The lobby of 1633 Broadway, a 48-story black tower in midtown, is marble and granite, with a central waterfall. On a recent afternoon, a pianist performed near the elevator banks.
But despite its striking appearance, the building’s owner and manager, the Paramount Group, plans to renovate the lobby in the fall, with architecture firm the Phillips Group overseeing the design.
Such relentless improvements have made Paramount one of the top property managers in the city. Last week, it received three Commercial Management Awards from the Real Estate Board of New York.
Cynthia Boyea was named “On-Site Manager of the Year” for her work at 1301 Avenue of the Americas, where she implemented energy initiatives that lowered operating costs by $1 million per year.
Jeff Caimi, manager of 715 Fifth Avenue, was awarded the John M. Griffin Community Service Award for his community outreach, including City Harvest food drives, fundraising for Japan and book fairs for the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
David Witthuhn, associate, property operations at 1325 Avenue of the Americas, received the Rising Star award.
A former intern, Witthuhn negotiated an energy program that will yield $500,000 per year in annual revenue, along with other sustainability efforts.
“We have a philosophy here that we always want to improve,” said Ralph DiRuggiero, vice president of property management at Paramount.
The company’s 12-building portfolio has 10 buildings that are Energy Star rated, and it is seeking LEED certification for certain buildings. At 1301 Sixth Avenue, it operates a cogeneration plant that creates the building’s electricity.
It has regular events for tenants, as well as the general public, spanning charitable, cultural and culinary fields. “We want to be part of the community,” said DiRuggiero.
Paramount has stakes in buildings in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and New York.
“We think the markets in all three cities are getting stronger,” said DiRuggiero, who added that the company was seeing rents increase.
1633 Broadway, known as Paramount Plaza, is one of the city’s largest buildings, at 2.4 million s/f. Paramount is currently marketing a minority stake in 1633 Broadway, and DiRuggiero said it is always actively seeking new acquisitions across its three cities.
The firm’s New York holdings are concentrated in midtown, excluding 60 Wall Street. Paramount previously owned two other downtown buildings: 32 Old Slip, which it sold for $751 million in 2007 to Beacon Capital Partners, as well as 180 Maiden Lane, which it sold for $355 million to the Moinian Group
Paramount recently launched an iPad application that allows its staff to manage buildings electronically, with a live energy report that allows for precise monitoring. The application also provides data of floorplates — which can also lure prospective tenants — along with work orders and visitors.
“This is bringing everything together,” said DiRuggiero. Paramount also has annual inspections from the National Real Estate Standards Corp, in order to ensure top performance.
Ultimately, DiRuggiero credits the firm’s success to its employees, which includes 60 people in its corporate offices and around 150 property management staff. He describes the company’s structure as collaborative, with personnel in leasing, acquisitions and management working together to best serve the clients.
“We all have a common goal. We’re all part of the same team,” he said.