TIAA-CREF's 475 Fifth Avenue Receives Distinguished Achievement Award from Commercial Property Executive

New York, July 2, 2015 — TIAA-CREF, a U.S. financial services organization and one of the world’s leading real estate investors, has been recognized by Commercial Property Executive (CPE) as the winner of their 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award in the “Most Effective Redevelopment” category for its office and retail property located at 475 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
The winners of the fifth annual CPE Distinguished Achievement Awards represent the leading edge of deal-making and design in the commercial real estate market today, innovating and overcoming challenges to achieve successful, creative projects, programs and transactions. The winners were evaluated in nine categories, and a judging panel made up of seven industry experts selected the honorees.
"This recognition is wonderful validation after having taken on an extensive redevelopment of a long-underutilized property,” said Gerry Casimir, Managing Director and Head of Asset Management for TIAA-CREF Global Real Estate. "We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the project and are receiving positive feedback in terms of leasing activity, and now, this coveted award from CPE.”
“Over the years, CPE’s Distinguished Achievement Awards have highlighted many significant accomplishments, including trend-setting efforts in the face of adversity from the local to the global level,” observed CPE Editorial Director Suzann Silverman. “Our independent panel of judges found the renovation of 475 Fifth Avenue to be just such a project, given the opportunity, the property’s location, the relocation of the entryway and other upgrades and sustainable efforts.”

About the Property

475 Fifth Avenue first opened its doors on Manhattan’s most prestigious thoroughfare in 1926.  Boasting a Neo-Gothic revival design, the building was designed by renowned architectural firm Starrett & Van Vleck which designed other iconic Fifth Avenue properties such as the Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue buildings.
On the exterior, the building flaunted decorative features reminiscent of Neo-Gothic design, including the ever-popular gargoyles that were evocative of the era, and the building became an early destination for the fashion-conscious apparel tenants of the era.

About the Redevelopment

TIAA-CREF acquired 475 Fifth Avenue in 2011 (co-owner Norges Bank Investment Management invested in the property in 2013) and embarked on an ambitious plan to fully modernize it by creating a state-of-the-art business environment, while maintaining its historic architectural distinction.
The intensive capital improvement plan included restoration of the original brick and limestone masonry, a fully redesigned lobby, and most notably, the repositioning of the main entrance from Fifth Ave to 41st Street, which required the removal of a main supporting column within the building’s lobby. Transitioning the lobby to 41st street maximized the prime retail space on Fifth Avenue, which also underwent a complete renovation.
The fully transformed 475 Fifth Avenue was unveiled in 2014, achieving the intended balance between preservation and modernization. The architectural details of the building facade were restored to their turn-of-the-century elegance, while a bold, minimalist design revitalized the building’s interiors and common areas. The property is currently 67% leased (compared with 13% at time of purchase). The building’s floor plates, coupled with incomparable views and outdoor spaces, have attracted tenants from a variety of industries, including finance, technology and media. A portion of the retail space has been leased to Japanese retailer Muji, which will open later this year.
More information at


TIAA-CREF ( is a national financial services organization with $866 billion in total assets under management (as of 03.31.15) and is the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.

About TIAA-CREF Global Real Estate

TIAA-CREF Global Real Estate is the real estate investment and management business of TIAA-CREF. As the nation’s largest manager of U.S. institutional tax-exempt real estate assets* with approximately $56 billion in assets under management, investment vehicles include directly owned properties, joint ventures, mortgages, REITs and funds. TIAA-CREF originated its first commercial mortgage in 1934 and began direct investment in commercial real estate in 1947 and has deep exposure in the office, retail, industrial and multifamily sectors. The global platform also includes the London-based wholly-owned subsidiary TH Real Estate, a leading investment management company specializing in real estate equity and debt investment worldwide. TH Real Estate has $26 billion in assets under management across approximately 50 funds and mandates, bringing the combined worldwide assets under management for TIAA-CREF Global Real Estate and TH Real Estate to over $82 billion (as of 03.31.15).

Press Contact

*According to Pensions & Investments, Real Estate Managers ranking, October 27, 2014
TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc., and Nuveen Securities, LLC, Members FINRA and SIPC, distribute securities products.