NREI honors the industry's best On May 4, some of commercial real estate's best and brightest gathered at New York's Rihga Royal Hotel to attend The Third Annual NREI Leadership Awards. Established by the publishers and editors of NREI and sponsored by Arthur Andersen LLP, the awards celebrate the leading companies, individuals and deals of the year in commercial real estate, voted on by the readers of National Real Estate Investor.

Some 8,000 ballots listing nominees chosen by the editors for each of the 11 categories were mailed to a random selection of NREI readers. Responses were sent to Arthur Andersen, which tabulated the votes.

In welcoming the elite gathering to the awards program, Publisher Kris Hoefer thanked Arthur Andersen for its dedication to the Leadership Awards concept and for tabulating the ballots.

Also extending welcome, Editorial Director Matthew Valley said, "We're pleased to be given the opportunity to recognize in a special way the achievements of some of the leading companies in commercial real estate.

"Each year as we begin the process of identifying the top companies in each category," Valley said, "we are impressed by the number of excellent candidates worthy of consideration for these awards. The winners tend to share certain characteristics: They're bold, they're creative and they take calculated risks."

Managing Editor Nancy Bistritz introduced Gary Lenz, worldwide director of the Real Estate and Hospitality Services Group of Arthur Andersen, whose background includes more than 30 years of experience in real estate, appraisal and valuation. In his welcoming remarks, Lenz noted Arthur Andersen LLP's global perspective on real estate: The firm employs more than 2,000 professionals in 81 countries.

The Leadership Awards were presented by several partners or directors of Arthur Andersen, including Gary Lenz, and by NREI editors Matt Valley and Nancy Bistritz. A list of the winners is on this page and a summary of each winner follows.

Top Financial Institution Bank of America

Top REIT Equity Office

Top Hotel Firm Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.

Top Retail Firm Simon Property Group

Top National Brokerage Firm CB Richard Ellis

Top Multifamily Firm Equity Residential Properties

Top Industrial Firm Koll Development Co.

Top Office Firm Equity Office & Trammell Crow Co. (tie)

Top Technology Firm Argus Financial Software

Top Deal of the Year Hilton Hotels/Promus Hotel Corp.

Top CEO of the Year Matthew Banks Lend Lease Real Estate Investments Inc.