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Celebrating the best of New York City real estate

JOHN-BANKS-REBNY-WATCH-300x180Last week, we held our 121st Annual Banquet at the New York Hilton Midtown, sponsored by FTI Consulting and Xceligent. We were proud to welcome more than 2,200 guests to the real estate industry’s biggest night of networking and pleased to see so many leaders of real estate, business and public service gather to celebrate another year of growth in our industry and across our city.

Our honorees at this year’s event were a truly star-studded lineup and their accomplishments speak volumes about how much we can each achieve for the betterment of New York City.

Carl Weisbrod, the outgoing chair of the New York City Planning Commission and director of the New York City Department of City Planning, received the first-ever John E. Zuccotti Public Service Award for his many years spent enriching the lives of millions of New Yorkers. MaryAnne Gilmartin of Forest City Ratner took home the Bernard H. Mendik Lifetime Leadership in Real Estate Award for building a remarkable career that has redefined what is possible in our industry. And Marc Holliday received the Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award for combining industry excellence with an indomitable spirit of giving back to our community.

I have mentioned those three honorees in previous columns over the past two months, but last week’s banquet also honored four equally outstanding members of our industry.

Jed Walentas, Two Trees Management Co., accepts The Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award

Jed Walentas, Two Trees Management Co., accepts The Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award

Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management Co. was presented with REBNY’s Kenneth R. Gerrety Humanitarian Award for going above and beyond as both a community-minded developer and a leading philanthropist. Under the leadership of the Walentas family, Two Trees employs an in-house civics team to coordinate much-needed philanthropic efforts with the firm’s vision and address the needs of neighborhoods across the city.

Peter Riguardi of Jones Lang LaSalle received the Louis Smadbeck Broker Recognition Award for his originality and sharpness as a manager and dealmaker across the tristate area. Peter has left an indelible mark on JLL since joining the company 15 years ago and his list of top transactions are among the most complex deals across our industry.

Peter Riguardi, Jones Lang LaSalle, accepts The Louis Smadbeck Broker Recognition Award from James Nelson and Bob Knakal of Cushman & Wakefield

Peter Riguardi, Jones Lang LaSalle, accepts The Louis Smadbeck Broker Recognition Award from James Nelson and Bob Knakal of Cushman & Wakefield

Former REBNY Chairman, Larry Silverstein was on hand to deliver a memorable and heartfelt presentation to Bill Dacunto of Silverstein Properties. Dacunto won the George M. Brooker Management Executive Award for his unmatched reputation for professionalism spanning three decades on the Silverstein team. Bill is a previous winner of REBNY’s Corporate Management Executive of the Year Award and also serves as a member of REBNY’s Management Board of Directors.

Last but certainly not least, REBNY once again celebrated an emerging star of our industry. This year, the Young Real Estate Professional of the Year Award went to Lindsay Ornstein of Transwestern, whose intelligence and poise reminds us all that the next generation of New York City real estate will be in good hands.

Bill Dacunto, winner of The George M. Brooker Management Executive of the Year Award, with his wife Karen Dacunto

Bill Dacunto, winner of The George M. Brooker Management Executive of the Year Award, with his wife Karen Dacunto

The evening was filled with fast-paced networking and deal-making, but most of all this year’s banquet was special – as they all are – because it was a time to enjoy pure friendship and camaraderie. It was a reminder to me of how fortunate I am to be in this position and work with incredible colleagues who do such important work for our great city.

I am grateful to everyone who attended REBNY’s banquet, our sponsors FTI Consulting and Xceligent, and it is my sincere hope that all attendees enjoyed the evening as much as I did.

In other REBNY news:

Submissions are being accepted for our Commercial Brokerage Division’s Sales Brokers Committee Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards for 2016. Entries must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 26. Sales, leases or finance transactions, regardless of size, are eligible, and will be judged based upon ingenuity, creativity and professional skill. The first place Henry Hart Rice Award, second place Robert T. Lawrence Award, and the third place Edward S. Gordon Award will be announced at our 73rd Annual Commercial Sales Brokers Committee Cocktail Party to be held at Club 101 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4th. Visit rebny.com for more details.

Vickey Barron of Douglas Elliman will lead our Residential Breakfast Club Seminar, “Be My Valentine: Love Your Clients to Grow Your Business,” on Tuesday, February 14th from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. in the REBNY Mendik Education Center (570 Lexington Avenue, Lower Level). This free seminar is open to REBNY residential members. Email [email protected] to register.

Our Residential Management Council put together a best practice guide on compliance with New York City Department of Finance requirements for the cooperative and condominium property tax abatement. This guideline explains how to successfully fulfill agency requirements and provide sample forms that REBNY members and managing agents may utilize to communicate the requirements to their shareholders and unit owners. The guidelines can be found in the resources section on the membership side of rebny.com.

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