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NEW YORK CITY-Newmark Knight Frank has taken on the office leasing assignment at the Empire State Building after CB Richard Ellis resigned the account yesterday. CBRE’s NKF principal William G. Cohen is the new director of office leasing at 350 Fifth Ave., while CBRE’s Andrew Goldberg will continue to handle retail leasing at there, W&H Properties announced Thursday.

In a release, W&H says NKF got the assignment for the 2.8-million-square-foot office icon based on its track record with other properties in the W&H portfolio. Cohen is also director of leasing for One Grand Central Place earlier this year, and NKF also leases 1333, 1350, 1359 and 1400 Broadway. “The entire Newmark team understands our portfolio and has been critical to the success of the W&H brand,” says Anthony E. Malkin, president of Malkin Holdings, which supervises the portfolio, in the release.

Crain’s New York reported last week that CBRE gave up the account after Stephen Eynon, who was director of leasing at 350 Fifth, left the firm to join Jones Lang LaSalle. A CBRE spokesman aays the firm has no comment beyond a statement enumerating its accomplishments at the landmark office tower.

“We are very proud of the role we have played in the Empire State ReBuilding program,” according to CBRE’s statement. On Eynon’s watch, nearly 600,000 square feet was leased to full, partial and multi-floor tenants, including fragrance company Coty and the FDIC.

The number of tenants there has been reduced by nearly half, going from 560 in early 2007 to fewer than 300 today, in line with W&H’s program of consolidating the property’s tenancy in conjunction with a $500-million repositioning program. “We wish Empire State Building Co., the best of luck and ongoing success, and will do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition of our responsibilities,” according to CBRE’s statement.

At One Grand Central Place, Cohen has similarly stepped up the pace of tenant consolidation, signing five full-floor tenants in the property’s tower since becoming leasing director in January. He has also signed more than a dozen mid-sized users at the base of the building, the release states.

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