Each spring, commercial real estate pros vie for the Real Estate Board of New York’s most prestigious awards for deals completed during the prior year.

The deals described here have been nominated for the 71st Annual Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards. The winners will be announced at the REBNY Sales Brokers Committee event at the 101 Club on the evening of April 28.

“The Ingenious Deals of the Year are REBNY’s most coveted and celebrated prizes, as they allow us to recognize the talent and skill among our fellow members of the industry,” says REBNY President Steven Spinola.

Due to confidentiality, most brokers declined to be interviewed so information on the nominated deals was compiled from public records and other sources.

Better late than never

■ 252 E. 57th St. is a financing odyssey

Kathleen McSharry.Steve Freidman

A 62-story luxury mixed-use tower is now under development at 252 E. 57th St. on the southwest corner of Second Avenue.

A Whole Foods is already open on E. 57th St. as well as two schools with entrances on E. 56th Street.

Towering 252 E. 57th St. is rising.World Wide Group

But it took over eight years to get the deal, the financing and an equity partner to make it all happen.

When World Wide Group won the site from the city, it included the creation of both a new PS 59 and High School of Art and Design.

But the schools needed to remain in operation during construction so World Wide also had to find a replacement school site, finance that and build it.

The Singer & Bassuk Organization brokers Kathleen McSharry, Andrew J. Singer and Scott A. Singer convinced the lenders to supply 100 percent financing.

The tower financing was complicated.

While the two schools would be financed by municipal bonds, the Whole Foods would be developed almost simultaneously, and the two construction projects would be intertwined.

After the brokers introduced Rose Associates to World Wide, Rose became a co-developer. But by this point in 2012, lenders would not fund more than $100 million, so several banks were lined up to provide around $500 million or about half the total project cost.

They needed unanimity among the banks, the owners, the city, as well as the project’s investment partner the brokers also brought in, JPMorgan Chase.

Since the lenders could not agree on development details, the project languished.

While working with Starwood on another project, the brokers learned the company was interested in making a big city splash with a large loan.

Starwood agreed to close the entire loan and with one voice the project was able to proceed.

The 93 condo units begin on the 36th floor of the curved glass tower designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Daniel Romualdez; it’s expected to be completed in 2016.

Group effort

■ Ad firm’s deal at 3 World Trade Center

The retail at 3 World Trade Center will be topped by GroupM offices.Handout

The advertising tech firm GroupM had been created in 2003 to become the parent of WPP’s media buying companies. CBRE’s Tristate CEO Mary Ann Tighe and Gregory Tosko, now a vice chairman, were hired to find the company a long-term solution.

The proposed 3 World Trade Center had particular efficiencies for GroupM over other proposed office towers. The Richard Rogers’ design included base trading floors with the spans and infrastructure to house higher densities, while higher floors of varying sizes could accommodate different groups and functions.

Mary Ann Tighe.Handout

But construction on the 2.8 million-square-foot tower had been halted by developer Larry Silverstein over funding, while Superstorm Sandy and Bridgegate intervened, too.

A term sheet was finally signed in July 2013 and a lease followed in Dec. 2013 that created a 20-year deal for 515,000 square feet on nine floors. But to finish the tower, Silverstein needed the largest bond financing in history that had to be approved by the landowner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The brokers testified before the Port’s real estate subcommittee about the market’s ability to absorb the new inventory, GroupM’s importance to the site, and the alignment of its needs with the building’s unique characteristics.

The brokers also spoke at the investor “roadshow” for investment bankers; leading to the Oct. 28 pricing of $1.65 billion in bonds that were 100 percent subscribed and funded on Nov. 20, 2014, making the GroupM lease official.

Keeping it classy

■ Metropolitan College of New York enrolls at 40 Rector

MCNY will spend $71M to move to 40 Rector.Tamara Beckwith/NY Post

A JLL team lead by Robert Martin and Kenneth Siegel were hired by Metropolitan College of New York to find a new facility it could purchase for long-term certainty.

Its current Manhattan campus at 431 Canal St. was rented with a lease expiring in 2020. The non-profit needed both great transportation for its students and a space that could qualify for tax exemptions and financing.

Martin RobertHandout

In public filings, the college revealed it would spend $71 million for the purchase and renovations at 40 Rector St. and was approved for $68 million in tax-exempt bonds through the Build NYC Resource Corporation program of the Empire State Development Corporation.

In December, MCNY bought its new campus covering 110,212 square feet at 40 Rector St. where it will relocate in 2016 to the sixth through eighth floors.

The historic main entrance will be reopened for the school, which will also have a lobby and other first-floor space along West Street.

Along with Martin and Siegel, the full team included Janet Woods (who is no longer with JLL), Dan Santagata and Christine Tong.

