CO’s Top 30 Leasing and Sales Brokers Under Age 30
Thirty can be an extremely fraught age. At 30, a career change is certainly possible, but the many wild possibilities of one’s 20s have been winnowed. Choices become calcified. U-turns more treacherous.
But it’s also an extremely interesting moment.
Thirty is the age where a career tends to flower. Where responsibilities become greater. Where the salaries get better. Where you know the score; or, you don’t.
It’s one of the reasons we picked 30 as the cutoff to see who promised to be the most interesting of the next generation of leasing and sales bigwigs. The candidates submitted by the big firms for this list are young, but they’ve been tested. We’ve seen a little of what they can do. And in many cases, what they can do is extraordinary.
Things work a little differently in finance. At a bank, 35 is closer to the age where one begins to see clearly who knows the score. And even though this is our first year coming up with an Architecture, Construction and Engineering list, we decided to err on the side of older rather than younger (their cutoff is 35, too).
This list contains men and women who have negotiated millions of square feet worth of leases; who have traded billions of dollars worth of real estate; who are designing the transit systems that will last decades into the future. Hats off, class of 2016. We can’t wait to see what your 40s are like.
Harrison Abramowitz, 29
Director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
Since starting at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank two and a half years ago, after a nearly five-year run at RKF, Harrison Abramowitz has had some pretty choice assignments.
He has secured more than 25 new stores on behalf of 7-Eleven as part of the convenience store chain’s Manhattan rollout. He is also working with Arby’s on its Manhattan foray, with the first borough sandwich shop open at 611 Eighth Avenue between West 39th and West 40th Streets and another one under construction on East 23rd Street. He was also part of a team representing landlord Sutton Garrett Realty Associates in securing a deal with Foot Locker for 8,000 square feet at 22 East 14th Street, and he helped represent CVS/pharmacy in a 10,000-square-foot deal at 3534 Broadway between West 144th Street and West 145th Streets.
For that CVS, the brokers combined four adjacent stores with leases expiring within six months of each other.
To come up with that Harlem space, Abramowitz said at the time he was “block-and-lotting certain stretches where I know CVS wants to be.”
For the deal to bring Jollibee, known as “the McDonald’s of the Philippines,” to Manhattan (at Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation’s 609 Eighth Avenue), Abramowitz reached out to Jollibee Food Corporation executives after seeing its company pegged as one to watch via an article mentioned on Twitter. He co-represented the landlord in what became a direct deal.
What’s the secret to his success?
“I’m highly motivated,” Abramowitz said, noting that he is proactive rather than reactive. “A lot of deals I do are off-market deals. It’s a lot of canvassing and making cold calls to landlords and tenants. I enjoy what I do and that helps a lot. I’m in the game for a long time, or I want to be at least.”—Lauren Elkies Schram
Ryan Alexander, 29
Vice President of Advisory and Transaction Services at CBRE
Ryan Alexander likes to be the last guy standing.
He starts his day with a workout at Equinox and then makes his way into the Midtown East offices of CBRE around 8 or 8:30 a.m. He generally doesn’t leave for the day until 7 or 8 at night.
“I try to stay the latest in the office,” the broker said. And the work doesn’t stop there, with cell phones and all.
It’s that drive to excel and to not lose out on deals that has made Alexander successful at a young age.
“At the end of the day, I think it’s hard work,” said Alexander, who in 2011 went through CBRE’s highly competitive Wheel Program for recent college graduates. “It’s putting in hours, like playing sports.”
And he knows about competitive sports, having played on the men’s lacrosse team at the University of Notre Dame, as an undergraduate.
And then of course there’s the fact that he is the son of, and often works with, one of CBRE’s heavy hitters: Robert Alexander, the chairman of the New York tri-state region.
Alexander’s deals have included leasing 193,295 square feet to Boston Consulting Group and 67,000 square feet to Intersection, both at 10 Hudson Yards, as a landlord representative. He nabbed GE Capital as a client through an alumni networking event and leased the company 42,989 square feet at 285 Madison Avenue. And he was instrumental in the deal to bring Bank of America to 388,207 square feet at 101 Hudson Street.
“At my age getting involved in these larger transactions is unique and seeing how these high-level ideas happen at the senior level is pretty cool,” Alexander said.—L.E.S.
Jennifer Bernstein, 29
Director at ABS Partners
Armed with a bachelor’s degree in communications from New York University, Jennifer Bernstein set out for a career in public relations. Her last job in PR was at Goodman Media International. It was three years ago that she realized she had reached the pinnacle of her growth.
“It was good, and I had done well in that path,” Bernstein said, “but I think there’s a ceiling to it. You work really hard and you only make a certain amount of money unless you have your own company. It didn’t have as much potential as real estate does.”
Funny enough, while her father, John Brod, was a partner at ABS Partners, she had never considered a career in real estate. But then her father approached her to join the firm.
Bernstein, a born and bred New Yorker, has spent the last few years in the business and partners with her dad about 80 percent of the time. While he can always “get the deal done,” Bernstein brings to the table a younger person’s sensibility about “who’s cool and what’s the next best thing.”
Over the last year, she had focused on smaller deals in the fast-casual food space. The most buzz-worthy deal Bernstein has done in her career was co-representing Kellogg’s at 1600 Broadway in Times Square for a new permanent cereal bar concept, which opened on July 4. She had been doing a lot of deals for Momofuku, and someone from the company made the necessary introduction.
“It’s exciting to work on something with such notoriety and a deal that is a part of the changing landscape of Times Square,” Bernstein said.—L.E.S.
