By Sarah Trefethen
Marc Miller is a bit of a renaissance man.
The Winoker Realty executive vice president credits his artistic eye and sense of history with helping him match clients to their perfect office.
“Often times on space tours, the history of a building or a lobby will come up,” said Miller, who prides himself on offering a “multi-dimensional” experience to his clients that goes beyond showing a space.
Miller works exclusively as a tenant representative and does deals all over Manhattan, but in recent years he estimates more than half of his business has culminated in leases on or near Bryant Park, where office rents range from $36-$100 per foot.
“I see value here,” he said.
According to Miller, the park has attracted a diverse group of professional tenants, including law, accounting and technology firms.
Some of the attraction is the park itself. It’s a place to get out of the office, and also an indication that the light streaming into the windows like those of the W. R. Grace Building, which faces south onto the park from 42nd Street, is unlikely to be blocked by new construction.
“People know the library’s not going to be built on, and neither is the park,” Miller said.
Bryant Park isn’t always thought of as a neighborhood in real estate circles. In the CoStar database, the buildings around the park are found listed in Midtown West and the Grand Central area.
But Miller is such an advocate for the area that he will try to persuade skeptical clients to give it a try. At the moment, he said, he has one client looking to move their IT firm from 4,000 s/f of space further uptown into a 15,000 s/f space. The client is hesitant to look below 50th Street, but Miller wants them to consider the park area.
“It’s a subtle line between service and trying to advise,” he said.
Miller has an offbeat humor and speaks of historic office towers, customer service and space planning all with an infectious enthusiasm that might make his advice easier to swallow.
His clients include Drohan Lee LLP, which leased 9,400 s/f at 489 Fifth Avenue, and Metallurg, a distributor of specialty metals, which leased 13,800 s/f at 6 East 43rd Street.
Miller enjoys buildings with good light and impressive spaces. At the Park House, at 104 West 40th Street, a colorful, abstract mural by the artist Sarah Morris stretches along one wall of the long, gray marble lobby. Miller, who also paints abstract art, has done two major deals in the building in recent years, one for the entire 15th and 16th floors to the Capstone Advisory Group, and another for the 19th floor to RDA Ventures.
Another one of Miller’s favorite lobbies can be found at 101 East 42nd Street, across from Grand Central Station, where blue and yellow ceiling tiles recreate a starry sky.
“It’s one of those sleepers,” he said.
The former Bowery Savings Bank building is almost 90 years old, an example of the way midtown’s transportation hubs led to a prominent role in corporate history.
“In a way, the bricks and the walls kind of speak,” Miller said. “What were those office workers thinking in 1943, when World War Two was raging? It’s just fascinating.”
Miller, 50, lives in Westchester with his wife and their three children. He grew up in Whitestone, Queens, and did a double major in accounting and economics at Queens College before starting in real estate in the early 1980s.
He ran his own firm, Miller and Partners, from 2000 until it was purchased by Winoker in 2008, and has been with the 15-broker firm ever since.
“We’re not changing our name every three years like some of the other firms,” he said.
Miller likes to give his clients and office plant as a thank-you gift and has his florist on speed dial. But he, said, he has a sort of green thumb in another way as well.
“A lot of the clients I deal with happen to be very, very successful and grow 300 – 500 percent over the period of a lease, and we have to negotiate a larger space,” he said. “Most of the clients I deal with, if they’re not referrals, are repeat business.”