The Most ‘ingenious’ Real Estate Deals In New York City

The winners are in.

The awards for the Real Estate Board of New York’s most ingenious deals of 2018 were revealed. The first place Henry Hart Rice Achievement Award was won by Gregg Rothkin and Gerry Miovski of CBRE, who represented Sabey Data Centers in a lease at 375 Pearl St. to architect Rafael Viñoly.

Jeffrey Rosenblatt of the Kaufman Organization won the second place Robert T. Lawrence Memorial Award for his search that brought Open Jar Studios to 1601 Broadway.

The third prize Edward S. Gordon Memorial Award was brought home by Alan Desino of Colliers International who represented Evercore in a consolidation of its office space at Park Avenue Plaza.

The winners were chosen by REBNY’s Sales Brokers Committee and given out at the 101 Club.

A jewel on Pearl Street

  • Sabey Data Centers brought Rafael Viñoly to FiDi
Gerry Miovski and Gregg Rothkin. >
Gerry Miovski and Gregg Rothkin.CBRE

375 Pearl St. used to stand out primarily due to its iconic Verizon sign. Verizon consolidated onto three floors and in 2007 sold the remainder of the building to Sabey Data Centers. They turned more floors into a secure computer facility. “We immediately recognized [renting the non-data floors to the city] was the best purpose for the building,” recalls Gregg Rothkin of CBRE. (He and Gerry Miovski are the leasing agents.)

Sabey first agreed to install windows on the top six floors and later extended it to 14; created a more inviting lobby and redesigned a plaza. As the building filled up with agencies — among them the NYPD and the departments of finance and sanitation — Miovski heard that Rafael Viñoly was being bumped from his office of 28 years. “I realized the top floor, which has extraordinary high ceilings, could be a terrific fit,” recalls Miovski.

To create the terrace and mezzanine Viñoly wanted, Rothkin’s background as a lawyer and Miovski’s as an architect proved essential. The result paid off. “This was always considered one of the ugliest buildings,” says Rothkin, “and now it is one of the prettiest.”

Performance art

  • Open Jar Studios creates rehearsal space on Broadway
1601 Broadway>
The Kaufman Organization’s Jeffrey Rosenblatt found Open Jar Studios a massive rehearsal space with 24-foot-high ceilings ideal for Broadway shows at 1601 Broadway in Times Square.Brian Zak/NY Post

The Great White Way has an overcrowding problem.

It’s tough for even the most hyped productions to find room to rehearse. That’s why Jeff Whiting, artistic director of actor training company Open Jar Institute, teamed up with Broadway insiders to create Open Jar Studios. It was to be a state-of-the-art rehearsal space — but the challenge was finding room in Midtown.

Jeffrey Rosenblatt>
Jeffrey RosenblattKaufman Organization

The two-year search was led by Jeffrey Rosenblatt, now part of the Kaufman Organization. Not only was Whiting’s budget modest, but rehearsal studios come with must-haves: Columns aren’t ideal; floors must be sprung for dancing; and soundproofing is essential. Initially touring Vornado’s 1601 Broadway, Rosenblatt saw potential in the 25,000-square-foot, column-free floors. Vornado’s chairman, Steve Roth, is no stranger to the theater industry: His wife and son are both Tony Award-winning producers.

With more backers and a larger budget, Rosenblatt approached 1601 Broadway again and negotiated a deal in the mid-$50s per square foot, with Vornado agreeing to structural upgrades that included removing part of a floor to make higher ceilings. The 51,436-square-foot facility now occupies the entire 11th and 12th floors and has become the largest in the city for rehearsals, auditions and support offices targeted at large-scale Broadway productions. Soon, Moulin Rouge dancers will be kicking up their heels preparing for its Broadway run.

“He had a dream but it was impossible to find,” says Rosenblatt of Whiting’s vision. “And now it’s in the middle of the theater district. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Even more space

  • Colliers’ Alan Desino helps Evercore expand at Park Avenue Plaza
Park Avenue Plaza>
Park Avenue Plaza’s lobby and public space.Greg Morris

Financial firm Evercore was rapidly growing — and outgrowing its footprint at 55 E. 52nd St., a k a Park Avenue Plaza.

Alan Desino>
Alan DesinoJP Guaqueta/Colliers International

Already occupying 130,000 square feet of the 1.1 million-square-foot tower owned by Fisher Brothers, Evercore had already expanded into 666 Fifth Ave. — a building slowly being emptied with visions of a larger tower in its place. But vacancies cropped up in Park Avenue Plaza as tenants inked deals in other neighborhoods.

BlackRock will leave 240,000 square feet across eight floors to move to Hudson Yards. McKinsey & Company left behind 10 floors and about 300,000 square feet to move to 3 World Trade Center.

Swiss Re moved to 1301 Ave. of the Americas, leaving behind 90,000 square feet. Evercore’s broker, Alan Desino of Colliers International, saw opportunity.

The company was able to add 153,927 square feet to occupy a total of 339,153 square feet on the 20th, 21st, 23rd, 35th through 38th and 42nd through 44th floors. In 2023, the financial giant will also move onto the 34th floor, and has additional expansion rights.

Source : https://nypost.com/2019/04/16/the-stories-behind-the-best-real-estate-deals-of-2018/

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