Alexandra Budd, 28
Leasing Associate at RXR Realty
When talking about one of the Long Island City buildings that she’s leasing out for RXR Realty—the Standard Motor Product Building at 37-18 Northern Boulevard—Alexandra Budd sums up the tenants thusly:
“The vibe of the building is you’ve got the standard office folks, the financial service people, the architects and designers, and an eight-foot-tall Snuffleupagus.”
Yes, one of her tenants is the Jim Henson Company—which makes the Muppets. And that’s just one of the wonders of managing the repositioning and leasing of a building slightly off the beaten track (read: not in Manhattan).
Long Island City has been one of Budd’s big areas of focus since she joined RXR in 2014. In the last 12 months, she has been part of the leasing of 200,000 square feet in three boroughs.
Prior to RXR, the Colgate University graduate who grew up in New Jersey and now lives on the Upper West Side, had been working at what was then Studley, representing tenants. “I knew the industry was for me,” Budd said, “but I knew I wanted to be on the opposite side.”
Why did she want to be on the landlord side of the business?
“It was a bit more of a puzzle,” she said. “I like the aspect of working with various groups; I now get to be involved with property management and construction. I like it a lot more than just cold calling and pitching meetings with prospective tenants.”
Indeed, at 1330 Avenue of the Americas, Budd has gotten to see the construction process up close: from the design phase to putting in the finishes to marketing (she’s also signed more than 45,000 square feet of leases in the building this year). And she’s been part of RXR’s outer-borough kick working on 470 Vanderbilt Avenue (which RXR picked up in 2014 for $194 million and at the time was the second-most-paid-for office space in Brooklyn, according to The Real Deal); the 665,901-square-foot 47 Hall Street by the Brooklyn Navy Yard; and even a foray into residential at 810 Fulton Street, just next door to 470 Vanderbilt Avenue (which Crain’s New York Business first reported in August).—Max Gross
Keat Chew, 25
Associate in Retail Leasing Brooklyn at CPEX Real Estate
It’s knee-buckling enough to have to give an appraisal presentation to SL Green Realty Corp.’s Marc Holliday and Cushman & Wakefield’s Tara Stacom. But imagine having to do it as a college student at Lehigh University, assessing the value of a property in front of the major landlord and top broker, who are also alumni of the school?
That’s where Keat Chew found himself a few years ago, valuing Tishman Speyer’s 520 Madison Avenue for his senior project. He was wrapping up his degree in business and economics, focusing on all aspects of real estate. Chew caught the real estate bug by talking with and visiting family members in Malaysia and Brunei, where they were active in the industry.
He joined CPEX Real Estate right out of college and completed its sales training program in 2014, becoming a salesperson on the mixed-use investment sales team. In May 2015, a position in the brokerage’s retail division opened up, and Chew jumped at the opportunity. “I love it—it’s the best position ever,” he said.
He was part of a three-man team—with Ryan Condren and George Danut—that arranged a 30,000-square-foot lease for Saks Off Fifth at Liberty View Industrial Plaza in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn. In April, the team arranged a 5,000-square-foot lease for ONE15 Marina, which will operate a restaurant at One Brooklyn Bridge Park.
But he said one of the most interesting retail deals he’s done is the recent 2,100-square-foot lease for Pandora Jewelry at 407 86th Street in Bay Ridge because of the options the tenant has with the space. Pandora, with whom he had been speaking for a few months, has the option to use the mezzanine level for extra space, or demolish it to get double-height ceilings. Chew, who solely represented the landlord, said it would add to the growing list of national retailers in the neighborhood. “Retail in Bay Ridge has been growing with more national interest,” he said.—Terence Cullen
Kaunteya Chitnis, 28
Director of Acquisitions and Development at MCR Development
Kaunteya Chitnis’ time at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration gave him the experience he needed to fall in love with his chosen field.
“I took a liking to the real estate program,” said Chitnis, a 2010 graduate. “It combined an operating business with financial fundamentals, and I really liked analysis and digging through fundamentals. I thought this was a really fun thing to do.”
Chitnis interned with Sunstone Hotel Investors in Orange County, Calif. before spending just over a year in Ernst & Young’s transaction real estate program. Doing “all sorts of real estate advisory for a variety of clients,” reinforced for Chitnis that he “really liked investing in interesting assets, and I loved hotels.”
Since joining MCR in early 2014, Chitnis has been responsible for executing all aspects of the firm’s acquisition, development, disposition, capital markets and asset management strategies. To date, he has assisted in the acquisition, financing, closing and asset management of around $380 million in real estate.
Chitnis has been key to MCR’s ability to oversee all aspects of the redevelopment of the TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport, a massive project involving more than 30 government agencies and over 150 firms. Chitnis has been involved in all aspects of this project—which includes a 500-plus-room hotel and over 40,000 square feet of event and meeting space and brought in over $265 million in investment—from the financing to the current property management.
He is also an instrumental player in the management of MCR’s High Line Hotel in Chelsea, another one of MCR’s adaptive reuse projects.—Larry Getlen
Seppi Colloredo-Mansfeld, 26
Associate at Hines
Seppi Colloredo-Mansfeld joined the investment, development and management firm Hines just out of college and has been a key player in several significant endeavors for the company.
Colloredo-Mansfeld is responsible for financial analysis, overseeing leasing and marketing and cost management at Hines. He has been directly involved in the acquisition or disposition of 5.5 million square feet of office assets in Manhattan, with a total valuation exceeding $4.15 billion.
