RIPCO, JLL take home REBNY’s retail deal of the year awards
Astor Place Wegmans, One Vanderbilt fitness center claim top honors for retail leases
It’s no secret that New York City’s retail brokers have had their work cut out for them during the pandemic, with Vornado’s Steve Roth declaring last November that the market “may never recover” to its peak of the mid-2010s.
But there was little doom and gloom Thursday night at The Cutting Room in Midtown, where dealmakers gathered to celebrate REBNY’s 2022 Retail Deal of the Year Awards.
The 24th annual event, held in person for the first time since 2019, drew about 150 attendees to schmooze over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at the dimly-lit bar during the party’s first hour. Guests then moved into the music venue’s theater for the awards ceremony, where REBNY handed out its honors for the “Most Ingenious” and “Most Impactful” retail deals of last year.
JLL’s Erin Grace and Matthew Ogle took home the honor of Most Ingenious Retail Deal of the Year for the 56,000-square-foot lease they arranged last October to bring Chelsea Piers Fitness to SL Green’s One Madison Avenue.
The fitness chain is the first tenant at the 26-story, 1.4-million-square-foot office development, where it signed a 20-year lease to operate on the building’s first two floors, plus two basement levels. It will be Chelsea Piers Fitness’ fourth location in the city and second in Manhattan.
Accepting the award, Grace praised Chelsea Piers Fitness for its “amazing” concept.
“That’s really what the primary focus of this deal was and the reason that it happened,” she said.
It was a repeat win for Ogle, who took home the same award in 2018 for helping to bring cycling studio Peloton to Brookfield Property Partners’ 5 Manhattan West.
RIPCO Real Estate’s Peter Ripka and Gene Spiegelman took home the Most Impactful Retail Deal of the Year award for brokering grocery chain Wegmans’ 83,000-square-foot lease at Vornado Realty Trust’s 770 Broadway, the former location of the Astor Place K-Mart.
The 30-year agreement marks Wegmans’ first entry into Manhattan and its second location in the city, following a store in the Brooklyn Navy Yard that opened in 2019. The store is expected to open in the second half of next year.
“I love our city. I love our business,” Spiegelman said. “[The deal] happened at a time when it was hard to look forward in Manhattan and we’re really excited about it.”
Ripka acknowledged that the city’s retail market is still recovering, but said he’s optimistic that increased office occupancy and tourism will help counteract the effects of rising inflation.
“There is a more consistent level of deal activity,” he wrote in an email. “Street traffic has materially increased and the vibe of the city is back.”