CBRE, Ripco brokers win top prizes at REBNY retail awards

CBRE's Richard Hodos and Ripco Real Estate's Peter Ripka put together award-winning deals

TRD New York /
Jun.June 11, 2014 11:50 AM

The CBRE broker who turned a board member sweet on his idea for a Fifth Avenue flagship store, and the Ripco agent who helped a New York icon find its way back home were recognized by REBNY for putting together the best retail deals of 2013.

Richard Hodos’ marriage between Coca Cola and Ralph Lauren earned him the Most Ingenious Retail Deal of the Year Award, while Peter Ripka’s deal to bring Barney’s back to its former home in Chelsea earned him the Most Significant Retail Deal of the Year Award.

Lee & Associates’ Peter Braus, chair of REBNY’s Retail Committee, announced the winners Tuesday evening during a mixer at Club 101 on Park Avenue near Grand Central Terminal. The year’s best deals, he said, were selected from a pool of 18 entries that demonstrated the pinnacle of technique and creativity present in the city’s retail broker community.

“In fact the entries sounded sometimes more like a family drama or a spy novel than a real estate deal: sibling rivalries, foreign governments, planted stories in the press, corporate board intrigue,” he said. “All of these elements played into our entries.”

In the case of CBRE’s Hodos, Coca Cola’s board was eyeing a company-theme for the ground floor of its building at 711 Fifth Avenue when the Walt Disney Company’s lease expired and the media company took off for Times Square.

It was up to Hodos to convince a skeptical board to see his vision to marry two iconic American brands, Braus said.

“To make that happen, he enlisted the assistance of a board member whom he didn’t know but was able to meet through a mutual friend,” Braus explained. “He also had to convince the tenant to pay an astronomical rent and — when the time came and the landlord was ready — to close the deal very quickly to avoid losing the space to other competitors that had become aware of the space.”

Ralph Lauren signed a 38,000-square-foot lease for the space that now hosts its flagship store.

Ripco Real Estate Corp.’s Ripka deal to lure Barney’s from Madison Avenue back to its former home in Chelsea was almost a decade in the making.

Years after the high-end retailer left its 57,000-square-foot space at 107 Seventh Avenue, Ripco had a creative way of grabbing the company’s attention.

“When the space became available the broker cleverly planted an item in Women’s Wear Daily to whet the appetite of the tenant he most desired,” Braus said.

Ripka reached out to Barneys via Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Retail and brokered a deal that put “Barneys back where it belongs,” Braus added.

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