In his first major project for the firm, Colloredo-Mansfeld was actively involved in the development and disposition of the 30-story office development 7 Bryant Park.
“When I started, it was a hole in the ground,” he said. “I was part of a small project team doing anything and everything to complete the successful development of that building. I got to work on leasing and was very involved in the construction process. Then we sold the building to the Bank of China, so I got to be involved in the disposition as well.”
Colloredo-Mansfeld was also essential in the firm’s competitive bid to become operating partner of the Hudson Square portfolio, handling the underwriting and other duties for a $3.55 billion joint venture with Trinity Real Estate and Norges Bank. That roster of properties includes 11 office buildings and around 4.9 million feet of commercial space.
Colloredo-Mansfeld, who has a bachelor of arts in history from Yale University, currently oversees the office leasing for five of those buildings and serves as project manager for the repositioning of four others.—L.G.
Tyler Edwards, 25
Associate of Acquisitions at GFI Capital Resources Group
Tyler Edwards’ family has assisted his real estate career in more ways than one.
Edwards initially developed his interest in real estate while watching his father, a landlord and investor, discuss business.
“I grew up driving to New England with him, stopping in different markets along the way,” he said. “I’d attend meetings with him and listen to calls in the car and learned the basics of the industry during those car rides. I learned the value of relationships, and the excitement of making deals happen.”
Edwards, who has a bachelor of business administration in finance from George Washington University School of Business, joined GFI Capital Resources Group straight out of college, starting out as a junior associate. Now a full associate, he identifies acquisition opportunities for the firm and oversees underwriting and financial analysis, working on the company’s multifamily deal team to develop and acquire garden-style and midrise residential properties.
One recent transaction of his is the purchase of River Market West Apartments, a 137-unit new construction deal in Kansas City, Mo., purchased prior to lease up for around $30 million.
Another deal he did lately is one for which he can again thank his parents. He was visiting them in Boca Raton, Fla., last April when a 212-unit residential property in nearby Deerfield Beach, one town over, caught his eye. He knew some brokers in the area and set up some meetings, and GFI’s purchase of the property closed the day Edwards spoke to Commercial Observer, for an undisclosed amount.—L.G.
Paige Engeldrum, 25
Director at Cushman & Wakefield
Maybe because it was so fresh in her mind, or maybe because it was a truly interesting process, but ask Paige Engeldrum what her best deal was and she answers Entertainment Studios, the 6,000-square-foot lease at 1330 Avenue of the Americas, which closed last month.
“They’re a TV studio based out in L.A., but they had a smaller office [here]—this is the bigger office.”
It was one of the first deals that she worked on, soup-to-nuts, on her own: from understanding the client’s needs to scouting locations to executing the lease.
Of course, since she landed at Cushman & Wakefield two months after she graduated from Hamilton College in 2013, she’s had a hand in plenty of others leases (857,902 square feet’s worth, in fact).
“The first deal I was most involved with was at 9 West 57th Street,” said the Long Island-native, who now lives in the West Village. “I was working with John Cefaly [the executive vice chairman at C&W] on SHL [Sportsware Holdings]. They took one of the floors—but then they expanded to two.” The final 20,000 square feet of space wound up taking part of the top two floors of the building.
Since then, she’s worked on the expansion of Canaccord Genuity at 535 Madison Avenue, where the financial services firm took 66,443 square feet; the relocation of Ashmore Investments to 6,690 square feet at 475 Fifth Avenue; and the expansion of BNP Paribas at 1271 Avenue of the Americas to 55,827 square feet, among others.—M.G.
Matthew Felice, 29
Senior Vice President at JLL
Previously an engineering major at Syracuse University, Matthew Felice quickly shifted gears to pursue a double major in finance and entrepreneurship. But it was his childhood love of architecture that really brought him to the world of real estate.
As a senior vice president at JLL, his mantra is to create efficiency, even if it means downsizing. In an era where deals are celebrated for their size, this may seem unusual. Take his recent deal with Interactive Data, for example.
In 2015, Interactive—a company that provides financial market data—was at 100 William Street in the Financial District and planning to find another office. Felice used JLL’s diverse resources—project and development services as well as the economics team—to guide the client. Interactive ended up staying and downsizing from 67,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet. It also reconfigured its floors and consolidated the team on two floors from three.
“We’re in this for the long game,” Felice said. “Our effort is to make our clients hit their bottom line. We go for long-term relationships versus short-term gains.”
It’s probably this attitude and his track record that got him selected for JLL’s upcoming mentor protégé program. Felice completed 1.1 million square feet of leasing transactions last year and already has 500,000 square feet of closed deals under his belt this year. In 2015, he was nominated for the Real Estate Board of New York’s Most Promising Commercial Salesperson of the Year award.—Rheaa Rao
Jason Greenstone, 29
Director at Cushman & Wakefield
Jason Greenstone learned at least one part of the retail business pretty early on at his uncle’s restaurant.
“I was the guacamole boy at Rosa Mexicana,” Greenstone said.
While he was in high school, he would get up at 6 a.m. and travel from his home in Ridgewood, N.J., to smash avocadoes tableside for diners and not get home until 2 a.m. some nights—a ritual he continued until his first couple of years at Lehigh University.
“It really wasn’t for me,” Greenstone told CO. “When everyone’s having fun, you’re working—when everyone’s working, you’re having fun.”
But at Lehigh, he discovered another part of the retail business that he actually liked: real estate. “I was in the real estate program there—and we would have talks with the Stacom sisters and Marc Holliday.”
