We’d welcome your feedback! Click here to take a brief Customer Satisfaction Survey to let us know how we can improve your experience.
Skip to main content

Negotiating Commercial Leases 2019


Speaker(s): Alan M. Di Sciullo, Christine Chipurnoi, Elizabeth J. Shampnoi, Gerald R. Uram, James A. Fenniman, John Busey Wood, Joseph Fabrizi, Kelly Merino, Marc E. Betesh, Meyer Last, Michael A. Marra, Michael E. Meyer, Mindy Novack, Nancy Ann Connery, Paula K. Konikoff, Robert J. Bergson
Recorded on: Feb. 28, 2019
PLI Program #: 252232

Alan Di Sciullo, Esq.  is Director of Global Real Estate for Shearman & Sterling LLP.  In that capacity, he directs the firm’s worldwide real estate portfolio.  He has been a Senior Vice President with a major global banking organization working on its corporate real estate merger and acquisitions activities and was of counsel with a New Jersey law firm.  He clerked on the United States Tax Court for the Hon. John H. Sachs. The large portion of his career was with Morgan Stanley as a First Vice President and Senior Counsel where he was responsible for its real estate transactions and related litigation. Among the transactions Mr. Di Sciullo did at Morgan Stanley included the largest leases at the original World Trade Center totaling over 1.2 million sf and the claims and relocations following the 9/11 attack on the Towers, the development of the 600,000 sf Discover Card Headquarters in Riverwoods, Il., and over 200,000 sf for Dean Witter Trust’s headquarters in Harborside Plaza, Jersey City, NJ.

Mr. Di Sciullo has been active in civic and professional activities. He was a member of President Reagan’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control (the Grace Committee) and was elected a fellow of the American College of Real Estates Lawyers (ACREL) in 2003. He currently is Section Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Real Property Trust & Estate (RPTE) Section with an expectation of chairing that Section in 2021. He has been a member of that Section’s Council and Planning committees and was a long-serving co-chair of the Group’s and Substantive Committee, Office Leasing Committee and various other lease-related committees. He had served as President of the New York chapter of the International Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives (NACORE), was a director on that organization’s international board of directors and was president-elect of its educational affiliate, the Institute of Corporate Real Estate. He served as an advisory member on the New York chapter of its successor organization, CoreNet Global. He chaired the West Windsor Planning Board between 1993 and 1997 and received numerous leadership and planning awards in that position.  He served as a director on the New Jersey Planning Officials board from 1996 to 2014. 

Mr. Di Sciullo is a co-author of a 2500 page treatise Negotiating and Drafting Office Leases (Law Journal Seminars-Press 1995), which is in its forty-fifth supplement.  He has been a frequent author and speaker on commercial real estate issues.

Mr. Di Sciullo is an adjunct Professor at New York University’s Schack Masters in Real Estate program and recently was honored for 25 years of service to the University. He has received NYU’s Outstanding Teaching and Services awards. He has also served on CoreNet Global’s MCR program faculty and has received several Outstanding Faculty awards from that Institute.

Mr. Di Sciullo has an undergraduate degree in Government and Economics (cum laude) from Georgetown University and his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center in law.  He also received an M.B.A. in finance from New York University.

He is listed as a Super Lawyer (2008) and in Who’s Who in America and the World and in companion publications for American Lawyers, Finance and Emerging Leaders.


Gerald R. Uram is a partner in Davis & Gilbert’s Real Estate Practice Group. He was also chair of the Real Estate Practice Group for 38 years, after formally establishing the group in 1974. Under his leadership, the practice received prominent recognition by publications that cover the legal industry, including Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and Best Law Firms.  

Mr. Uram has handled headquarters leases for a number of major companies, including MasterCard International, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Saatchi & Saatchi, MONY, The Segal Company, Meredith Corporation, the Associated Press, Lehman Brothers, Boston Consulting Group and the National Football League, among others. Mr. Uram also represents a number of New York City landlords, including 140 Broadway, TF Cornerstone Inc., Oxford Properties Group, Westbrook Partners, Savanna Fund, American Realty Advisors and Kato International.

Mr. Uram has been recognized as a leading real estate lawyer for ten consecutive years by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2009-2018). Mr. Uram was also recognized by The Legal 500 United States in the area of real estate (2013-2016). In addition, Mr. Uram has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America in real estate law for nine consecutive years (2011-2019) and was selected as a Super Lawyer by New York Metro Super Lawyers from 2006-2018 (Top 100 in 2008-2013, and 2015).

