Power Lists

The 2023 Real Estate Power 100

The industry’s most influential developers, policymakers and advocates in New York.

City & State presents the 2023 Real Estate Power 100.

City & State presents the 2023 Real Estate Power 100. Benedek, iStock / Getty Images Plus

Real estate drives New York. No topic is more hotly debated by New Yorkers than where they live, what they pay and the future of their community’s built environment. This carries over to the halls of power, where land use and housing dominate conversations from City Hall to Albany. This year, housing policy was a top issue for many, but a variety of proposed solutions went bust, with all of the major issues going unaddressed. Only minor housing bills and funding boosts for narrowly focused programs, like rural housing, emerged from Albany.

More broadly, though, the real estate industry remains active. Several large-scale new developments, with significant affordable housing components, were approved in the city. Advocates are making their voices heard loud and clear. Casinos are a key downstate issue, with developers proposing casinos everywhere from Times Square and the top of Saks Fifth Avenue to Coney Island and the Nassau Coliseum. While the commercial sector has been hindered by the rise of remote work, reports of its total demise may be slightly exaggerated.

Meet the power players shaping the future of New York.

1. Jeff Blau & Bruce Beal Jr.

CEO; President, Related Companies
Jeff Blau & Bruce Beal Jr. / Karen Sterling

The leaders of Related Companies have partnered with Wynn Resorts to bid for a downstate casino license with a proposal that would bring a full-scale resort to Related-owned Hudson Yards, the 28-acre megaproject on Manhattan’s West Side. Related’s $10 billion proposal includes a 1,700 room resort hotel that would also serve the nearby Javits Center and would also bring an office tower, new space for high-end restaurants and shops to the western end of Hudson Yards and a new public park connected to the High Line. Company founder Stephen Ross has been spending more time focused on Florida, while Related CEO Jeff Blau has expanded beyond real estate in New York with ambitious renewable energy investments through energyRe.

2. RuthAnne Visnauskas

Commissioner, State Homes and Community Renewal
RuthAnne Visnauskas / Kevin Joseph Laccone

RuthAnne Visnauskas, the state’s housing commissioner, this year has been the public face of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s ambitious – and so far unsuccessful – housing agenda. Saying it would create 800,000 new housing units, Visnauskas has engaged in stakeholder meetings in local communities since Hochul outlined the plan in January. The plan received pushback from many suburban leaders, who said it would uproot local land use control. Visnauskas argued that the state’s current zoning laws hold back housing creation, exacerbating affordability issues. She also heads up the state Housing Finance Agency, the State of New York Mortgage Agency and the state Affordable Housing Corp.

3. Brian Kavanagh & Linda Rosenthal

Chairs, State Senate Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee; Assembly Housing Committee
Brian Kavanagh & Linda Rosenthal / Office of New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh; Assembly

The state Legislature’s housing committee leaders, state Sen. Brian Kavanagh and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, wrapped up a legislative session in which many of the top housing priorities of lawmakers were punted. Kavanagh has been pushing to address what he calls an “interlocking” housing crisis, with issues related to affordability, housing supply and evictions. Kavanagh was a proponent of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s housing proposals and noted that in addition to addressing issues in his New York City-based district, he wants to address housing statewide, including increasing construction on Long Island. Rosenthal this year traded her perch atop the Social Services Committee for the housing gavel. A longtime housing advocate, Rosenthal has been pushing for a Housing Assistance Voucher Program, along with improving conditions in New York City Housing Authority buildings.

4. Jessica Katz, Maria Torres-Springer & Adolfo Carrión Jr.

Chief Housing Officer; Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Development; Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner, New York City Mayor’s Office
Jessica Katz, Maria Torres-Springer & Adolfo Carrión Jr. / Gerri Hernandez; NYC HPD; NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development

Jessica Katz came to City Hall with much fanfare almost 18 months ago, with Mayor Eric Adams heralding the creation of the chief housing officer job as a way to empower a high-ranking city official to tackle the city’s housing crisis. However, Katz is leaving City Hall this summer with the homelessness issue largely unchanged, little action in Albany to help with the situation and City Hall sending busloads of migrants upstate due to a strain on the city’s ability to house them. Katz’s departure was in part due to questions over who runs housing policy in the city.

With Katz departing, Maria Torres-Springer, the city’s current deputy mayor for economic and workforce development and a former housing commissioner, has added housing to her portfolio. The move is a return to the de Blasio-era model of uniting housing and economic development under one deputy mayor.

When Adams took office, Adolfo Carrión Jr. took the reins of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, bringing a deep background in housing issues. A former Bronx borough president, Carrión had been former President Barack Obama’s top urban affairs adviser before taking over as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s top regulator for New York and New Jersey. This year, Carrión has been celebrating several new affordable housing developments in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

5. Rafael Salamanca Jr.

Chair, New York City Council Land Use Committee
Rafael Salamanca Jr. / Office of Council Member Rafael Salamanca

The influential leader of the New York City Council Land Use Committee, Rafael Salamanca Jr. has been pushing for the city to increase office to residential conversions, saying it would allow for the city to create 20,000 additional housing units. Salamanca said this includes expanding the amount of offices that can be converted, addressing existing city regulations and expanding financial incentives for conversion. The Bronx lawmaker led the committee in advancing several of the largest development projects in recent years, including the $2 billion Innovation QNS development in Astoria and a major rezoning on Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx.