Of course, Greenstone graduated at one of the least opportune period in New York City history: 2009. He took a job doing residential real estate for Tungsten Properties, a position which he found listed on Craigslist (his first sale was 105 Reade Street for $10 million). But after switching over to Raphael De Niro’s team at Douglas Elliman and doing a stint at CBRE, he settled at Cushman & Wakefield (he had always been more interested in the commercial side of the business).
Over the past four years since starting at C&W he has taken on some seriously weighty clients with Mike O’Neill (a senior director) and Gene Spiegelman (now vice chair): They took the American Girl Store from its home on Fifth Avenue to 40,000 square feet at RXR’s 75 Rockefeller Plaza earlier this year. “No one expected American Girl—which was a staple of Fifth Avenue—to move. And what was even more interesting was it was a redeveloped building where the retail was leased before the office.”
Their clients have included Muji, Century 21 and Mighty Quinn’s, as well as landlords like RXR.
And if that isn’t enough, Greenstone sits on the board of Pink Agenda, which raises money in the fight against breast cancer (his mother is a survivor) and led C&W’s future leaders group for brokers who were in the business for less than seven years. Sorry, Jason, next year you won’t be a future leader—you’ll be a full-blown one!—M.G.
Tanya Grimaldo, 28
Leasing Coordinator at Durst Organization
A National Basketball League-regulation court isn’t something that is typically on the requirement list for a potential lease. But that was a condition the National Basketball Players Association, the union representing professional ballers, had to have in its 47,294-square-foot lease at 1133 Avenue of the Americas last year.
The deal was one of the most interesting that Tanya Grimaldo has worked on in her three years at the Durst Organization. She was part of the in-house leasing team led by Tom Bow and Rocco Romeo. The lease took a big chunk out of the 285,000 square feet formerly occupied by the Internal Revenue Service.
“Everything flew from there,” she said, referring to the flurry of interest in the old IRS space. “I think it’s most important to get that first deal.”
Grimaldo, who grew up in Sunnyside, Queens, said the same was true for 4 Times Square, where she recently worked on the 82,442-square-foot lease with finance firm ICAP. It was the first tenant to take space vacated last year by media giant Condé Nast when it moved to 1 World Trade Center.
She got her career start in Midtown South, working for Kew Management after graduating from Fordham University. That’s where she got her feet wet working with buildings, followed by a stint at an advertising firm, The Terri & Sandy Solution. Grimaldo said both experiences—one in real estate and the other working long hours on ad projects—prepared her for her current job, where she worked on more than 1 million square feet in leasing over the last year.—T.C.
T.J. Hochanadel, 28
Vice President at JLL
Imagine catching a football pass from Roger Staubach, the legendary quarterback who won two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys. There’s naturally a lot of pressure, even if it’s a touch football game at a corporate retreat. But the pressure increases when Staubach is a top-ranking executive at your company.
That’s the scenario T.J. Hochanadel, who played football at Cornell University, found himself in a few times at a JLL retreat, where Staubach is the lifetime quarterback. “He’s nice about it,” said Hochanadel, a native of Seattle. “But there’s still pressure to put both hands on the ball.”
Hochanadel’s connection to the school’s football alumni group was how, in 2011, he wound up at JLL, where he now works on a team led by Robert Martin.
Last year, Hochanadel was promoted to vice president at the firm. Over the last 18 months, he’s been involved in 44 deals, including the 18,000-square-foot lease for tech firm Olapic at 250 Vesey Street. He’s also contributed to 1 million square feet of space globally in the last year.
Under the leadership of Martin (the real MVP, according to Hochanadel), he works as the day-to-day liaison for companies owned by Blackstone Group. His role is figuring out firms’ real estate needs, including how the they occupy space.
Hochanadel counts learning about what a company does and what it needs from an office as his favorite part of the job.
“Some could have single office locations,” he said of working with Blackstone’s more than 20 companies. “Others could have global portfolios…They all have their own unique challenges.”—T.C.
Emily Jones, 27
Vice President of Advisory and Transaction Services at CBRE
Emily Jones’s father had been in real estate—an industry she said she never thought she’d enter. When her family drove around Saratoga, Calif., she and her sister were seriously disinterested when their father would point to buildings where he had done deals. Today, she finds herself doing the same thing when walking around New York City.
Initially when Jones started in real estate—in the research department of what was then Cornish & Carey Commercial over the summer of her freshman year at Stanford University—she “hated it.” But, she said, “about halfway through I realized I loved real estate—[although] not necessarily suburban real estate.”
What she liked was “urban planning and place-making.” So she picked urban studies as a major (there was no real estate option).
Since starting at CBRE in the highly selective Wheel Program for recent college graduates, Jones has made a name for herself as someone who can handle technical issues.
In a deal to relocate Bank of America to 124,063 square feet at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, Jones was tasked with being the “lease exhibit master.” That meant that she worked with BofA’s project manager, attorney and the landlord, RXR Realty, to ensure that over 50 technical aspects of the lease—from air conditioning and electrical specifications, to the delivery conditions of the floors, terrace and BofA’s private lobby—were addressed to the tenant’s specifications before the space was delivered for tenant buildout.
In the last 12 months, Jones has been a part of 28 deals, totaling 2.6 million square feet, 1.5 million square feet which were related to Hudson Yards.—L.E.S.
Max Kuriloff, 23
Retail Portfolio Manager and Assistant Property Manager at Brodsky Organization
Max Kuriloff knew he wanted a career in real estate by age 12, when his father, a commercial broker for Cushman & Wakefield, would drive him around New York City, looking at properties.
