The sales sluggers

A borough-by-borough breakdown of the firms that handled the largest sale volumes

Nov.November 01, 2019 12:00 PM

UPDATED: Nov. 15, 2019, 11:05 a.m.: Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson took the lead by investment sales dollar volume in Manhattan at $2.43 billion between July 2018 and June 2019, as well as in Queens ($475 million) and the Bronx ($203.5 million).

And the global law firm came in first in Queens thanks to just one deal: Blackstone Group’s purchase of Parker Towers from the Jack Parker Corporation last November. But Fried Frank was nowhere to be found on TRD’s top 10 sales ranking for Brooklyn, where Reed Smith was on top with $329.8 million.

Greenberg Traurig came in second in Manhattan with $2.26 billion in sales, while Kasowitz Benson Torres ranked No. 2 in Brooklyn with $253 million, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett came in second in Queens with $284 million, and Zwick & Associates took the No. 2 spot in the Bronx with $168 million.

But the companies with the highest dollar volume did not always work on the most sales. Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel worked on the most deals in Manhattan at 22, while Zwick & Associates worked on the most in Brooklyn at 43, in the Bronx at 13 and in Queens at just three.

Jeffrey Zwick, the firm’s founder, said focusing on volume is a key part of his business strategy, though doing so has become more challenging since the state imposed stricter rent laws in June. Now, Zwick & Associates is looking to other sides of the business as a way to help counter New York’s slow multifamily market.

“We represent a lot of developers as well,” he said, “and we’ve been doing some more out-of-state work over the last six to 12 months.”

Robert Ivanhoe, Greenberg Traurig’s real estate chair, also pointed to a slowing investment sales market due to the rent law overhaul. “It wasn’t until the laws were proposed that people started to get really nervous and said … ‘we’re not doing anything until we see what happens,’” he noted.

Top law firms for sales

Source: TRD analysis of NYC building sales that closed between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, and were recorded in ACRIS. Only transactions of $1 million or more were counted. Law firms were only credited for deals in which they represented the buyers. Firms were provided data for confirmation, but not all responded.

Correction: The deal totals in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens were mistakenly undercounted for three law firms, though no firm’s ranking changed. Greenberg Traurig handled 14 sales in Manhattan and 5 in Brooklyn, Romer Debbas handled 62 sales in Brooklyn and Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel handled 2 sales in Queens.

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