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REBNY Retail 2018 Awards From left: Bob Gibson, Patrick A. Smith, Benjamin Birnbaum, Ben Shapiro, Matt Ogle, Bill Rudin, John H. Banks, Corey Zolcinski, Neil Seth, Kenji Ota, Steven Soutendijk/ photo by Jill Lotenberg

NEW YORK CITY—The Real Estate Board of New York awarded The Most Significant Retail Deal of the Year 2018, coined “Toy Story 2.0,” to Neil Smith and Kenji Ota of Cushman & Wakefield for their December 2017 deal representing FAO Schwartz in leasing space to open at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The landlord owner in the deal was Tishman Speyer. In 2015, citing high rents the legendary toy store vacated its space at the GM Building, at 767 Fifth Ave.

Neil Seth and Kenji Ota From left: Neil Seth and Kenji Ota/ photo by Jill Lotenberg

“Most deals considered for this award are deemed significant because they help revitalize or rejuvenate the neighborhood. This deal is significant because of the tenant not the location,” said REBNY retail committee co-chair Steven Soutendijk of Cushman & Wakefield, who presented the awards. “This transaction represents the rebirth of an iconic brand, one that may have been knocked down a few pegs thanks to Walmart and Amazon but who the judges were convinced would use a brick-and-mortar flagship to make this chain relevant again.”

This is the second time Ota has won this award, also receiving it in last year’s competition.

The Most Ingenious Retail Deal of the Year 2018, titled “Retail’s Next Ride,” recognized Peloton’s 35,000 square-foot flagship location lease at Manhattan West. REBNY awarded this prize to the Newmark Knight Frank team of Benjamin Birnbaum and Ben Shapiro, who represented the tenant, and JLL’s Patrick A. Smith, Matt Ogle, Corey Zolcinski and Bob Gibson, who represented the owner landlord, Brookfield Properties.

Betsy Kim

Betsy Kim is the bureau chief, East Coast, and New York City reporter for Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. As a lawyer and journalist, Betsy has worked as the director of editorial and content for LexisNexis Lawyers.com, a TV/multi-media journalist for NBC and CBS affiliated TV stations in the Midwest, and an associate producer at Court TV.

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