“We would drive around for a couple hours,” Kuriloff recalled, “and he would talk about how buildings were redeveloped and show me buildings he thought could be redeveloped. That’s when I started to find my passion for real estate.”
After internships at Cushman & Wakefield and Brookfield Property Partners, Kuriloff (who holds a bachelors of science from Syracuse University) joined Brodsky Organization, benefitting again from an early look at something special as he was thrown into the massive City Point project in Downtown Brooklyn.
At Brodsky, Kuriloff handles the leasing and marketing strategy for the company’s retail portfolio. He has also served as a key member of the on-site operations team for City Tower, the 440-unit luxury residential building at 10 City Point.
“It’s very cool to be part of something so big. We’re truly changing the neighborhood,” he said. “To see where the neighborhood has gone from then to now, and to know it’s possible to change a neighborhood so dramatically, is a really cool thing to see.”
Kuriloff is also the founder of New York Real Estate Under 30 (NYREU30), a philanthropic networking organization that raises money for The Doe Fund’s Ready Willing & Able program, which helps homeless people get off the streets and find employment. Beginning with 15 members just six months ago, NYREU30 now has over 120.—L.G.
Isaac Mograby, 26
Senior Vice President at Crown Acquisitions
When he was 18 years old, Isaac Mograby ran into Isaac Chera, the head of Crown Acquisitions, at synagogue.
Mograby was looking for a job with some kind of financial background, and he asked Chera to mentor him.
What did he mean he was looking for a job? Chera asked. Didn’t he just start school?
Yes, he had started at Baruch College not too much earlier, but he was in the process of compressing four years into two.
“You seem like a go-getter,” Chera said. And he proceeded to advise him for the next month about the various financial jobs through which Mograby was sifting.
When Mograby settled on a job with a small stock brokerage house, he called Chera to thank him.
“Oh, you got the job?” Chera asked. “Now leave it and come work for me.”
Apparently, Chera had seen enough of the teenage Mograby to decide that he had the spark necessary to do well at Crown. When Mograby protested that he had a cousin who was a residential real estate broker who described to him a job he’d loathe, Chera said, “I hate residential real estate, too—come work for me. I only do commercial.”
So, the next week Mograby took the leap. Eight years later, he has risen to senior vice president of the company as head of boroughs acquisition and leasing. In that time the blue chip brands that Mograby has lured to Crown Properties would impress anybody: CVS, Starbucks, Party City, Adidas, Burger King, Trader Joe’s, Chipotle and Verizon Wireless.
Mograby repositioned the 120,000- square-foot 490 Fulton Street, in Downtown Brooklyn, bringing in retail like Express, Raymour & Flannigan, Chase, F21, Planet Fitness, IHOP and, earlier this year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Plus, Mograby’s personal life is as no-nonsense as his professional life: He’s married and has two kids. “Like I said, I’m a go-getter.”—M.G.
Kristen Morgan, 25
Director at JRT Realty Group
Kristen Morgan is a director at JRT Realty Group only three years into her time in the industry. She spent most of her college years cold calling alumni, seeking donations for the Rutgers Foundation, and met JRT’s owner, Jodi Pulice, through Pulice’s daughter, a college friend.
“I told her a little bit about what I had done all throughout college,” Morgan said, “and she said that she didn’t see enough women in the business, and she invited me to intern with her to see if I might like it.”
Clearly, Morgan and real estate were a good fit. In addition to becoming co-chair of Cushman & Wakefield’s Artemis Women’s Group, a network for professional women, Morgan was part of the team representing landlords Taconic Investment Partners, when the New York Stem Cell Foundation took 41,000 square feet at 619 West 54th Street, signing a 20-year lease (rent undisclosed); Vanbarton Group, when it leased 60,000 square feet at 35-37 36th Street at Studio Square in Astoria to WeWork, in a 15-year deal for around $40 per square foot; and Vanbarton again, when it leased 15,500 square feet, via a 10-year lease, to the Joffrey Ballet School at 47-16 Austell Place, known as the Zipper Building (rent undisclosed).
That last deal was a great example of how Morgan got to see her work positively impact a community. “We were really excited to get such a cultural institution to come out to Long Island City,” she said.—L.G.
Aryeh Orlofsky, 29
Director of Investment Research at Ariel Property Advisors
Aryeh Orlofsky worked for several small investment banks after Queens College (where he picked up a dual degree in economics and corporate finance), researching high yield bonds and raising money from public companies, before realizing that his heart wasn’t in it. He wanted a change but wasn’t sure what that would be.
“I knew I wanted to be in a research position, analyzing data and thinking creatively,” he said.
Orlofsky started with Ariel Property Advisors in April 2011, just three months after the company’s founding. Starting as the only person in the firm focused on research, the past five years have allowed him to learn the industry inside and out, while building a research team of around 20 people that has become a force in the industry.
His team is responsible for the company’s marketing efforts, doing full-analysis packages and all the behind-the-scenes activity that goes into selling a property, in addition to larger research projects.
“Our group has done $12.5 billion in evaluations over the past 12 months,” he said. “We’ve evaluated 1,500 properties for private and institutional owners in the city.”
Orlofsky has released numerous reports that have become valuable resources for New York landlords, including one in August that attracted significant local media attention because it indicated that areas along the 7 line in Queens will become increasingly desirable for investors.
“We looked at the neighborhoods lining the 7 train in Queens, and we see what happened in Brooklyn, along the L, happening along the 7,” he said. “The L shutdown and other factors will help spur that development.”—L.G.
