April 1, 2021
Commercial Observer Power 100
By: Lauren Elkies Schram –
Savanna notched more than 500,000 square feet in leases in its roughly 7 million-square-foot portfolio over the last year. And it was the completion of ongoing work on several of the buildings that positioned the firm to capitalize on the office leasing recovery in the second half of 2021.
Last year “saw a surge of leasing across our portfolio, especially in our Midtown buildings located around Grand Central and Penn Station,” Nicholas Bienstock said. At 5 Bryant Park, The TJX Companies, owner of T.J.Maxx, HomeGoods and Marshalls, renewed its 74,547-squarefoot office lease, and insurance brokerage HUB International renewed its 33,503-square-foot lease.
Sustainability has been a focus of the firm, and it’s in the process of performing sustainability upgrades at 521 Fifth Avenue and 5 Bryant Park. The company, led by Bienstock and Christopher Schlank, has earned the WELL Health-Safety Rating for its entire New York City portfolio. And Savanna earned five-star ratings for multiple investment vehicles on the 2021 GRESB (a real estate sustainability benchmark) survey. Bienstock high-lighted that while Savanna’s peers achieve high scores by buying new buildings, Savanna will “often buy well located, older, inefficient properties and upgrade the infrastructure to create much more efficient buildings.”
Applying that in-house, Savanna established a new propertymanagement oversight unit ensuring “that Savanna is taking a holistic, streamlined approach to property operations, and that Savanna assets are managed in a strategic and uniform manner,” the company touted.
On the diversity, equity and inclusion front, Savanna partnered with law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth in mentoring students through Project Destined, which teaches students the fundamentals of commercial real estate. And, this year, the firm launched The Savanna Women’s Initiative, a professional learning and mentorship program focused on business and personal success for women. The initiative hosted several internal and external educational and networking events.
Outside Gotham, Bienstock said the firm “put together a spectacular assemblage through 17 separate acquisitions in West Palm Beach totaling almost four water-front acres on the Intracoastal inlet facing Palm Beach.” The firm is building at the site a 1.6 million-square-foot residential project with 330 condominiums and 200 apartments.