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Fisher Brothers design challenge a chance to leave mark on NYC

The mark of a thriving and vibrant city is constant ingenuity and improvement. That is, after all, the engine underneath all new development. Bold, innovative thinking tends to be rewarded in our industry, and the results of that are on display all around us in New York.

Encouraging exactly that kind of innovation is what drives Fisher Brothers’ new competition, Beyond the Centerline, which is an open call to innovative minds to come up with new, exciting visions for Park Avenue.

Fisher Brothers has essentially created a blank canvas on Park Avenue between 46th and 57th Streets. The zone today, of course, is the iconic main stretch of the Plaza District, featuring centerline plantings and periodic sculpture installations.

The contest rules specifically ask innovators to create visions for re-energizing and animating these “islands of green” down the center of Park Avenue. Ten of the very best designs will be on display in an exhibit in the public arcade of Fisher Brothers’ Park Ave Plaza tower on 52nd Street beginning in February 2018, with a grand prize of $25,000 awarded to the winning proposal and another $5,000 award granted by a popular vote.

The Real Estate Board of New York embraces this competition and believes that the initiative fits into a broader pattern of development across New York City.

New York is a dynamic city of change. The rezoning of East Midtown will usher in an era of significant improvements to this historic and vibrant business district. Staten Island’s North Shore is experiencing unprecedented development that is mirrored by all of the exciting mixed-use developments rising in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

As every corner of the five boroughs evolves, it is only fitting that Park Avenue should do the same.
The beauty of the competition is that it encourages innovators to think in the boldest terms possible.

Winston Fisher, the Fisher Brothers partner who is spearheading the competition, has instructed participants to be unconstrained by “zoning codes, cost, weight, or other restrictions” in their proposals.

Doing so will primarily foster creativity and challenge participants to think outside of the box, but will also encourage ideas that would have never been considered possible otherwise.

This is the best way to reimagine what already exists, says Fisher Brothers, and we at REBNY agree.

The jury who will evaluate the project features some of the most esteemed names in New York real estate, art and architecture. They include: Vishaan Chakrabarti, founder of PAU and Professor at Columbia University; Winston Fisher; Jon Kessler, artist and Professor at Columbia University; Signe Nielsen, Principal at Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects; David Rockwell, Founder and President of the Rockwell Group; Samantha Rudin, Senior VP of Rudin Management; Michael Speaks, Ph.D. and Dean of the School of Architecture at Syracuse University; and Xin Zhang, CEO of SOHO China.

REBNY encourages all innovators to register at and then come up with their biggest and boldest visions for Park Avenue’s future. A truly great proposal has the chance to do more than just win a cash prize – it can leave a new and lasting impact on the world’s most famous commercial thoroughfare.

In Other REBNY News:

On Monday, December 4, from 12 to 2 p.m., Scott Rechler will headline our Annual Commercial Holiday Luncheon at the New York Athletic Club. As Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, he has led RXR Realty LLC to become one of the largest owners, managers, and developers in the New York Tri-State area. Earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Rechler to serve on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board. He is highly respected for his ability to solve problems and seize opportunities to breathe new life into buildings and businesses. Join us as Rechler discusses ideas for keeping New York City economically competitive in the 21st Century. Register online.

We will be donating a portion of the proceeds from this event to “Unidos” the Hispanic Federation’s Hurricane Relief Fund for Hurricane Maria Victims in Puerto Rico. For more information about this event, including available sponsorship opportunities, email

REBNY’s Commercial Finance Committee is holding an OPEN lunch and panel for REBNY members and their guests on Monday, November 27 from 12-2 p.m. at the Yale Club. Moderated by David R. Garcia (Oritani Finance Company), this panel, “Grabbing Market Share in 2018: How Banks Will Compete,” will review general production goals for the coming year. Featured panelists include: Joseph Fingerman, Group Director, Senior Vice President of Commercial Real Estate, Signature Bank Garrett Sokoloff, Senior Managing Director, First Republic Bank. James Carpenter, EVP and Chief Lending Officer, New York Community Bank. Each panelist will walk through their product and property focus for 2018 and discuss how rates and evolving competition may impact those goals. REBNY Members and guests are invited to attend. Email to register.

Rent to a vet this #GivingTuesday, November 28. Every month, more than 100 veterans visit the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services seeking a home. Over 500 veterans currently live in New York City shelters. For our 9th Annual Summer Donation Drive, REBNY members came together to support the department’s mission and donated kitchen items for formerly homeless veterans. All donated goods are helping these veterans turn their new housing into a home. We thank all REBNY members who participated in this year’s drive. If interested in renting to a vet/providing housing for a homeless veteran in New York City, please contact, or call 212-416-5250.

New to the industry? Join REBNY President John Banks on Wednesday, November 29th from 6-8 p.m. and start getting connected. REBNY’s FREE Early Access Program is designed for new commercial brokerage members to meet industry leaders and listen to their strategy for personal career development. This is an informative and engaging networking opportunity where those in the business from one to five years can discuss career successes with experienced industry executives. Email to RSVP.

Accredited by the New York State Department of State, REBNY’s professional education programs include qualifying courses to obtain a salesperson or broker license, continuing education courses for residential and commercial salespersons and brokers to keep their real estate license current, and special real estate designation courses with lectures from seasoned New York City industry experts. A residential or commercial salesperson or broker must complete 22.5 hours of continuing education credits every two years to maintain a license. Learn more and register for REBNY’s qualifying and continuing education on-site and online courses at

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