REBNY names FAO Schwarz and Peloton leases as retail deals of the year

June 13, 2018

An iconic toy store relaunching their flagship at Rockefeller Center and a modern fitness company moving into 5 Manhattan West earned the Real Estate Board of New York’s 2017 retail honors.

During REBNY’s 20th Annual Retail Deal of the Year Awards, 18 retail transactions were in the running for the most significant and the most ingenious retail deals of the year. FAO Schwarz’ revival at 30 Rockefeller Plaza was deemed the most significant retail deal while Peloton, the popular indoor cycling brand, moving in 5 Manhattan West was awarded with most ingenious retail deal of the year.

After FAO Schwarz shuttered its longstanding Fifth Avenue location in 2015, many mourned the boutique children’s store’s demise. But they’re now opening their new 24,000 s/f flagship at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, owned by Tishman Speyer. Cushman & Wakefield’s executive director Kenji Ota and director Neil Seth represented FAO Schwarz.

Ota, who earned the award for the second year in the row, said there were a number of challenges including getting the flagship open in time for the highly profitable holiday season.

“I think with all the negativity that’s come with retail in general, not only nationally but within this city, it shows that retail is still very strong here,” Ota said. “And I think with such an iconic brand and to bring it back, it was such an honor.”

While also significant, Peloton signing a 32,000 s/f lease with Brookfield Properties’ new West Side development was named the most ingenious retail deal in 2017. According to REBNY’s retail committee co-chair Steven Soutendijk, the deal was notable for moving a modern company into an “unproven location in a new location.”

“The deal basically threw up every hurdle you can imagine and both teams managed to overcome them,” Soutendijk said.

Newmark Knight Frank’s executive managing director Benjamin Birnbaum and managing director Ben Shapiro represented Peloton, while JLL represented Brookfield. JLL’s team included executive vice presidents Matthew Ogle and Corey Zolcinski, vice chairmen Patrick A. Smith and Bob Gibson, and managing director Erin Grace.
Birnbaum said that the space was a perfect fit for a tenant like Peloton.

“I think Peloton is an innovative, disruptive brand and companies that are moving to Hudson Yards in the far West Side are similar in their mentality,” Birnbaum said about the deal.

“Working with JLL, Brookfield and the Peloton team, it was a team effort,” Birnbaum said. “Working with Ben [Shapiro] and the Peloton team was the biggest honor, not the accolade.”

Article originally appeared in Real Estate Weekly.
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