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Three NGKF Brokers Score This Year's Most Ingenious Deal Award

New York

An eight-year process culminated in Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s Mark Weiss, Justin DiMare and Howard Kesseler winning this year’s top honor at REBNY's Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards last night.


It started with the 2008 demolition of an aging Department of Sanitation garbage truck depot on the Upper East Side waterfront at 73rd Street. The plan was to build a bigger and more modern facility, but that plan was thwarted by the economic downturn and the site sat idle.

Two years later, Mark (who's now with Cushman & Wakefield), Justin and Howard pitched the department on selling the valuable site and funneling the proceeds of the sale toward the construction of a new site somewhere else.  

The trio of brokers identified several alternative sites for a new depot, and the Economic Development Corp put out an RFP specifying the Upper East Side site could only be redeveloped for healthcare, education or scientific research, ruling out the biggest bang-for-your-buck use for such a site: residential.

The brokers helped forge a partnership between Memorial Sloan Kettering and Hunter College. The arrangement checked the right boxes for all parties; MSK was looking to expand its Upper East Side hospital and Hunter needed space for a science center and nursing school.

Both institutions were looking for space close to their main operations on the Upper East Side. And the kicker: Hunter had excess land that could become the home of a new truck depot, as required by the RFP.

And the synergies go even further: the nurses to be trained at Hunter’s facility could feed right into a pipeline of nurses needed by MSK—all of it housed within a single 1.1M SF, state-of-the-art campus.

The partnership was awarded the site in 2011 and it would take another four years to rezone it. The deal finally closed last year.  

Accepting the award from Savills Studley’s Woody Heller, who chairs REBNY's sales brokers comittee, Mark showed about as much emotion as you’re likely to see from a broker giving a speech about a deal. And it’s easy to see why.

He recounted former Mayor Michael Bloomberg putting his arm around his shoulder and asking, “Did you ever think you were going to make a deal and do something in your work that will result in some lives being saved?”

“I’m never at a loss for words,” Mark said. “But that just took my breath away.”


CBRE’s Lauren Crowley Corrinet (snapped with Woody), Greg Tosko and Sacha Zarba won the second-place Robert T. Lawrence Memorial Award for their 160k SF expansion deal for LinkedIn at the Empire State Building. It was Greg’s seventh time winning a REBNY Ingenious Deal of the Year award.


Ackman Ziff’s Alan Goodkin picked up the third-place Edward S. Gordon Memorial Award for putting together construction financing for the Emblem Health facility at 101 Pennsylvania Ave in East New York, Brooklyn.


We snapped REBNY president John Banks during the cocktail hour prior to the awards ceremony.

Related Topics: REBNY Ingenious Deal