Despite 2018 being one of the most active years for leasing, sales and financings, just six transactions were nominated for the prestigious 75th annual Real Estate Board of New York’s Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards. The details of the nominated deals follow.

While not one sales transaction was nominated, one of the four nominated leases includes a purchase option, and one financing contender is in Queens. Award night is April 9 at Club 101 on Park Avenue.

Tenants leaving for Hudson Yards and other new towers were instrumental in creating opportunities for two of the transactions: one at Park Avenue Plaza and the other at 9 W. 57th St.

When Stephen Siegel and Michael Geoghegan of CBRE were hired by Apollo Global Management in 2015, the company had non-contiguous floors at Solow’s 9 W. 57th St. and more space at the Crown Building on Fifth Avenue, which was being emptied for a hotel and condos.

The Crown Building paid $20.3 million to buy out its lease and build out offices, but the brokers found a fully furnished sublease at 3 Bryant Park, which had more room. News of this lease prompted a deal with Solow to retain Apollo’s headquarters.

The new 175,000-square-foot lease includes higher-priced space on the 41st and 42nd floors plus lower-priced space on the eighth through 10th floors. The funds from the Crown Building went toward that build-out.

Similarly, Fisher Bros.’ Park Avenue Plaza, aka 55 E. 52nd St., had several large tenants moving out. Evercore’s broker, Alan Desino of Colliers International, leveraged those departures to consolidate its overflow at 666 Fifth Ave. into Park Avenue Plaza and expand to 339,153 square feet with additional expansion rights.

Brokers Gregg Rothkin and Gerry Miovski of CBRE represent the Verizon and Sabey Data Centers building at 375 Pearl St., which is getting new windows on the upper floors. They suggested the building to a colleague repping architect Rafael Viñoly, whose firm was getting bumped by the future Disney tower.

Viñoly ultimately leased the top floor at 36,550 square feet, becoming the only non-city agency office tenant. The 23-foot ceilings allowed the building to insert an 8,000-square-foot mezzanine for the firm’s model area and add an outdoor terrace. Viñoly also has a purchase option.

The Open Jar Institute wanted to create a full-scale rehearsal space for Broadway shows but couldn’t afford to rent a big space. Touring with Jeffrey Rosenblatt, now with the Kaufman Organization, the organization looked at many spaces.

Eventually, with numerous Broadway luminaries backing the venture, Open Jar leased 51,436 feet at 1601 Broadway from Vornado.

Part of the slab was removed between the 11th and 12th floors to create a 24-foot-high ceiling that can accommodate Broadway sets. There are also spaces for solo performers and auditions.

In Harlem, brokers Shimon Shkury and Victor Sozio of Ariel Property Advisors were hired by developer Janus Property Group to identify an equity partner. They wanted to jumpstart construction of a 360,000-square-foot Class A office and life sciences building at the 3-acre former Taystee Cake Factory at 450 W. 126th St. — the first such office building in Harlem in decades.

More than 100 picky lenders and investors were educated about Columbia University and Harlem.

The final investors also needed a certain structure for tax purposes. “We really had to bridge a gap between an institutional lender and two entrepreneurs,” said Shkury.

Scott A. Singer and Jeffrey Moroch of the Singer & Bassuk Organization were hired by the Muss Organization to replace short-term higher-interest loans at Forest Hills Tower in Queens.

The brokers previously placed those loans to upgrade the 1983 building at 118-35 Queens Blvd. that the Muss family had developed for Con Edison, whose lease had ended.