The Top 3 Most Ingenious Real Estate Deals in New York City History

The Real Estate Board of New York has been awarding commercial real estate’s indomitable spirit and ingenuity as an engine of the city’s economic revival for the past 77 years. The REBNY’s Sales Brokers Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards 2022 winners were honored by the city’s brokerage leaders on April 13th.

New York City sales brokers work under a different set of regulations, and the city marches to its tune. As a result, the way New York City’s real estate market operates makes it essentially the wild west of real estate in the US. To understand this, look at the top 3 most ingenious real estate deals in New York City History.

1. The Newman-Eichner’s Flatiron District Deal

In 2007, the 33-39 E. 22nd St. cooperative apartment building hired Geoffrey Newman to sell 64,000 square feet of air rights. Newman attempted to negotiate a deal with Gary Barnett of Extell and the Goldman family, but both attempts were unsuccessful. Ultimately, the global economic collapse in 2008 put a stop to any progress he had made.

Newman relocated to Africa during the crisis and returned to Newmark and the cooperative in 2012 when he was rehired. The owner of the next-door building located at 41-43 E. 22nd St. offered to sell for $25 million, subject to the property’s vacating. In addition, there were agreements to evict regulated tenants, including a rent-controlled tenant. However, the Indian restaurant on the ground level had years remaining on its contract.

During a luncheon for an American ambassador to an African country, Newman sat next to developer Ian Bruce Eichner, and the two began discussing a prospective partnership. They negotiated all the terms and reached an agreement. Newman then executed buyout agreements with the restaurant and nearly all apartment tenants at 41-43 E. 22nd St. And just like that, the deal was closed!

2. The Barnett-Ezratty Deal

This deal has to be amongst the most ingenious real estate deals in New York City. Gary Barnett of Extell Development engaged Brian Ezratty of Eastern Consolidated to disassemble and sell the parts he already owned after the owner of 36 E. 29th St. refused to sell and halted a larger residential development at 30-32 E. 29th St. Later, when the reluctant seller returned, Ezratty had to rebuild the collection and find another developer to purchase it.

The property comprises a 50-foot development site at Nos. 30-32, 34 E. 29th Street, and an air rights transfer permitting a 25-foot cantilever over Nos. Ezratty sold No. 34 to a family but retained the air rights, attempting to sell the remainder for a year. However, a prospective purchaser withdrew days before signing.

Barnett saved $2 million when the reluctant seller at No. 36 unexpectedly consented to sell, allowing him to transfer all the other air rights through that property. Ezratty then began purchasing the original structures while marketing the entire property. Finally, the Rockefeller Group agreed to buy the entirety of Barnett’s development site, subject to the closing on all three buildings. Ezratty closed the deals in April 2017 — just in time for Barnett’s time-sensitive closing on multiple other air rights.

3. The Brookfield Property Partners multi-building Development Deal

Eleven years ago, Brookfield Property Partners commissioned Cushman & Wakefield’s Bruce Mosler, Josh Kuriloff, and Rob Lowe to master-plan a fully amenitized multi-building development on a superblock in the Hudson Yards district of Manhattan. As part of the development project, three office buildings, a co-working space, a boutique hotel, and a residential tower were constructed above an active railyard.

High-quality tenants, including JPMorgan Chase, Ernst & Young, Amazon, and the National Hockey League, now occupy the majority of the building. The developer developed the 2.6-acre platform that would serve as the foundation for the towers without a single tenant to convince the market that they were capable of finishing the enormous project. The team also restored the existing office and warehouse at 450 W. 33rd St., now known as 5 Manhattan West, for $350 million.

In a nutshell, consumers and brokers in New York City view real estate as a sport, resulting in thousands of real estate deals being finalized annually. Visit New York Post to learn more about the most ingenious real estate deals in New York City.

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