Damianos Realty Group won an award for its work on 1377...

Damianos Realty Group won an award for its work on 1377 Motor Pkwy. in Islandia. Credit: Alexandra E. Damianos

Commercial real estate brokerage Damianos Realty Group of Smithtown took a Long Island building that looked like "it could've doubled as a set for 'Miami Vice' " and turned it into a luxe office space.As a result, the firm took home the developer of the year award at the 24th annual Long Island Real Estate Dinner last week. 

The event last week, hosted by the Association for a Better Long Island and the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society, was held at the Heritage Club at Bethpage. 

Damianos Realty  earned the award for its "purchase, renovation and successful reinvention" of a commercial building at 1377 Motor Pkwy. in Islandia, said Kyle Strober, executive director of the Association for a Better Long Island. 

The company invested some $12 million in renovations in the 170,00-square-foot building, transforming it from a nearly vacant office center into a structure that is now about 96 percent leased. 

X. Cristofer Damianos, principal at Damianos Realty, said he appreciated the recognition from his peers. 

"When we started the project, the walls were painted in awful neon pinks and greens, there were 70-foot-high palm trees and an old waterfall in the lobby that made everything smell musty."

Also at the Wednesday dinner, two commercial real estate brokerages shared the "most ingenious deal of the year" award. The honor was presented to Scott Berfas and Jack O'Connor, of Newmark Knight Frank, and David Pennetta and Kyle Burkhardt, of Cushman & Wakefield, for the $12 million sale of a 43,600-square-foot industrial property in Melville.

A view of 1377 Motor Pkwy. in Islandia before the...

A view of 1377 Motor Pkwy. in Islandia before the building was renovated. Credit: Alexandra E. Damianos

The four worked on the deal for 336 S. Service Rd. between buyer Haugland Group and seller Harvest Real Estate Services. Strober said the brokers were able to revamp the site, turning an industrial warehouse into office space. 

"The Haugland Group, whose business is mostly west of Long Island, was considering leaving the region for New Jersey," he said. "But this re-imagination of the space convinced the company to stay here." 

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