He has also acted as an expert witness in several cases, including on behalf of Avon in its litigation with its former landlord, and Bates Advertising in its litigation with its landlord regarding free rent penalties for late delivery. Both Avon and Bates Advertising were successful in the actions.  Mr. Uram has lectured on commercial leasing practice before the Real Estate Board of New York and at New York Law School.

REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

Represented Mayer Brown LLP in its lease at 1221 Avenue of the Americas in New York City; represented the National Football League in the relocation of its headquarters in midtown Manhattan; represented J. Crew in the surrender of its lease at 770 Broadway and its sublease with Bank of New York Mellon at 225 Liberty Street; and represented TF Cornerstone in its lease to Discovery Communications at 230 Park Avenue South.


John Busey Wood is a member of the commercial real estate group in the New York City office of the national law firm Akerman LLP and advises public and private companies on national real estate transactions, development of mixed use and retail projects, retail centers and portfolio property master and ground leasing. For over 40 years Mr. Wood has represented owners and tenants in the design and negotiation of commercial leases covering in excess of 100 million square feet of retail, industrial, office and mixed use projects. These experiences, coupled with a unique blend of professional disciplines, resulted in his being featured on the Wall Street Journal Report and in articles on the impact of commercial leases on commerce and being referred to by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times as “the father of the modern killer lease.” His has extensive national experience in developable land, property acquisitions, and large scale retail and office developments.  He is a noted authority on ground leases and sale/leasebacks and helped lead a national team on a purchase, sale and master lease transaction involving 327 super market properties. Among noteworthy projects, Mr. Wood directed the legal team in a national portfolio acquisition with a value in excess of $2 billion and he participated in the development, leasing and financing of over 4 million square feet of regional shopping malls and retail centers nationwide. He negotiated what is considered the largest ground/space lease transaction of its kind in the history of New York City, containing more than 1.6 million square feet and including “fast-track” reconstruction, construction financing, permanent financing and options for fee acquisition. Mr. Wood is a licensed Class “A” commercial real estate broker, a Certified Public Accountant and holds B.B.A. (Accounting and Economics), M.B.A. (Accounting and Finance) and J.D. degrees.

Mr. Wood frequently lectures on commercial leasing, transaction structuring and master leasing at Columbia University-ISDE Graduate Law and Economics Program and at the New York University Graduate School and Schack Real Estate Institute. He also lectures at PLI, where he is the New York and national Chairman of the Milton Friedman Leasing Lectures, and at the executive and annual meetings of the ABA and AICPA.  Mr. Wood has frequently served as a “party selected” and Federal arbitrator and is an American Arbitration Association - National Neutral - Commercial Panelist. 

Mr. Wood is the senior author of the national treatise Negotiating and Drafting Office Leases, published by Law Journal Seminars-Press and supplemented 2 times per year ©1994. He is the author of the textbook, Navigating The Dangerous Shoals of a Commercial Lease, published by New York University Graduate School, ©1992-2012 and hosts the commercial leasing educational websites officeleasingusa.com and leasingnyc.com which are utilized to supplement his lectures. Mr. Wood is listed in Who's Who In Law and Registry of Global Business Leaders and NY Super Lawyers 2004-2018.  Mr. Wood is AV Preeminent® peer rated by Martindale-Hubbell and was peer-nominated and elected an American Bar Foundation Fellow.


Joseph A. Fabrizi is a nationally recognized commercial real estate broker and consultant at CBRE, Inc.  Mr. Fabrizi joined CBRE in 2012 from Cushman & Wakefield, where he had worked since 1986.  During his long career, he has leased and sold buildings throughout New York City, the U.S. and worldwide with a total aggregate value of over $10 billion.

In his more than 31 years of experience, Mr. Fabrizi has served as a broker and consultant to some of America’s foremost corporations, financial institutions and law firms. Specializing as both a national account representative as well as a local expert of the New York City Midtown market, he is regarded as a premier real estate professional. 

In addition to his local, Manhattan-based clientele, Mr. Fabrizi also specializes in cross-border representation of worldwide companies.

