Winning a gold star

Jun.June 30, 2011 03:10 PM

stuart elliottStuart ElliottI find that the hardest thing about patting yourself on the back is being able to contort your arm to reach around behind you. In other words, self-congratulations doesn’t come naturally (or else I just need to start doing more exercise to get more flexible).

But that’s not going to stop me from touting The Real Deal‘s latest accomplishment — winning the first journalism contest we’ve ever entered.

Last month, The Real Deal took home first prize as the nation’s top commercial real estate magazine and won the industry award for the best commercial real estate story of 2010.

The prizes were part of the 61st Annual NAREE Journalism Awards bestowed by the National Association of Real Estate Editors. (NAREE is the only association of writers, editors, columnists and freelancers that covers residential and commercial real estate.) Esteemed publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times also competed.

We were deemed the best commercial real estate publication on the strength of the three issues we submitted — for July, October and December 2010.

Those issues featured cover stories like an exclusive interview with Park51 developer Sharif El-Gamal, a profile on activist investor Bill Ackman and his (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to win ownership of Stuyvesant Town, a look at the challenges facing mega-brokerage Cushman & Wakefield, and a comprehensive story package on the most active distressed funds.

The fact that we were named best commercial real estate trade magazine in the country speaks to one of the common misperceptions about The Real Deal. People who don’t read us that closely (shame on you!) sometimes ask if we are just a residential real estate publication. (Of course, sometimes other people ask if we are only a commercial real estate publication. Adding to the confusion is that anything involving apartment buildings counts as “commercial” real estate in much of the rest of the country.)

Those who read us regularly know that we cover both commercial and residential extensively — and always have. We’ve proven that you can clearly be both a residential and commercial publication, and that there is a lot of overlap between the sectors (even if commercial and residential brokers consider themselves as two distinct breeds).

Take stories in two recent issues by our senior commercial real estate reporter, Adam Pincus — one on Harry Macklowe’s purchase of 737 Park Avenue (the largest condo conversion in the city since the bust) and the other on the retail space at 666 Fifth Avenue (the building that set a record for the priciest purchase in the city’s history). I challenge you to find a recent article in any another publication that contains more detail about what goes on behind the scenes in a commercial real estate deal in New York.

Meanwhile, reporter Sarah Ryley was awarded best 2010 commercial real estate story by a trade magazine for “A Century of Booms and Busts,” an in-depth package that looked at the last 100 years of up and down cycles in New York City real estate.

After months of research, Ryley compiled the first-ever chart of Manhattan residential and commercial prices over the past century. Her work followed in the footsteps of Yale University economist Robert Shiller — the man who called the housing bust and who compiled a similar chart, for U.S. prices, back in 2005.

Previously, we’d all been too busy trying to break news and putting together the magazine to enter any major contests. But Deputy Managing Editor Candace Taylor took the initiative, so kudos goes to her.

And we’re not resting on our laurels. We’ve been hard at work putting together this issue — which is chock-full of interesting (and perhaps future-award winning) stories. If you are lounging at the beach for a week or two, the magazine and some sunscreen should be all you need.

Our cover package on the “hairiest deals” looks at some of the blind alleys and tricky paths brokers have recently encountered completing some of the city’s most prominent mega-transactions. Another story, on the Azure cond-op project, examines the site of a development that saw a fatal crane collapse in 2008, and what’s happened there since.

Finally, we also look at the top residential brokers in Brooklyn — the first comprehensive ranking of its kind to be published. Enjoy the issue.


 Stuart Elliott


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