The Real Deal New York

REBNY hands out awards for top retail deals

Brokers behind Peloton’s Manhattan West lease, FAO Schwarz at Rock Center win top honors
By Rich Bockmann | June 13, 2018 11:46AM

Left to right: Bob Gibson and Patrick A. Smith, JLL; Benjamin Birnbaum and Ben Shapiro, Newmark Knight Frank; Matthew Ogle, JLL; Bill Rudin, REBNY Chairman; John H. Banks, REBNY President; Corey Zolcinski, JLL; Neil Seth and Kenji Ota, Cushman & Wakefield; Steven Soutendijk, Cushman & Wakefield, Co-Chair of REBNY’s Retail Committee (Credit: Jill Lotenberg)

The brokers behind Peloton’s new outlet at Manhattan West and FAO Schwarz’ rebirth at Rockefeller Center took home the industry’s top honors for their work.

Newmark Knight Frank’s Benjamin Birnbaum shared the Real Estate Board of New York’s Most Ingenious Retail Deal of the Year award with a JLL team of Patrick Smith, Matt Ogle, Corey Zolcinski and Bob Gibson for their work bringing cycling studio Peloton to Brookfield Property Partners‘ 5 Manhattan West.

Neil Seth and Kenji Ota, Cushman & Wakefield (Credit: Jill Lotenberg)

Peloton’s 26,400-square-foot lease for a new studio and retail space required a “tremendous lift” from both the tenant-rep team and the agency side, Cushman & Wakefield’s Steven Soutendijk, chair of REBNY’s retail committee, told the crowd of dealmakers who gathered Tuesday evening at Club 101 to see the winners announced.

The deal involved a slew of challenges that needed to be addressed, including a complicated multi-lease ownership structure, substantial tax issues, taking back space from another tenant, flood mitigation and train tunnel infrastructure.

“The deal basically threw up every hurdle you can imagine, and both teams managed to overcome them,” Soutendijk said.

“To convince a tenant that an unproven location and new development was the ideal image for its brand required both vision and substantial statistical analysis,” he added.

Cushman brokers Kenji Ota and Neil Seth, meanwhile, took home REBNY’s Most Significant Retail Deal of the Year award for their work representing iconic toy store FAO Schwarz in its 19,000-square-foot lease at Tishman Speyer’s 30 Rockefeller Center.

Soutendijk said the deal could have easily won the Most Ingenious award, but it was considered by the judges “to be so significant in changing the Manhattan retail market.”

“This transaction represents the rebirth of an iconic brand – one that may have been knocked down a few pegs thanks to Walmart and Amazon, but who the judges were convinced would use a brick-and-mortar flagship to make this chain relevant again,” he said.

This was the second consecutive year that Ota and Seth won the award.