salander, the agent was introduced to yet another New York City landmark nearly as beloved as the Lever House: Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro.

The broker and the actor met, said Mr. Farley, at an art exhibit for Mr. De Niro’s father, a renowned Abstract Expressionist painter. A friendship formed and the commercial broker was briefly tapped by Mr. De Niro to scout out a Manhattan townhouse. Despite little experience as a residential broker, Mr. Farley obliged.

“When Robert De Niro is looking for a townhouse, you accept his assignment,” said Mr. Farley, before breaking out a surprisingly good impression of the sneering Goodfella.

“So that came out of the Salander relationship, which was great,” continued Mr. Farley, laughing, before pausing for a moment. “But, in general, things have been good—and that’s not just because of the suits.”

The Trophy Polisher