Graham Oxley, 26
Associate at Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Graham Oxley, an associate at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, began his career in the financial services industry when he interned at Focus Capital Group, a boutique investment bank. He initially had no interest in real estate, despite the fact that his father is a real estate lawyer. But after closely observing a few deals his father worked on, he decided to take a course at New York University in real estate value and investment.
He joined Douglas Elliman in 2013 and worked under Anita Grossberg on the retail and office leasing team. He represented clients from designers Christian Siriano and Vivienne Westwood to the Advanced Publication (the owner of Star Ledger, a New Jersey-based newspaper).
The 26-year-old broker now has a more analytical role in the firm, focusing on underwriting investment opportunities and conducting in-depth analysis of the current market. He said his most exciting project was helping the Yankees find a new stadium for the New York City Football Club.
“This was challenging because the requirement was 10 acres as close to Manhattan as possible,” Oxley said. “And you know, in New York City that’s virtually nonexistent.”
Still, Oxley found 20 locations and finally negotiated a place in the South Bronx. The deal has not come into fruition yet, but Oxley is hopeful. The deal has been as thrilling as a football game, the self-proclaimed fan said.—R.R.
Charles Rapuano, 29
Director at Winick Realty Group
For the eight summers while he was in high school and college, Charles Rapuano was an intern at BLDG Management, a company where his father works.
“Upon graduation, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Rapuano said. “[Real estate] kind of grew on me being there, just being around all of the action.”
So when his father recommended working for Jeff Winick, the head of Winick Realty Group, Rapuano joined the brokerage.
Things have come full circle, as Rapuano has found himself on the other side of the table as his dad in deals, like when he was represented Walgreens in its expansion at 145 Fourth Avenue in a BLDG building.
“It was a little weird not being able to say, ‘dad.’ I’d have to say, ‘Mr. Rapuano,’ ” said the 29-year-old salesperson, who has been at Winick for six years.
As part of Steven Baker’s team at Winick, Rapuano has completed about 150,000 square feet of retail leases so far this year, already 50,000 square feet more than he did in all of last year.
Rapuano was part of a team that successfully leased retail space at six Manhattan properties on behalf of landlord Brodsky Organization totaling over 45,000 square feet including at 2062 Broadway.
Most recently, he and Baker represented Brodsky in a 10,000-square-foot deal to bring Bright Horizons Family Solutions child-care provider to 253 West 72nd Street, as Commercial Observer reported last week. The space was formerly a Duane Reade.
What has made him successful, Rapuano said, is that he’s “very persistent and very organized. I like to call all of my clients and keep them up to date. I do daily calls with landlords.” In fact, he speaks to most of the landlords he represents a few times a day.—L.E.S.
Stephen Reynolds, 26
Co-Founding Partner and Vice President of Bestreich Realty Group
Stephen Reynolds said he was always interested in real estate and found himself drawn to looking at buildings as he walked down streets. So after he graduated from Lafayette College in 2012, he started at Marcus & Millichap under the guidance of Derek Bestreich, whom Reynolds credits with teaching him the ins-and-outs of the industry.
So on Jan. 1 of this year, he went all “Jerry Maguire” and followed his mentor into uncharted territories and became a founding partner in Bestreich Realty Group (minus the part, of course, where Tom Cruise tells his boss what a venal piece of slime he is). Now Reynolds, who describes himself as a self-starter who enjoys the thrill of fighting for a commission, heads a team of five that focuses on multifamily sales in Brooklyn and Queens.
“I always liked the idea of working for myself,” said Reynolds, who turns 27 on Oct. 9. “Most people are scared of a commission-based job, but that excites me and motivates me.”
Over the last few years—first at Marcus & Millichap and then at Bestreich Realty Group—he has worked on more than $110 million in cumulative sales of roughly 40 properties.
A native of Skillman, N.J., a suburb of Princeton, Reynolds said his most interesting transaction in the last few years was the $9.3 million sale of the 39-unit 255-265 Linden Street. Reynolds, who represented both buyer and seller, said the deal had “a lot of hair on it”—like dealing with vacancies and regulations. The deal closed in July.—T.C.
Michael Salvatico, 28
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson at Marcus & Millichap
When Michael Salvatico started at Marcus & Millichap five years ago, the native of the Philadelphia suburbs wanted to work in the big Manhattan market. But he also saw the potential for the Williamsburg and Greenpoint sections of Brooklyn, so he figured he’d give the North Brooklyn neighborhoods a shot.
“I’ve been able to ride the wave starting in 2011 and grow with the neighborhoods,” he said.
Typically, his sales range from $10 million to $100 million, and in the last year, he’s worked on deals totaling roughly $135 million.
Salvatico works on a team of 20 brokers that cover investment sales in the city, but he mainly covers Brooklyn along with Shaun Riney, Peter Van Der Ahe and Joseph Koicim. In May, he was part of the $56 million sale of a six-building portfolio dubbed Mohawk Apartments in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn.
The 28-year-old was the point man for Kajo Realty’s sale of 1050-1066 Manhattan Avenue between Freeman and Eagle Streets in Greenpoint, which sold for $18 million. “Every broker was in his ear,” Salvatico said of the seller, adding that “his best offer was $15 million and we got him $18 million.”
Salvatico grew up in Marlton, N.J., not far outside of Philadelphia. He got a bachelor’s degree in economics in 2010 from the University of Maryland, where he played on the school’s Division I football team.—T.C.
Andrew Sasson, 29
Senior Director at Eastern Consolidated
Most brokers relish deals that take years but pay off with large square footage and long-term clients. But Andrew Sasson, a senior director at Eastern Consolidated, is not like others. He has a $1 million deal etched in memory.
