The broker repping 1 Vanderbilt has spent years proving doubters wrong

What’s your secret sauce for getting tenants?

I’m a pretty down-to-earth person. I’m not salesperson-y, and I like to get into the nitty-gritty of deals. I show people that I’m going to be reading the lease and being really careful.

I’ve never been someone who is the cool broker. I’m going to be the one who is working late to get the deal done.

How did you start repping 1 Vanderbilt?

I worked on Related’s buildings at 10 and 55 Hudson Yards. From the success of those deals, Bob Alexander [tristate chairman at CBRE] brought me on.

In the beginning, it was a lot of cold-calling tenants and companies that SL Green executives knew would be open to deals. We were calling brokers who represented these high-end tenants. It started with us doing a lot of outbound work, and it shifted to us getting inbound calls.

When we first marketed 1 Vanderbilt, we sat in SLG’s offices in the Graybar Building and we had all these amazing visuals of what the space would look like. When it finally came to fruition, we took some potential clients to the building. Having people see the finished product is awesome.

There were tenants who started discussions when the building was a hole in the ground. And transitioning to them seeing it in real life, that’s just really rewarding.

Activity really picked up once people could experience the building in person—which was unmatched both in terms of the glass and steel structure and the tenant experience.

How did you celebrate your first big deal?

One of my first big deals was with a bank that was completed at the end of 2017. It was 350,000 square feet in Midtown. They were taking almost a full building, so it was a net lease. We knew that the bank wanted to move more people to Midtown, and we had been looking for the right place for them.

I’m definitely a saver, so I didn’t do anything other than go out to dinner with friends.

What’s a complicated deal you worked on?

[The bank deal] was definitely the most complicated transaction that I’ve ever worked on. The lease was hundreds of pages long, and you have a bunch of milestones the landlord has to meet to get the tenant in on time.

I was in charge of the exhibits, which are the duties for a landlord, like HVAC specifications, what the signage is going to look like. There were, like, 40 of them. We were supposed to close the deal far enough before Christmas, but deals always take longer than you think. We were moving the bank from somewhere else in the city, and they needed it done by a certain time. But because the entire building was being reclad, the construction made the deal very complex.

Right before we closed, I had the flu and was on a flight back from California. I was looking through the exhibits, making sure everything was in order.

That’s what I remember most from that deal. It took over six months, but it had been a very long time in the making. We closed before the end of the year.

Who is your favorite client?

I love working with law firms because they see the value of being in the office. Most of them value the work we do in negotiating their contracts as well.

I also love working with nonprofits. They are so appreciative of what we do because it’s so different from what they do.

Landlords who don’t focus exclusively on New York and have access elsewhere come to us for advice in New York and are very fun to work with because you’re painting the picture of the New York market for them.

There are landlords, like SL Green, who own almost exclusively in New York. And then I have landlords like the Tamares Group, who own 1500 Broadway, and it’s their only asset in the city.

It’s not like they’re seeing thousands of New York deals. The asset manager is looking to us to tell him what’s going on in a specific submarket.

What do you think the future holds for the city’s office market?

There is no replacement for in-person interaction and no comparison to the amazing energy of New York City. I’m confident that the office market will reflect that. Tenants will continue to be attracted to buildings where landlords have invested in the things that help employers attract and retain top talent, such as the lobby experience, tenant amenities and natural daylight. Those buildings that haven’t prioritized those things will languish.

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