6. Scott Rechler

CEO and Chair, RXR
Scott Rechler / Submitted

Scott Rechler has spent the past year offering a clear vision for the future of commercial real estate, at times quite literally. In October, he joined the board of beleaguered smart glass company View Inc., which makes artificial intelligence-assisted windows for large commercial buildings. He’s also been providing hot takes on where the industry’s much-needed credit resources will come from, as banks tighten up lending. Rechler pushed back in the press against rumors that RXR was planning to hand the keys back to the banks at some of its premier New York City properties.

7. James Whelan

President, Real Estate Board of New York
James Whelan / Real Estate Board of New York

As the leader of New York’s real estate lobby, James Whelan has been working to help the industry adapt to a new normal. With the market disrupted by remote working, Whelan has been pushing hard for office to residential conversions in Manhattan, arguing that many buildings below 96th Street are ripe for conversions. A Bloomberg administration veteran, Whelan has successfully persuaded Albany lawmakers to extend several key state economic development programs and the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, noting they will help grow real estate development, although no deal was struck to revive the 421-a property tax break this year.

8. Larry Silverstein & Marty Burger

Chair; CEO, Silverstein Properties
Larry Silverstein & Marty Burger / Silverstein Properties

Larry Silverstein and Marty Burger are still fighting to put back together the World Trade Center site, with the last building at 2 WTC a shifting set of architectural plans and aspirations. Where others see crisis, Silverstein Properties senses opportunity, seeking to raise $1.5 billion to acquire office properties and convert them to apartments. The company’s partnership to build the $2 billion Innovation QNS development was approved after the development team reached a deal with New York City Council Member Julie Won to increase the number of below-market-rate units. In June, Silverstein announced plans to enter the Manhattan casino license bidding war with a two-tower proposal near the Hudson Yards and Javits Center.

9. Marc Holliday

Chair and CEO, SL Green Realty Corp.
Marc Holliday / SL Green

Marc Holliday, the chair and CEO of SL Green Realty Corp., Manhattan’s largest office landlord, wants to branch out into the casino business. SL Green has teamed up with Caesars Entertainment and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation on a proposed Times Square casino. The proposal faces some headwinds, with The Broadway League and the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association leading the opposition. The pro-casino team said the proposal would make Times Square safer, increase Broadway ticket sales, reduce traffic and increase retail spending by $166 million annually.

10. Daniel Garodnick

Chair, New York City Planning Commission
Daniel Garodnick / NYC Department of City Planning

Daniel Garodnick, New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ “City of Yes” Cabinet member, is leading the administration’s ambitious land use agenda, including proposed changes related to the impact of zoning on climate, changes to the city zoning law related to business development and housing zoning changes, including for office to housing conversions. The former New York City Council member is also focused on lowering the Department of City Planning’s high employee vacancy rate, voicing his support for proposed changes to grow development in downtown Jamaica, Queens, and lobbying Albany for the mayor’s housing agenda.

11. Gary LaBarbera

President, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York
Gary LaBarbera / Alex Kaplan Photography

A close ally of Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Gary LaBarbera is the longtime chief of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and also heads up its state counterpart, the New York State Building & Construction Trades Council. The influential labor leader has been pushing for a number of development projects, including a revitalization of Penn Station and upgrading Long Island’s power grid to boost clean energy. He has also chastised Robert De Niro for not using union labor in his Long Island City film studio project.

12. Jed Walentas

CEO, Two Trees
Jed Walentas / Anne Joyce

Jed Walentas’ company Two Trees is no stranger to Brooklyn. He took over for his father, who made his bones in New York real estate, essentially creating the borough’s Dumbo neighborhood. Now, Two Trees is tackling the mother of all adaptive reuse projects in the city: reimagining the historic Domino Sugar factory. (As famous Brooklynite Jackie Gleason once quipped, “How sweet it is!”) The company also grants subsidized studio space to working artists in the area. Walentas is the chair-designate at the Real Estate Board of New York, expected to take over the post next January.

13. Steven Roth

Chair and CEO, Vornado Realty Trust
Steven Roth / Vornado Realty Trust

Steven Roth, Vornado Realty Trust’s longtime leader, has the future of a large swath of midtown Manhattan in his hands. Roth hit the brakes on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Penn Station plan in November, when he said the market conditions weren’t right for Vornado to develop new office skyscrapers that were a key part of the plan. Vornado is now in the mix with a bid for a state casino license as part of a plan to transform the old Hotel Pennsylvania, across Seventh Avenue from Penn Station, into a casino.