In 2014, Sasson closed that million-dollar deal at 115 Erasmus Street between Rogers and Nostrand Avenues in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. It was a small deal, and not many people were interested in a 17,000-square-foot development site that was surrounded by a lot of gas stations and auto-repair shops, he recalled. But it was special for Sasson: after all, it was his first exclusive deal. And it helped him build contacts in the area for another deal at 37-53 Flatbush Avenue. The Flatbush portfolio wound up selling for $90 million earlier this year and is one of the largest single-asset deals in Brooklyn.
In the past year, Sasson has represented the seller and procured the buyer for 222 Livingston Street for $4.7 million. He also worked on the $2.5 million sale of 69 Bond Street and the $1.7 million sale of 674 St. Marks Avenue.
Steering a large ship is not something new to Sasson. While attending New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate for the masters program between 2012 and 2015, he served as the vice president of his class. One of his duties was to organize the executive series, and he managed to rope in speakers like Durst Organization’s Douglas Durst, Jeff Blau of Related Companies and Scott Rechler of RXR Realty.—R.R.
Edward Setton, 24
Vice President at TerraCRG
Since Edward Setton is still a semester away from getting his bachelor’s degree in real estate investment sales at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, we could say that his college gig at TerraCRG is a little more lucrative than a shift at the library, or delivering pizzas in his off-hours.
In the last 12 months, this TerraCRG vice president has been co-lead broker on 18 real estate transactions worth $125 million—and his team has roughly another $150 million in the pipeline.
“I’m going to finish,” Setton vowed about his education. “I’m absolutely going to finish.”
But even if he didn’t, Setton would do just fine. He started out doing some brokering and originating of residential mortgages at Sterling National Bank while he was still a full-time college student. “Looking around, all the commercial guys in my office were just killing it,” Setton said. “The upside was so much better than residential.”
Setton went to TerraCRG after Melissa Warren (30 Under 30 class of 2014) came to give a lecture at Baruch and was inspired enough to harangue TerraCRG for weeks to get an internship, which he got in early 2014. He wound up working on Adam Hess’ team (Hess is a partner).
About a year ago, “Adam said to me, ‘We need to get into the Crown Heights market,’ ” Setton told CO. “ ‘It’s up-and-coming and has a lot of potential.’ ”
And get into the market he’s definitely done. The biggest prize Setton has bagged in the last year is 15-25 Crown Street, a 51,000-square-foot, 58-unit multifamily apartment building which traded for $20.75 million; he sold a 32-unit multifamily property (with five commercial spaces) at 835 Franklin Avenue for $17.5 million (both of which sold to Sterling Equities); and 641 St. Marks Avenue and 24-30 Rogers Avenue, two properties with 70 units that fetched a total of $14.2 million.—M.G.
Harry Sitomer, 27
Vice President at SL Green Realty Corp.
Harry Sitomer was fortunate enough to find a home through his first taste of the real estate business, a college internship at SL Green Realty Corp. while he was still at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I became close with Brett [Herschenfeld, the firm’s managing director] right off the bat,” he said, “and it’s been smooth sailing ever since.”
Sitomer started off at SL Green as an analyst in the firm’s investment group. He was elevated to associate after two years, then to vice president earlier this year.
Exciting deals he’s been part of include the real estate life cycle of 131-137 Spring Street, one of Sitomer’s first acquisitions with the company, purchased for $122.3 million in a complex, off-market transaction.
The purchase was made around Christmas 2012 and gave Sitomer a look at deal-making at its most high pressure.
“The seller would have had tax consequences if they didn’t sell by the end of 2012,” he said. “We got the deal just before vacation time and had to work through the weekends and holidays.”
Sitomer continued managing the asset, signing flagship retail leases with Burberry and Diesel in 2014 and, in 2015, sold an 80 percent interest in the property for $277.8 million.
“It really rounded out [my experience with] the asset from start to finish, and for me, it was a nice move into having successful investments in the company,” he said.
Sitomer was also instrumental in the acquisition of 110 Green Street in Soho, an off-market deal that followed two years of intense negotiations, for $255 million.—L.G.
Brandon Thomas, 24
Sales Associate at Town Commercial, a division of Town Residential
Brandon Thomas knew he wanted a career in commercial real estate after interning for his architect uncle and at a small commercial real estate firm. Upon graduation from college, he thought becoming a residential agent would be a good stepping-stone.
So after four months of working as a residential rental agent at Bond New York, Thomas felt the itch for “a bigger opportunity,” he said.
When Thomas started at Town Commercial on April 1, 2015, he joined Jonathan Butwin, the director of the new division. They were two of four brokers working on investment sales, and today there are 11 of them. Thomas helped Butwin grow that team, and since its inception 18 months ago, it has closed about $1.5 billion in deals.
Thomas has personally helped broker two deals: 78 Prospect Park West, a multifamily building on Prospect Park in Brooklyn, for $28 million; and 734 Broadway, a mixed-use property in Noho for $17 million. In the Brooklyn deal, a joint venture between Madison Realty Capital and Steelpoint Property Group bought the 41,000-square-foot residential building in Park Slope from Jerome Fisher’s J Fisher Management. A Town team represented both sides in the deal. In the Noho sale, Thor Equities and United American Land purchased 734 Broadway south of Astor Place from Extell Development. The Town team represented the buyers in the deal.
Now he said he’s working on three or four retail condominium unit sales, which he hopes will close in the fourth quarter, or early next year.—L.E.S.