East meets west

■ Brooklyn project mirrors Kowloon

In Downtown Brooklyn, Greenland USA is cashing in on the new Pacific Park.Handout

In 2013, Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) hired the CBRE team of Paul Leibowitz, William Shanahan and Darcy Stacom to bring in a long-term, 70 percent joint venture equity partner for 15 buildings — comprising offices, hotels, restaurants, retail and residential — in Downtown Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards mega-project.

The brokers targeted local and global investors including the Shanghai-based Greenland Group Co.’s Greenland USA investment arm, which then aggressively pursued the deal.

Darcy Stacom.Handout

Greenland’s top US executive and later its head of global development visited and approved. But Zhang Yuliang, Greenland’s chairman and president, would not sign the “Memorandum of Understanding” without meeting then Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The CBRE team arranged a City Hall meeting in 2014 and the MOU was signed.

Although the Chinese know Manhattan, to explain the borough of Brooklyn, the CBRE brokers discovered that Kowloon, where Greenland had other investments, was quite similar. With no word for “joint venture” in Mandarin, the brokers also had to devise an alternate, corporate-like deal structure with a board of directors.

The team obtained a six-month extension for the closing so they could secure the development and over 6 million square feet of air rights. The investors signed and announced a definitive investment agreement in December 2013.

With the new city administration in place along with all other government approvals, the deal closed at the final deadline on June 30, 2014 and the project name was changed to Pacific Park.

Alms most famous

■ The sale of the United Charities Building on Park Ave. South

The Union Charities building at 287 Park Ave. South sold for $128 million. Lorenzo Ciniglio/Freelance

The three charities that owned the 1892-era United Charities Building at 287 Park Ave. South hired Newmark Grubb Knight Frank to sell it. The brokerage team — led by Geoffrey Newman and Mark Weiss, and included Jennifer Schwartzman, David Noonan and Jimmy Kuhn — discovered the building spanned two zoning districts, and at 109,973 square feet, was overbuilt under current zoning.

They calculated that if 4,028 square feet was removed from one zone, it would become compliant, but also enable 26,868 square feet to be added to the other zone. The net gain of 22,840 square feet would add significant income to any future project, as would 10,000 square feet of retail that could be installed at the street level.

The top bidder was a large Chinese group. The brokers still had to ensure they would have the funds in dollars in New York City on the date and time they agreed they would close. For comfort, the buyers made a major down payment that the charities would retain if the closing did not occur. This would also ensure the Community Service Society could buy an office condominium the brokers located at 633 Third Ave.

The New York City Mission Society owned a property in Harlem they would backfill and the Children’s Aid Society leased another floor in Harlem where they already had offices.

The $128 million sale closed on schedule enabling the charities to move with extra dollars for their endowments.

Through the looking glass

■ Representing a landlord as tenant

Gordon S. Ogden.Handout

When the real estate investment company Savanna needed to lease offices for itself, it could not simply grab an office in any of its own buildings. This is because each building is owned by a combination of different funds and investment groups.

In a no-win situation, and to ensure they got the best arm’s length transaction, Savanna hired Gordon S. Ogden and Joseph Thanhauser, III, of Byrnam Wood, to find them the perfect spot and negotiate the deal.

In the end, Savanna signed a lease at 430 Park Ave. that provides them with the ability to occupy the entire 12th floor of 17,000 square feet through 2024. Savanna’s Christopher Schlank noted at an Urban Land Institute conference that at $70 per foot, his deal was cheaper on Park Ave. than the $72 per foot Twitter paid at the building Savanna redeveloped on W. 17th St.

Doing the math

■ Burgeoning tech company moving to 4 World Trade Center

Michael Rizzo and Harly Stevens.Handouts

The fast-growing technology company MediaMath was outpacing its original forecasts. Harly Stevens and Michael Rizzo of CBRE had been hired several years ago when they first moved the firm from Madison Ave. to larger digs at 1440 Broadway. As other spaces were being leased as “Band-Aids,” it was decided MediaMath needed a world class headquarters of 100,000 square feet.

Discussions were held with several properties. The initially favored Midtown South had higher rents in smaller buildings, so the brokers worried the company could become landlocked with nowhere to expand.

Designed by Fumihiko Maki, 4 World Trade welcomes MediaMath.Lois Weiss

They also found value plays in the larger, more modern Class A buildings that had attractive rental terms and room to grow.

The World Trade Center provided options for a brand-new Class A building at a substantial discount due to as-of-right benefits.

With no columns, the company could have the desired open layouts and enjoy efficient new systems, fast elevators and superfast wiring.

Designed by Fumihiko Maki, 4 World Trade Center added up as the right building that could meet the company’s long-term needs. Developer Silverstein Properties also recognized the importance of MediaMath, as well as its image and the brand as the company begins its global rollout.

MediaMath signed a lease for 106,000 square feet on part of the 44th floor, plus the entire 45th and 46th floors where they will move later this summer.

