10 rising stars in New York’s real estate industry

The New York City skyline.
The New York City skyline.

10 rising stars in New York’s real estate industry

Each one has already begun to make their mark in the vast and competitive world of New York real estate.
April 1, 2019

These 10 people in the real estate industry have begun to make their mark in New York – and each of them is worth watching in the years ahead.

Ben Bernstein
Co-founder and Principal
RedSky Capital

Ben Bernstein co-founded RedSky Capital fresh out of Cornell University, along with classmate Ben Stokes, and the company now claims to own a Brooklyn portfolio worth more than $1 billion – which would make it one of the larger landowners in the borough. “A name that is becoming increasingly familiar to the New York City real estate community,” according to Cornell Real Estate Review, Bernstein is credited with helping bring the first Apple store to Brooklyn.

John Catsimatidis Jr.
Red Apple Group

Republican businessman John Catsimatidis is known for his supermarket business, but his real estate empire is even larger – and his son, John Catsimatidis Jr., has been helping expand that part of the family business. Among the recent developments are a series of projects in Brooklyn, including the Giovanni, named after John Jr. And while the elder Catsimatidis mulls another run for mayor, the son is following in his father’s footsteps as a Donald Trump donor.

Helena Rose Durst
The Durst Organization

Since 2014, Helena Rose Durst has been busy developing Hallets Point on the East River into a mixed-use waterfront community that will include 2,160 apartments and a 25,000-square-foot grocery store. The development’s first residential tower began leasing earlier this year. Durst received a humanitarian award at this year’s Real Estate Board of New York banquet for her commitment to composting and waste management in her company’s buildings.

Jeff Fronek
Director of Investments
Rubenstein Partners

Jeff Fronek helped negotiate a rezoning on the 500,000-square-foot project at 25 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – trading commercial space for new manufacturing to bring about the neighborhood’s first new office building in 50 years. Fronek, who called the development “a new model for how manufacturing space can be created and preserved in New York City,” comes from a finance background, with previous stops at Ernst & Young and Merrill Lynch.

David Gallo
President and Principal
Georgica Green Ventures LLC

David Gallo is building affordable housing in a challenging market: wealthy suburbs. Last year, his Long Island firm broke ground on 38 affordable housing units in the Hamptons. The Speonk Common development in Southampton – which will have studio apartments with monthly rents starting at $930 – overcame community opposition and won praise from elected officials. Georgica Green is also building 120,000 square feet of supportive housing for homeless veterans on Coney Island.

Zach Kadden
Vice President, Development
Madison Realty Capital

Last month, the private equity firm Madison Realty Capital closed $30.5 million of financing for the Gem Hotel in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and last year on a $90 million Billionaire’s Row condo project. Zach Kadden, who joined the firm as an assistant project manager in 2014, leads many of its commercial projects and boasts experience in construction, land use and policy. This year, he was promoted to vice president of development, a sign of bigger things to come.

Paul Massey III
Brookfield Property Partners

When Paul Massey III was in college, his father, Paul Massey Jr., discouraged him from working at Massey Knakal Realty Services, the family’s real estate brokerage, which was sold to Cushman & Wakefield several years ago for $100 million. So the younger Massey, who goes by PJ, forged his own path after graduating from St. Lawrence University – first at Avison Young in Toronto and now at Brookfield Property Partners in New York City.

Hillary Muss
Leasing Manager

Last year, Hillary Muss garnered attention from real estate media for completing transactions at Cushman & Wakefield totaling $185 million in rental value – including sourcing the inaugural New York store for a major footwear brand. A recipient of Connect New York’s Next Generation honor recognizing young real estate leaders in 2018, Muss is credited with having “a ‘sense’ of where a deal can be struck.” Soon after, she joined real estate investment trust Macerich.

Paul Reisner
Founder and President
Scope Realty

Paul Reisner founded Scope Realty less than two years ago, and the fast-growing brokerage has already earned praise as a company that empowers its agents. With offices in midtown Manhattan and Sunnyside, Queens, Scope Realty prides itself on providing extra training for its employees, which includes more than 200 agents. It donates a percentage of its profits to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Covenant House New York.

Stefan Soloviev
Solow Building Co.

Stefan Soloviev is taking over the family company from his 90-year-old father, Sheldon Solow, beginning with 685 First Ave., a 42-story luxury tower. Soloviev, who uses an older version of the family name, started out parking cars for the company and later managed the family’s farms in New Mexico and Colorado. In February, the father and son filed permits to raze several buildings on Billionaire’s Row, and a 52-story hotel is in the works.

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