Anisia Tierney, 28
Salesperson at Hospitality House
Anisia Tierney had quite the adventure before starting at Hospitality House a year ago. She left Related Midwest, the Chicago office of Related Companies, where she had worked for two years on the residential real estate side, to solo travel the world—including stints as a volunteer—for a little over a year.
When she returned to the U.S., she realized she wanted to be “practicing real estate” rather than on the support side (she had been a sales team manager at Related). She yearned for the fast-paced transaction-based business where there is “less emotion” involved, she said.
For her, hospitality was intriguing: “I love food. I love the food scene,” Tierney said. “I like knowing where to eat and adding to it and helping brands expand.”
She moved to New York City and got her real estate license.
At Hospitality House, Tierney has closed a 10-year deal for Black Tap’s third Midtown location—at Blakely New York hotel at 136 West 55th Street. The lease spans 2,000 square feet on the ground floor and a 1,500-square-foot shared basement space with the hotel.
The burger and shake eatery is under construction with a projected opening at the end of October or the beginning of November. She and her colleagues had the listing for the landlord, and “I found Black Tap to fill the space,” she noted.
Tierney also worked on the deal to bring bistro The Black Derby to 310 West Fourth Street in the West Village. The 1,500-square-foot ground-floor space previously housed The Place. The Black Derby should be opening in mid-October, she said.
And finally, she closed the deal that will bring Mexican eatery La Esquina Taqueria to the Dream Midtown at 200 West 55th Street. La Esquina has already gained quite the following with its taco joints in Soho and Williamsburg.—L.E.S.
Adam Traub, 27
Vice President at Westbridge Realty Group
After nabbing a bachelor of science from the University of Maryland, Adam Traub began his real estate career with three years at Besen & Associates, where his work included a complex deal for 234-238 East 23rd Street that involved two separate sellers (the buyer was the Naftali Group) and tenant buyouts.
The deal, for three lots that went for a touch over $23 million, showed Traub’s talent for handling complexity early on, especially since he (along with another broker) represented both sides.
“I was always very interested in real estate,” he said. “Through college, I knew I wanted to get into it.”
Traub spent a year as a senior associate at Alpha Realty before landing at Westbridge last year as a vice president. Here, he has made a mark on a series of high-profile deals. He represented the buyer, Michael Mehrfar, in the $9.6 million purchase of 1462 Second Avenue from David Ennis, a mixed-use, 8,620-square-foot building including eight apartments and The Meatball Shop, plus 12,000 square feet of air rights.
He represented both sides in the $4.3 million purchase of 702 Rockaway Avenue in Brooklyn, a mixed-use building containing 24 apartments atop six ground-level retail outlets. He also represented the seller in the sale of 633 East 186th Street in the Bronx for $3.9 million, a property with 27 apartments and a ground-floor retail unit, and the purchaser in the $2 million sale of 2 Stanwix Street in Brooklyn, a mixed-use building with six apartments and two stores.—L.G.
Jim Traynor, 28
Assistant Vice President of Acquisitions at L&L Holding Company
Jim Traynor began his real estate career interning for developer Allen Morris Company in Miami, then investment firm CNL Financial Group in Orlando, and quickly sensed he was in the right industry.
“I enjoyed the mixture of finance and being able to see something tangible,” he said. “I liked that real estate is complex but also relationship-driven and that you can see your investment and touch it.”
Traynor spent two years with Ernst & Young’s real estate transaction group before joining L&L in 2013. Since then, he has completed over $1 billion in transactions, including $500 million recapitalizations for both 195 Broadway and 222 Broadway, where he said his role involved everything “from underwriting to walking investors through to due diligence and closing.” Working on the acquisition side, he is currently “pursuing big-headline deals in New York with capital partners,” and has been instrumental in leading the underwriting, assisting in investor presentations and capital partner discussions and bidding for over $2 billion of premier New York assets.
In addition to his deal work, last year Traynor founded Coffee & Capital, a regular networking breakfast attended by 25 of the top real estate investment professionals in New York. He has also hosted a fundraiser for the Robin Hood Foundation, personally raising thousands of dollars for the poverty-fighting charity.
Traynor has a bachelor of science in finance from the University of Central Florida, and a master’s in real estate from the University of Florida.—L.G.
Ryan Williams, 28
CEO and Co-Founder of Cadre
Talk about getting off to a quick start. While still an undergraduate student at Harvard University, in the heat of the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008, Ryan Williams assembled a team of contractors and property managers and began raising capital to buy up foreclosed homes.
“I noticed this trend ahead of a lot of larger investors, and built that platform up,” he said. “There was so much opportunity given how fragmented the market was. I saw that this was a space I was passionate about and could make an impact on.”
While continuing to acquire properties for himself, Williams joined the telecom, media and technology group at Goldman Sachs, assisting on such projects as the sale of the Brooklyn Nets and the refinancing of the Weather Channel.
From there he joined the real estate private equity division of Blackstone Group, where he worked on the $1.3 billion leveraged buyout of Apple REIT Six, acquired the $550 million Hyatt Waikiki Hotel and helped closed on more than $500 million in multifamily properties.
He co-founded Cadre in the fall of 2014 for the purpose of using technology to connect institutional investors with curated, vetted deals. (CO Publisher Jared Kushner is an investor in Cadre.)
Williams keeps his deal information close to the vest, but recent transactions facilitated by Cadre include an off-market, $125 million deal for a 310-unit multifamily property in the northeastern U.S. and the acquisition of a 100,000-square-foot Class A office in a supply-restricted northeast submarket for around $60 million.—L.G.