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CBRE team wins Ingenious Deal award for bringing Chinese to Pacific Park

William Shanahan picked up his fourth Ingenious Deal of the Year award last night.


Shanahan and fellow CBRE brokers Darcy Stacom and Paul Leibowitz were presented with the first place Henry Hart Rice Award for “East Meets West—Brooklyn Mirrors Kowloon” their deal that brought Shanghai-based Greenland Holdings into Forest City Ratner’s Pacific Park project in Downtown Brooklyn.

CBRE’s Howard Fiddle and Brad Gerla  won the second place Robert T. Lawrence Award for “A ‘Two-State Solution’ to 11 Madison: Everyone Wins, “ a double whammy with Credit Suisse and Sony at  11 Madison Avenue.

Ira Schuman and David Carlos of Savills Studley were honored with the third place Edward S. Gordon Award for assembling a site for a new Congregation Habonim temple ion a deal they dubbed  “Divine Intervention or Deal. ”

“We are delighted to honor these leading brokers that have shown tremendous determination, dedication, and ingenuity in navigating such intricate transactions,” said Steven Spinola, REBNY president.

“Their accomplishments are a true testament to the extensive research, persistence, and sheer willpower that go into achieving success at the highest level in our commercial real estate brokerage industry.”

CBRE is the only company to ever take the top two REBNY Ingenious Deal of the Year awards, having done it previously in 1997, 1996 and 1995.

Matthew Van Buren, president, New York Tri-State Region, CBRE, praised the firm’s dealmakers saying,  “Capturing the top two REBNY Ingenious Deal of the Year awards is an extraordinary achievement, and CBRE is extremely proud of our teams.

“These award-winning deals are hallmarks of our professionals’ ingenuity and innovative thinking on behalf of clients engaged in highly complex investment sales and office leasing transactions.”

Woody Heller, of Savills Studley and chair of REBNY’s Sales Brokers Committee, presented the awards. The judges were David Lebenstein of Cassidy Turley; Peter Hauspurg of Eastern Consolidated; Steve Alden of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; Andrew Albstein, Esq. of Goldberg Weprin & Ustin, LLP; John Gunther-Mohr of Santander; and Kevin Chisholm of 60 Guilders, LLC.

REBNY’s 2014 Ingenious Deal of the Year Award winners (L-R): William Shanahan, CBRE; Darcy Stacom, CBRE; Howard Fiddle, CBRE; Brad Gerla, CBRE; David Carlos, Savills Studley; Ira Schuman, Savills Studley.
REBNY’s 2014 Ingenious Deal of the Year Award winners (L-R): William Shanahan, CBRE; Darcy Stacom, CBRE; Howard Fiddle, CBRE; Brad Gerla, CBRE; David Carlos, Savills Studley; Ira Schuman, Savills Studley.

Shanahan, Stacom and Leibowitz arranged what the judges called “an ingenious  partnership” with Shanghai-based Greenland Holdings, which signed on as a 70 percent joint venture equity partner for Forest City Ratner’s Pacific Park project in Downtown Brooklyn, the largest urban residential infill development in the United States.

The CBRE team overcame complex structuring issues as well as cultural and language barriers to orchestrate the partnership.

With no word for “joint venture” in Mandarin, Shanahan, Stacom and Leibowitz developed “a brilliant alternative corporate deal structure with divisions, committees and a board of directors.”

They likened Downtown Brooklyn  to Kowloon, a similar Hong Kong suburb, during their talks with the Chinese investors.

And, the trio was also credited with overcoming other obstacles to the deal, including a record-low investment yield for Brooklyn, land pricing at double the amount for recent comps and an extremely tight time-frame.

The team obtained a six-month extension for the closing so they could secure the development and more than six million square feet of air rights.

The win is Shanahan’s fourth Ingenious Deal of the Year award, while it is the third award for Darcy Stacom and first for Paul Leibowitz.

The second place winners, Howard Fiddle and Brad Gerla,  extended and restructured a 1.77 million-square-foot lease with anchor tenant Credit Suisse at The Sapir Organization and CIM Group’s 11 Madison Avenue.

Simultaneously, the team arranged a 550,000 s/f  lease with Sony Corporation of America by securing a building-within-a-building setup for the tenant with a new, dedicated entrance at the same property, but under a new address, 25 Madison Avenue.

The leases, which unlocked huge value for ownership, were followed by subsequent tenant wins with William Morris Endeavor and Yelp, leaving just one floor vacant.

The Credit Suisse and Sony commitments would also prove to be the largest and third-largest transactions of 2014.

The award is Howard Fiddle’s third Sales Brokers Ingenious Deal of the Year Award and the first for Brad Gerla.

The third place winners, Ira Schuman and David Carlos of Savills Studley, Inc., assembled six mutually dependent transactions with seven counter parties to create a new temple for Congregation Habonim and its leading nursery school.

The brokers orchestrated the sale of Habonim’s site at 44 West 66th Street and the adjacent Disney-controlled site to Extell Development, while buying back the condominium at its base.

Schuman and Carlos also located the perfect temporary space for Habonim at 101 West End Avenue in a former Ethan Allen store.

After all of the real estate fees and construction costs are paid, the congregation will receive an endowment of over $15 million.

This is Ira Schuman’s second Sales Brokers Ingenious Deal of the Year Award and the first for David Carlos.

Sponsors for REBNY’s 71st Annual Commercial Sales Brokers Committee Cocktail Party held at Club 101 were:  CBRE, Colliers International, Cushman & Wakefield, Donald Zucker Company, The Durst Organization, Eastern Consolidated, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Glenwood, Jack Resnick & Sons, Kalikow, The New York Times, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Capital Markets, Silverstein Properties, SL Green Realty Corp., Trinity Real Estate, Tishman Speyer, and Vornado Realty Trust.

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