Peter Ripka, Todd Cooper and Gene Spiegelman

Peter Ripka, Todd Cooper and Gene Spiegelman


Peter Ripka, Todd Cooper and Gene Spiegelman

Co-Founder; Co-Founder; Vice Chairman and Principal at Ripco Real Estate

Last year's rank: 91

Peter Ripka, Todd Cooper and Gene Spiegelman
By July 27, 2020 9:00 AM

“A $9,000 commission or a $900,000 commission; we value that,” said Gene Spiegelman, partner and vice chairman of Ripco Real Estate. “Every time a deal gets done, it gets posted throughout the firm, and we are always thanking our brokers. In 2019, all credit goes to our brokers. From nail salons and liquor stores to the Manhattan Target expansion, our brokers were dialed in.”

While Spiegelman admitted that “2019 was not a banner year for traditional retail leasing,” Ripco’s focus and adherence to its business plan would prove to be invaluable once the pandemic hit. A part of that business plan had been to add technology and data, which provided a foundation for the firm, which numbers 75 brokers among its 106 employees, to pivot in the pandemic. “Receivables, payables and data management are in the cloud,” Spiegelman noted. “Business development materials, property leasing collateral, and tenant representation materials were all online. As a result, we were able to migrate over to a sight-unseen business pretty quickly.”

The other factor in favor of Ripco, named after co-founders Peter Ripka and Todd Cooper, was its tenant mix. “We work with essential retailers,” Spiegelman said. “We never quite defined it like that, but … one of our biggest clients is Target. One of our biggest clients is Best Buy. We do a tremendous amount of work with pharmacies. We do work with liquor stores. We’re working with tenants who are in business.”

Indeed, just last month Target announced two new small-format stores in Manhattan. The retailer signed a 20-year lease for the 55,614-square-foot space that Barnes & Noble is exiting on the corner of East 86th Street and Lexington Avenue, and a 23,362- square-foot lease at 795 Columbus Avenue. Ripco represented the retailer in both deals.

“There have been some really stressful, anxiety-ridden days, and there’s more to come, unfortunately,” Spiegelman said. “But we got through this because we were committed. Since March 13, when we shut down, we’ve had exactly one broker move on into another career, one. We have a committed, optimistic, and experienced group of professionals.”—A.R.

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