Saks to be you

■ Hudson’s Bay Co. commits to major downtown consolidation

Laura Pomerantz.Helayne Seidman

Hudson’s Bay Co. is the owner of Saks Dept. Store and other retail brands including Lord & Taylor. Spread out in Midtown in 550,000 square feet, it hired the CBRE team of Lauren Crowley Corrinet, Michael Geoghegan and Stephen Siegel of CBRE to figure out a consolidation and new location.

Harlem and Midtown were considered. Richard Baker, Hudson’s Bay CEO, finally took a “road trip” downtown and was convinced. Its offices could make a significant statement and there was a spot at Brookfield Place to open a major store.

The 20-year deal with Brookfield was hammered out for 233,000 feet at 225 Liberty and 166,000 feet at 250 Vesey for its offices.

The team worked with Hudson’s Bay’s retail consultant, Laura Pomerantz, now with Cushman & Wakefield, on an 85,000 foot Saks Fifth Avenue at 225 Liberty and a Saks OFF 5TH at Brookfield’s nearby 1 Liberty.

Major surgery for Mt. Sinai

■ CBRE’s Scott Gottlieb teams with C&W to handle hospital lease

Josh Kuriloff and Scott Gottlieb.Handouts

Hiro Real Estate purchased the ground lease for 150 E. 42nd St. in 1987 and in Nov. 1995, hired Scott Gottlieb and CBRE’s predecessor as the agent for the 1.7 million-square-foot tower. The ground lease with the Goelet family was also extended.

Fast forward to when the Cushman & Wakefield team, led by Josh Kuriloff, Michael Rotchford and Jonathan R. Serko, were hired by Mt. Sinai Medical Center to study the consolidation of administrative functions that was later expanded to include its merger partner, Continuum Health Partners.

The C&W team concluded one location would be best and targeted 150 E. 42nd St. for its large, 100,000 foot collaborative-friendly floors and transportation connectivity. The C&W team approached Gottlieb about these base floors. Recognizing the benefit of a lease with Mt. Sinai, Gottlieb and the owners worked out a termination with Pfizer.

For tax reasons, Mt. Sinai needed a 30-year “synthetic condominium,” so ownership and Goelet extended the ground lease for 99 years to the end of 2113.

In the spring 2014, ownership sold this now valuable longer ground lease for $900 million. The buyers retained Gottlieb and CBRE as leasing agent and jumped into the complex negotiations to complete the Mt. Sinai transaction.

Along with major deal points there were nitty-gritty items like signage and two elevator banks which were reengineered to stop on all floors. Lenders also needed to sign off on the never-done-before synthetic condominium on a ground lease.

Ultimately, the C&W team, Gottlieb and CBRE completed a lease with Mt. Sinai for 448,819 square feet on the second through fifth floors, which will have a landscaped roof deck, plus the ninth and 10th floors.

Surely temple

■ How Congregation Habonim found a home

Congregation Habonim will have new space built on the UWS. NY Post Brian Zak

Ira Schuman and David Carlos of Savills Studley navigated a multi-part deal adventure with a 300-member temple, a slew of developers and even a trip to California to confer with the neighbor, Disney, which owned most of their block.

Hired in July 2012, the goal was to have their financially prudent client, Congregation Habonim, double in size. One option was to stay and rebuild at their own 11,000-square-foot 44 W. 66th St., which was plagued with repair issues, or find another permanent home and/or a temporary location.

Either way, the brokers needed a place for services and the nursery school while the temple was undergoing repairs.

After wandering around the Upper West Side deal desert, spinning a dreidel through 29 offers, and going through serious negotiations with four, the brokers obtained a commandment from the congregation to sell and found it a temporary spot nearby. It will later own 27,000 feet for its new synagogue and nursery school in the base of a new luxury tower on its former site.

Developer Megalith also swapped partners to the more experienced Extell Development, which needed the deal tweaked.

The entire megillah included seven counter parties in six transactions covering a sale, purchase, leases, air rights, terminations, assignments and guarantees.

When it opens the doors in Jan. 2018, $15 million will be in the bank. Amen.


■ Madison Square Portfolio: David E. Ash, Prince Realty Advisors

■ 61 Ninth Ave. sale: Justin DiMare, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

■ 501 Madison Ave.: Robert Freedman and Alexander Jinishian, Colliers International

■ Assemblage for Virgin Hotel and Residential Condo: John Ciraulo and Robert A. Knakal, Massey Knakal Realty Services

■ Land at 760 Madison Ave.: Guthrie Garvin and Paul J. Massey, Jr., of Massey Knakal Realty Services

■ Etsy stays in Brooklyn: Freddie Fackelmayer, Christopher Mansfield, Sacha Zarba of CBRE

■ BNY Mellon lease at 225 Liberty St.: Peter Riguardi of JLL

■ 11 Madison Ave.: Howard Fiddle and Brad Gerla of CBRE