Professional Affiliations / Accreditations

  • Member, Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce
  • Member, Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY)
  • Former Chairman, The March of Dimes, Long Island Chapter
  • Member, The Columbus Citizens Foundation
  • Board Member, Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation

Education

  • New York University, Master of Science in Commercial Real Estate Investment and Development
  • St. John’s University, Bachelor of Arts in Economics & Finance


Marc Betesh is the founder and president of KBA Lease Services. He conceived the idea of lease auditing in 1985 and in the same year introduced it to the corporate real estate community. Mr. Betesh is considered to be one of the country’s leading experts on lease language construction, lease expenses and effective lease negotiation strategies.

Mr. Betesh is also the founder and CEO of Visual lease, one of the nation’s top lease accounting and lease administration software systems.  Visual Lease is used by hundreds of leading corporations worldwide.

Mr. Betesh has been consistently ranked among the “top- ranked faculty” at Corenet Global Learning and is a frequent lecturer on lease topics at New York University’s

Real Estate Institute, American Bar Association, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, New York State Society of CPA’s, ICSC, and the Institute of Internal Auditors.

Professional Associations/Licenses

Member of the New York and New Jersey Bars

Member of CoreNet, AECRE, ICSC, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, New York State and American Bar Associations

Education
JD, Georgetown University

BA, Temple University

Selected Publication Titles
Negotiating CAM Costs – A Presentation to ICSC Lease Administration vs. Lease Auditing Commercial Lease Occupancy Cost Measurement Expense Escalation Caps
Lease Auditing: What Is It and How Does It Work? – March 2005 Eliminating Operating Expense Pass-Throughs from Smaller Leases How “Grossing Up” Operating Expenses Affects your Lease Costs Cost-Reducing Capital Expenditures
Audit Deadlines Come in All Forms
Sarbanes-Oxley and Control of Corporate Real Estate Leases Capital Expenditures – Includable or Not?
Negotiating Audit Rights in Leases

Selected Publication Titles

Negotiating CAM Costs – A Presentation to ICSC Lease Administration vs. Lease Auditing Commercial Lease Occupancy Cost Measurement Expense Escalation Caps
Lease Auditing: What Is It and How Does It Work? – March 2005 Eliminating Operating Expense Pass-Throughs from Smaller Leases How “Grossing Up” Operating Expenses Affects your Lease Costs Cost-Reducing Capital Expenditures
Audit Deadlines Come in All Forms
Sarbanes-Oxley and Control of Corporate Real Estate Leases Capital Expenditures – Includable or Not?
Negotiating Audit Rights in Leases


Meyer Last is a real estate partner in Fried Frank's New York office. He joined the Firm in 1987 and was named partner in 1991.

Mr. Last has served as lead partner for some of the biggest real estate transactions in New York City involving prominent owners and developers such as Brookfield, RXR Realty, and Tishman Speyer; financial giants such as Citigroup, Bank of America, and UBS; and leading technology companies such as Google and Facebook.  He advises his clients on all aspects of commercial real estate transactions, with a particular emphasis on large commercial leasing for both landlords and tenants.  He has represented one of the parties in the largest leases concluded in New York City for three of the last five years.  Mr. Last’s work also includes advising purchasers and sellers on acquisitions and dispositions, facilitating ground-up developments and commercial condominiums, and arranging financings and restructurings.

Mr. Last’s work in the industry has earned him recognition by Legal 500 as one of New York City’s leading real estate attorneys.  He was recognized as a 2017 Client Services All-Star by BTI Consulting Group, a recognition identified solely and exclusively by corporate counsel. He is regularly quoted by the press on industry trends and has been profiled by The New York Observer and Real Estate Weekly, highlighting his achievements on notable matters and client work.

Mr. Last received his JD, cum laude, from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 1982, where he was an editor of the Law Review.


Michael A. Marra, is Vice President for the Construction Division and has served with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) for more than eighteen years. Mr. Marra was appointed District Vice President of the AAA Philadelphia Office in September 2001.  He is currently responsible for expanding the use of AAA construction ADR services in the Mid-Atlantic and New England States.  In that role, he also interacts with the AAA’s clients who file construction and real estate cases and the neutrals who serve as arbitrators and mediators.   Mr. Marra also has national responsibility for developing the AAA’s construction caseload and works closely with construction industry associations through the AAA’s National Construction Dispute Resolution Committee (NCDRC).  In this capacity, Mr. Marra assists the corporate, legal and public sector communities in educating them on the various construction industry dispute avoidance and resolution techniques and in designing dispute resolution systems to meet their specific needs.  Mr. Marra is a frequent presenter on the subject of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Prior to his appointment as District Vice President, Mr. Marra spent fourteen years in the construction and insurance industries in both operations and sales.  Mr. Marra is a graduate of Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management.


