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NEW YORK CITY-Insignia/ESG has won another plum assignment, landing the management contract for 600 Third Ave., Sumitomo Corp. of America’s 42-story office tower at the corner of 39th Street. A source very close to the deal says I/ESG edged out CB Richard Ellis for the highly coveted assignment.

Roughly five of the city’s major firms apparently vied for the job of managing Sumitomo’s 500,000-sf property, but in the end it came down to Insignia and CBRE, with I/ESG taking the prize. Gregg Popkin, executive director, will head up the new management group. He will be assisted by managing director Wayne Taub and portfolio managers Kathleen Murphy and Dennis Sherry, all of Insignia’s property management group.

Previously managed by Florham Park, NJ-based the Gale Co., the building is currently 100% leased. According to Taub, Sumitomo decided to sever its relationship with Gale in favor of a firm with stronger city ties. “They wanted to go with a firm like ours that has a strong presence in New York,” Taub tells GlobeSt.com, adding that I/ESG’s solid relationships with local unions and “strength in purchasing could assist them in completing improvements for the property. So they decided Gale didn’t really have the strength that they had hoped for in this market.”

“Our objective was to hire manager with a dominant New York presence, which Insignia/ESG certainly offers,” agrees Robert Obringer, director of real estate for Sumitomo.

Insignia scored a major victory in December when it beat out every major firm in town for the management and leasing contracts of its headquarters property: the 2.8 million-sf MetLife Building (formerly the Pan Am Building), and the 425,000-sf MetLife-owned Fred F. French Building, 551 Fifth Ave. (See original story.) Insignia’s contract’s on the properties took effect in January.

“This continues our track record this year in winning bids for such world-class properties as the MetLife Building,” says Popkin, who adds that I/ESG is hoping to garner additional management assignments.

Built in 1972 by architects Emory Roth & Sons PC, 600 Third occupies the entire block between 39th and 40th Streets. In addition to Sumitomo, which occupies six floors in the building, other tenants include Court TV, Loral Corporation, and L3 Communication. Ground floor retailers are Au Bon Pain, Federal Express and Kinko’s of Manhattan.

Calls to CBRE and the Gale Co. were not returned.

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