By Roland Li
For Andrew Ackerman, there’s no place like home.
“I always had a passion for New York City,” said Ackerman, who grew up just north of the city, in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
As a leasing associate at Vornado Realty Trust, he has been a significant force in moving tenants into the company’s New York office portfolio of over 22 million s/f. While at the REIT, Ackerman has been involved in 80 leases, totaling roughly 700,000 s/f.
He was awarded the Most Promising Commercial Salesperson of the Year Award at the Real Estate Board of New York Members’ Luncheon last week, recognizing an active REBNY member with less than five years of experience.
Recently, he completed Jones Lang LaSalle’s 82,000 s/f lease at 330 Madison Avenue, between 42nd and 43rd Street, a deal first reported by Real Estate Weekly. The brokerage moved from 601 Lexington Avenue and took the third and fourth floor in 330 Madison, which had extensive façade and infrastructure improvements.
In October, Ackerman and colleague Tom Costanza represented Vornado in WJB Capital’s 31,000 s/f lease at 909 Third Avenue in midtown. Evan Margolin of Studley represented WJB Capital, which relocated from 12,000 s/f at 60 Broad Street. WJB increased its office space by over 150%.
“There’s a lot of momentum going on,” said Ackerman.
At 909 Third Avenue, asking rents are currently $57 per s/f for the sixth, seventh and eighth floors.
In Vornado’s 595 Madison, asking rents are $70 per s/f in the base of the building and $60 to $65 per s/f in the mid-rise.
Ackerman studied sports management at Ithaca College, working for the World Wrestling Federation, now the WWE. Inc., after graduation.
A friend recommended that he try real estate. “He thought being a broker would be an ideal place to start, because you are exposed to all sides of the business,” said Ackerman.
He began at Cushman & Wakefield, working under Tara Stacom, vice chairman of Cushman and one of the top office brokers in the city. Stacom is currently handling the leasing at One World Trade Center.
Ackerman closed transactions totaling over 500,000 s/f, and is grateful for Stacom’s hard-working ethos and meticulous detail when representing properties.
“I was very lucky and fortunate to work at a great company,” he said. “Being able to work on her accounts was very special.”
Ackerman joined Vornado in the fall of 2009.
“It was a tough decision, but ultimately, I wanted to get more involved in day-to-day negotiations,” said Ackerman. “At Vornado, you’re really more immersed in the buildings.”
While familiarizing himself with Vornado’s vast holdings, his passion for the entire city has grown. He enjoys the fast pace surrounding his current office in midtown, as well as more tranquil attractions including Battery Park and the South Street Seaport, which are within walking distance from his home in the Financial District, where he lives with his wife. And as the Financial District transforms into a full-service neighborhood, he also sees a diverse tenant base arriving.
“I see a huge wave of people down there,” said Ackerman.
At REBNY, Ackerman is also involved in the Plaza and Midtown West/Penn Plaza Committee. He is also the junior vice president of the Annual Spring Charity Gala for the Fresh Air Fund, and is involved in coat and food drives, as well as sports outings.
With the leasing markets continuing to thaw, Ackerman is optimistic about the future, both for his firm, as well as his home.
“New York City is a very unique place. This is a city where all the talent wants to be,” he said. “I’m a strong believer in New York City.”