Mike Meyer has developed a national reputation as one of the preeminent leasing attorneys in the United States. He regularly represents many of this country's leading financial institutions, accounting firms and law firms in connection with major lease transactions throughout the United States. Representative of the major leases he has done for tenants recently include City National Bank headquarters lease (525,000 sq.ft. in Los Angeles, CA), Sempra headquarters lease (300,000 sq.ft. in San Diego, CA), Nestle USA headquarters lease (205,833 sq.ft. in Arlington, VA), ICM Partners headquarters lease (111,591 in Los Angeles), and Northern Trust’s headquarters lease (450,000 sq.ft. in Chicago, IL). Recently he won a $5.6 million dollar Fair Market Rental Rate arbitration award for Capitol Records. In 2017, he served as President of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Mike served for ten years as a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) in Los Angeles. He has served as judge pro tem in the Los Angeles Municipal Courts and presently serves as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. He developed the definition of fair market rental rate which, in one form or another, is used in numerous major lease transactions, and has been intimately involved in many arbitrations/mediations involving fair market rental rates.

In 2011, Mike was named Real Estate Lawyer of the Year by the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Mike has been named CoreNet Global's Real Estate Professional of the Year; the Los Angeles Business Journal named him one of the 25 Most Powerful Attorneys in Los Angeles; he was named one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in California by the Los Angeles Daily Journal and the San Francisco Daily Journal.

The respected English legal directory Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business has repeatedly ranked Mike in California's top tier for real estate law.

He has served on the board of directors of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Los Angeles Police Foundation, and LA Sports & Entertainment Commission.

Mike has presented various seminars to BOMA, PLI, State Bar of California and the American Bar Association. He is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.


Mindy C. Novack is an Attorney with over thirty years’ experience in Real Estate, Intellectual Property and Corporate Law.  Since April 2014, Mindy has been the Senior Vice President, Senior Real Estate Counsel at Hudson’s Bay Company the owner of Hudson’s Bay, Zellers, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor.  Prior to that she was Vice President/General Counsel of Loehmann’s.  Ms. Novack was previously Associate General Counsel/Vice President at Warnaco, responsible for Licensing and Intellectual Property; General Counsel at Brooks Brothers where she had many roles, including Vice President of Real Estate, Store Planning and Construction, and Vice President of International; and Real Estate Counsel at Ann Taylor.  From 1988-1992 she was Counsel in the New York Office of Melvin Simon and Associates and was Legal Counsel at CBL and Associates in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Ms. Novack received her B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1981 and her J.D. from Emory University Law School in 1984.


Nancy Ann. Connery is a partner at Schoeman Updike Kaufman & Gerber LLP in New York City, which is one of the largest women-owned law firms in the country.  Her area of concentration is real estate transactions, with an emphasis on commercial leasing.  She is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, former chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Committees on Real Property Law and Condominium and Cooperative Law, a member of the Executive Committee of the Real Property Section of the New York State Bar Association; and the former Chair of the Assignment and Subletting Committee of the Leasing Group of the American Bar Association.  She has been involved in the drafting of a number of Bar Association forms, in some instances as primary drafter, including the New York City Bar Association’s forms of ground lease, sublease, and commercial sales contract; and the New York State Bar Association Real Property Section’s form of Owner’s Rider to the AIA Form of Construction Agreement A107-2007.  She has been regularly included on the New York “Super Lawyers” list.  Ms. Connery has a B.A. degree from Douglass College, an M.S. degree from UCLA, and a J.D. degree from Rutgers School of Law.  She also lived in Brazil for a year.


Robert J. Bergson earned his law degree from Boston University School of Law, where he was honored as a Paul J. Liacos Scholar.  Mr. Bergson received a B.S.B.A. degree in Economics from the University of Denver. Prior to forming AGMB, Mr. Bergson was a founding member of Margolis Bergson LLP.  He was also counsel to Herrick, Feinstein LLP and associated with the international firm of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.  Mr. Bergson’s practice focuses on business and corporate litigation matters, professional liability defense, real estate litigation, business divorce, and products liability defense. He also handles disputes concerning miscellaneous/not-for-profit insurance lines, securities litigation, intellectual property, unfair competition claims and errors and omissions matters.     

