Ira Schuman & David Carlos Win REBNY Most Ingenious Deal of the Year

10 April 2017

Savills Studley, the leading commercial real estate firm specializing in tenant representation, is pleased to announce that Ira Schuman, Executive Vice President, and David Carlos, Senior Managing Director, were the recipients of REBNY’s “Robert T. Lawrence Memorial Award” for their work with the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). The award, which is presented annually to brokers who have demonstrated, “resourcefulness and originality in solving difficult problems in property negotiation,” was presented at the organization’s Annual Sales Brokers Committee’s Cocktail Party.

The team’s submission was entitled, “Repositioning Real Estate or Reimagining the Promise Land? How Savills Studley Helped Jewish Theological Seminary Transform Its Campus for the 21st Century.” The award-winning transaction involved the transformative repositioning of the JTS campus in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights. Through three years of analysis, negotiation, and large leaps of faith, Carlos and Schuman unlocked tremendous value in the nonprofit’s 300,000 square feet of unused development rights and other off-campus properties, raising $131 million to help JTS reimagine its campus to meet its growth, financial, and modernization needs.

What started off as a capital campaign to renovate the institution’s library, evolved, by way of the brokers’ ingenuity and tenacity, into an ambitious portfolio-wide plan. The multi-tiered solution—comprised of multi-party sale and leaseback transactions with Esplanade Partners and Savanna, a never-before-achieved tax lot subdivision on land with an existing building, the actualization of existing open space to solve the site’s zoning puzzle, the expansion of the campus’s green space by over 50 percent, and the simultaneous closing of contracts with necessary provisions for 543 West 122nd Street, 3060 Broadway, and 415 West 120th Street—paved the way for the construction of a new 100,000-square-foot, on-campus building consisting of a library, conference center, and dormitory, with millions left for the nonprofit’s endowment.

“The challenge was to find a solution that would address all of JTS’s operational concerns and convince the Board to look beyond the already-approved fundraising campaign that would address only one concern,” said Carlos. “In analyzing the entire JTS portfolio and executing a set of complex, long-term real estate transactions, we created the best case scenario for all parties. It is an honor to be recognized by our peers for completing such a challenging and multifaceted deal.”

Carlos and Schuman previously won REBNY’s Edward S. Gordon Award for Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Award in 2014 for their work with Congregation Habonim, and along with their partner Daniel O. Horowitz, the organization’s Henry Hart Rice Award for Most Ingenious Deal of the Year in 2010 for their work with City University of New York.

“We are thrilled to see Ira and David recognized for their hard work, ingenuity and persistence in helping JTS accomplish their goals, something Savills Studley strives to achieve at the highest level for all clients,” said Mitchell Steir, CEO of Savills Studley. “We congratulate Ira and David on this tremendous achievement.”

"Throughout every stage of our project, David and Ira thoughtfully navigated our team and our Board through the ups and downs of our three year journey,” said Marc Gary, Vice Chancellor of JTS. “Their ingenuity and tenacity helped us to reimagine the JTS campus and resulted in a successful project that will transform our institution."

 
 

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