Mr. Bergson lives with his wife and three children in Huntington, New York and works primarily from AGMB’s New York City office.

Representative Matters 

  • Won three week jury trial for one of Manhattan’s largest real estate developers concerning action for breach of contract, tortious interference, business defamation, conversion and unjust enrichment.
  • Won 10-day arbitration on behalf of 50% owner in hedge fund business divorce.
  • Won two week bench trial for real estate developer against former corporate officer for breach of contract and breach of duty of loyalty.
  • Won five week arbitration for investor concerning dispute arising from $26 million sale of office building.
  • Successfully defended attorneys in legal malpractice action brought by hedge fund alleging negligent due diligence regarding $60 million private offering.
  • Won motion to dismiss $6 million action against law firm for allegedly failing to advise purchasers of distressed debt about risk of fraudulent conveyance claims.
  • Won motion to dismiss legal malpractice and RICO claims against real estate attorney.
  • Won motion to dismiss action against attorney for allegedviolations of federal banking and privacy laws.
  • Obtained pre-answer dismissal of multimillion-dollar legal malpractice action involving underlying maritime and products liability claims.
  • Successfully represented and defended real estate closing attorneys in connection with civil actions and administrative investigations involving allegations of mortgage related fraud.
  • Negotiated the favorable settlement of a multimillion-dollar action against law firm for allegedly failing to properly pursue judgment collection efforts.
  • Negotiated settlement of multimillion-dollar legal malpractice claim against securities lawyer.
  • Negotiated pre-answer settlement of hedge fund’s legal malpractice claim against law firm arising from alleged conflict of interest concerning private placement.
  • Developed strategy resulting in successful settlement of potential claim for legal malpractice arising from construction litigation.
  • Successfully defended and resolved FDCPA and TCPA claims.
  • Won motion to dismiss claim against coop board of directors for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with board refusal to consent to short sale of unit.
  • Successfully represented and defended multiple community association boards of directors in federal and state court and before administrative tribunals in connection with claims for unlawful discriminatory practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act, the New York Human Rights Laws and other civil and human rights legislation.
  • Defended board of directors against alleged violations of Mitchell-Lama Law.
  • Won pre-answer motion to dismiss fraud, forgery and conversion claims against banking institution and its officers and directors.
  • Obtained dismissals and successful settlements of numerous claims against insurance brokers concerning claims of unfair competition, breach of contract, negligence and tortious interference with business relations.
  • Obtained dismissal of NASD claim against securities broker for unsuitability, breach of fiduciary duty, failure to supervise and fraud.
  • Defended major direct marketer against claims for breach of contract by former employee and product supplier.
  • Successfully defended through appeal real estate contract-vendor in connection with claims for specific performance.
  • Counsel for several former employees of corporation which unsuccessfully sought to enforce restrictive covenant/non-compete agreements.

 

Membership and Affiliations

American Bar Association
Association of the Bar of the City of New York
New York State Bar Association
Claims & Litigation Management Alliance


As an Area Executive Vice President of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co- New York, James is responsible as a sales team leader for client development with a group of veteran and emerging brokers. As a Senior Director of the Construction Practice, he is responsible for all aspects of Construction activities for Gallagher in the New York City office, and works closely with the North East Construction Leader in developing the practice in the metro region.

He received a BS in Economics from Wagner College and his MBA in Risk Management from the St. John’s University Peter J. Tobin Graduate School of Business. After graduate school he studied Scientific Methods of Risk Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation. He currently is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at St. John’s University Peter J. Tobin School of Risk Management, and also participates as a faculty member of the Practicing Law Institute. With over 50 years of experience he remains active in the Real Estate and Construction Industry by participating in many of the local association seminars and conferences.

He was President of the Insurance Brokers Association of the State of New York and continues to serve on its Past Presidents Committee. He also was 1st Vice President and Board Member of The Players Club and now is a Governor of The Squadron A Association. He currently serves on the NY Committee of the Regional Planning Association.


Elizabeth J. Shampnoi is an attorney, consulting expert, independent mediator, arbitrator and trainer based in New York City with 20 years of experience in the field of alternative dispute resolution. Ms. Shampnoi’s focus on alternative dispute resolution began early in her career when she served as the District Vice President of the New York region of the American Arbitration Association. In that role, Ms. Shampnoi was responsible for overseeing case management; mediator and arbitrator recruitment, training and development; and working with in-counsel and law firms to develop and implement dispute avoidance and dispute resolution programs, including internal employment dispute resolution plans. Following her tenure at the American Arbitration Association, Ms. Shampnoi joined a litigation boutique where she represented a diverse range of organizations and individuals before state and federal courts, administrative agencies, and arbitral forums. Ms. Shampnoi also served as settlement counsel. Her practice involved commercial litigation, securities, employment, contract, wage/hour, not-for-profit, intellectual property and real estate disputes on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants. She drafted and reviewed settlement, confidentiality, non-compete, non-disclosure, licensing, work-for-hire, buy/sell and employment agreements as well as domestic and international dispute resolution clauses within such agreements. Ms. Shampnoi has served as in-house counsel providing legal advice surrounding employment and commercial matters with an emphasis on early, internal dispute resolution and costeffective, strategic dispute management.  Currently, in her consulting practice Ms. Shampnoi serves as an arbitration and mediation consulting expert working with advocates to guide them through the dispute resolution process to achieve successful outcomes. Her practice involves, inter alia, providing strategic advice in dispute prevention, early dispute resolution, negotiation strategy, dispute resolution clause drafting, case assessment, the selection of neutrals, advocacy skills, forum selection, rule interpretation/enforcement, case management, and confirming or vacating awards. Ms. Shampnoi also advises concerning the development, implementation and oversight of employer promulgated dispute resolution plans. In her neutral practice, she has successfully mediated over 200 employment and commercial disputes involving all areas of discrimination, sexual harassment, wage and hour, contract, real estate and partnership matters. She has also served as a sole arbitrator and as part of a tribunal in similar matters. Ms. Shampnoi’s success as a neutral is rooted in the breadth of her experience, ability to build rapport and temperament. Maintaining her consulting practice enhances her value as a neutral, keeping her upto- date on legal developments, litigation trends and current practices. Her balanced perspective, broad experience and insights gained from serving as a business executive, advocate and in-house counsel in a wide variety of settings has been the catalyst for her success. Ms. Shampnoi regularly conducts CLE programs, trainings and presentations for advocates, neutrals, business and human resource executives concerning best practices in dispute avoidance and resolution such as clause drafting, conflict resolution, negotiation, advocacy and implicit/unconscious bias.


For over 30 years, Christine has been instrumental in developing, placing and maintaining insurance programs for regional, national and international clients. Christine specializes in property, casualty, professional and loss sensitive insurance programs with special expertise in hospitality, construction, real estate, and retail chains. She is an active member of USI National Real Estate & Construction and Hospitality Practice Groups and leads one of the top teams in the nation.

Christine is a current Board Member of CREW Network and served as the 2015 President of CREW New York, one of the largest organizations for women in Commercial Real Estate.  CREW’s mission is to transform the commercial real estate industry by advancing women globally.  CREW offers unparalleled opportunities in business development, leadership opportunities and networking in the local market and globally across the 10,000 + member base. Christine also served as the President of the Insurance Brokers Association of New York (IBANY) from 2012-2014; in 2012 after a decade of service she became IBANY’s 1st Female President in over 115 years. IBANY represents the interests of New York’s leading insurance brokers by actively supporting legislation and political activities that are in the members’ common interest, fostering advocacy, professional development and networking opportunities. As Adjunct Faculty for the Practicing Law Institute & guest lecturer at NYU Graduate School of Hospitality and the Zicklin School of Business, as well as guest speaker at the New York City Bar Association, Christine speaks on a multitude of insurance related topics.  She also provides insurance education at major law firms and accounting firms. 

Christine is involved in many Real Estate and Insurance industry groups and volunteers for several philanthropic organizations including the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, the American Heart Association, CREW Foundation and the St. Francis Food Pantry. Christine is a Trustee and serves on the Audit & Finance Committee for Housing & Services Inc. a non-profit that provides permanent housing and services for the chronically homeless in NYC.

Christine is the recipient of many awards including the IBANY 2017 Person of the Year, the coveted CREW New York’s most prestigious Founders Award in June, 2017 and The Real Estate Forum’s “Women of Influence” Award in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018; the prestigious Helen M. Garvin Outstanding Achiever Award in 2012 from the National Association of Insurance Women; The St. Francis Food Pantry’s “Woman of Valor” recipient in 2012; NYCREW Avant Garde Award 2013 and Pinnacle Award 2011 and The Wall Street Journal’s Vanguard Professionalism award 2010. She has been nominated for the 2015 Risk and Insurance Power Broker of the Year as well as a multi-year Wells Fargo Winners Circle & USI Peak Award recipient for top new business growth and retention.


Kelly Merino is a Director with CBRE working in New York City on projects throughout the United States. She has been representing building owners and tenants on a wide range of assignments for more than 10 years. Her experience spans from retail prototypes to large commercial tenant fit-outs, build-to-suits, industrial, warehouse, and specialty projects. Kelly has a unique ability to understand the clients’ goals and business and translate their real estate needs to an executable plan. Her strength lies in her ability to build teams that communicate and execute goals on time and on budget. 

Kelly has managed and directed teams on projects from coast to coast. She has spent nearly 20 years working for or on behalf of Fortune 500 firms, REITs, as well as city and state agencies. Her clients range sectors of: banking, media, manufacturing, healthcare, consulting, consumer goods, municipal agencies on all levels – city, state and federal, and many more. 

She spent more than five years representing Bank of America in both developing and renovating properties and two of those years working hand in hand with Bank of America and Jones Lang LaSalle in a master re-design of all project management systems.     

Kelly is an excellent business partner to all her clients. She joined CBRE in 2006 and brought with her an exceptional record of managing projects of all size and shape and seeing them through to successful completion. She has a background in business and spent 10 years in finance and operations before joining the world of real estate. She brings substantial real estate experience to the team and a successful track record working with all project stakeholders, developers, contractors, designers, brokers, and municipal agencies to meet and exceed project expectations. Her skills and attributes combined with her dedication and win-win attitude are valuable assets to the CBRE organization and the clients she represents.

Kelly is a member of Professional Women in Construction and NAHB Construction Management. She has a BS in Finance and Business Management from Plymouth State University and an MBA from Everglades University.

Clients Represented:

  • GE Capital
  • PepsiCo
  • Glenbrook Associates
  • Bank of America
  • Merrill Lynch
  • XEROX
  • City of New York
  • Limited Brands
  • Manatee Healthcare System
  • CIT- Xylem
  • Beacon Capital Partners
  • 650 Fifth Corporation
  • AT&T
  • Nestle
  • Quest Diagnostics
  • Discovery Communications


Ms. Konikoff is a sole practitioner who serves as an arbitrator and provides expert testimony and consulting in real estate litigation and serves as an arbitrator; she holds both a law degree and the Appraisal Institute’s  MAI and AI-GRS designations and she is a member of the AAA and FINRA panels of neutrals. Prior to establishing her independent real estate advisory practice in 1993, Ms. Konikoff was Director of National Real Estate Valuation Services at KPMG. She joined KPMG in 1989 after having served as President of The Hudson Group, a national real estate consulting and appraisal firm. Previously, she was an attorney at the Philadelphia law firm of Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish & Kauffman, where she worked in both the real estate and corporate law practice areas.

Ms. Konikoff has taught graduate and undergraduate level courses on real estate finance, real estate markets and real estate appraisal at both NYU and Columbia University, and she is now an adjunct professor at New York Law School. She is an instructor for the Appraisal Institute as well, where she conducts programs on standards of appraisal practice and professional appraisal ethical rules. In addition, she develops and presents real estate valuation seminars for continuing education credits for CPAs and attorneys. Ms. Konikoff has served as an expert witness in a variety of cases in which real estate valuation and damages issues have come into dispute including, for example, the bankruptcy of Livent, an international owner of live theater properties and has been retained by both plaintiffs and defendants in RMBS (residential mortgage-backed securities) cases where she testified regarding the compliance of thousands of real estate appraisals with appraisal standards. She was also a member and twice Vice-Chair of the Appraisal Standards Board, the congressionally mandated body that promulgates the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

Ms. Konikoff has served as a member of several Appraisal Institute committees and other professional organizations and is the Chair of the Appraisal Institute’s National Professional Standards and Guidance Committee. She is also an active member and a committee member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. She is a frequent speaker and author on appraisal standards and other real property issues and the author of “Appraisers in Arbitration,” published by the Appraisal Institute.