14. Douglas Durst

Chair, The Durst Organization
Douglas Durst / Michael Priest

Douglas Durst wants everyone to know that commercial real estate in New York City is not dead. Durst, the powerful developer and chair of the Real Estate Board of New York, has said that while hybrid working arrangements with some days being remote are more common, he’s seeing many of his commercial tenants having high occupancy several days a week. Durst said that the city’s housing issues can be addressed in a number of ways, including office to residential conversions and revisiting several government programs, including Mitchell-Lama and 421-a, that could boost affordable housing stock.

15. Hope Knight & Kevin Law

President and CEO; Chair, Empire State Development
Hope Knight & Kevin Law / Greater Jamaica Development Corp.; TRTEC Real Estate company

A former head of the Greater Jamaica Development Corp., Hope Knight now leads major economic development efforts statewide. Knight is proposing using 50 state-owned acres of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens to develop new affordable housing in the borough. She is also promoting the expansion of the New York City life sciences industry, a sector that has seen new focused development in Manhattan. Kevin Law, Empire State Development’s board chair, is a longtime Long Island housing executive. Law is executive vice president and partner at Tritec Real Estate Co. on Long Island, where he leads the firm’s affordable housing component. A former president and CEO of the Long Island Association, Law also chairs the Long Island Housing Partnership.

16. William Rudin & Eric Rudin

Co-Chair and CEO; Co-Chair and President, Rudin Management Co.
William Rudin & Eric Rudin / Rudin Management Co.

Cousins William and Eric Rudin command over 15 million square feet of commercial and residential space in New York City at their family-owned real estate empire. Rudin is one of the largest landlords in the city, with a number of high-profile buildings in its portfolio. William Rudin, a former Real Estate Board of New York chair, said the headwinds facing the commercial sector include a mountain of debt coming due that will need to be refinanced and an accelerated work from home trend. Despite that, the company is investing in the future of Manhattan offices. Eric Rudin, a board member of the Times Square Alliance, is a cheerleader for the famous neighborhood and defender of its honor in op-ed pieces.

17. Pierina Sanchez

Chair, New York City Council Housing and Buildings Committee
Pierina Sanchez / John McCarten, NYC Council Media Unit

As the leader of the New York City Council Housing and Buildings Committee, Pierina Sanchez is pushing for a social housing agenda to increase housing supply. The City Council member has teamed with New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams – a former housing committee chair himself – to introduce legislation to overhaul the city’s co-op review and approval process. Sanchez led her committee in passing legislation to overhaul the city’s housing voucher program. The mayor opposed most of the legislation, which passed by a veto-proof margin, but did agree to end a 90-day waiting period for those in shelters to seek rental vouchers.

18. Jimmy Oddo

Commissioner, New York City Department of Buildings

When people say “HeyNowJO,” it may not be a reference to Jimmy Oddo’s Twitter handle but a reaction to seeing the new buildings commissioner and his army of inspectors. While many of his recent predecessors as Staten Island borough president quietly faded into the private sector, Oddo went first to a City Hall post as chief of staff to Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi before moving to the New York City Department of Buildings this spring. Oddo’s to-do list now includes implementing the city’s ambitious new climate law, processing building permits and addressing any issues in the wake of April’s parking deck collapse in lower Manhattan.

19. Carlo Scissura

President and CEO, New York Building Congress
Carlo Scissura / New York Building Congress

Carlo Scissura is sounding the alarm bells that state lawmakers need to address housing issues in the state sooner rather than later. Scissura, who heads up the influential New York Building Congress, is calling on legislators to address the need for 560,000 new homes to be built in New York City by the end of the decade. He has argued that this can be achieved by taking steps such as lifting the state’s floor area ratio cap, reviving the lapsed 421-a program and allowing for office to residential conversions.

20. Judith Goldiner & Ellen Davidson

Attorney-in-Charge, Civil Practice Law Reform Unit; Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society
Judith Goldiner & Ellen Davidson / Spencer Gallop

Judith Goldiner and Ellen Davidson – attorneys in The Legal Aid Society’s Civil Practice Law Reform Unit – are at the forefront of housing advocacy in New York City and state. Goldiner called for New York City to expand the housing voucher program, CityFHEPS, so that migrants could access some form of coverage. She also pushed for the New York City Housing Authority to address heat and hot water issues. Recently, Davidson questioned state lawmakers’ decision to not adopt Gov. Kathy Hochul’s ambitious housing agenda in order to address the statewide housing crisis.

21. Rob Speyer

President and CEO, Tishman Speyer
Rob Speyer / Real Estate Board of New York

In a city where iconic real estate is practically a dime a dozen, none may be more iconic than Rockefeller Center. Rob Speyer has embarked on a yearslong mission to revitalize and reinvent the company’s crown jewel. He’s bringing back the 1970s with roller-skating parties on the ice rink in a revival of Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace – the famed late 1970s Los Angeles hot spot dubbed “Studio 54 on wheels.” Speyer wants to convert part of 10 Rock into the complex’s first hotel.

22. Winston Fisher

Partner, Fisher Brothers
Winston Fisher / Fisher Brothers

At his family real estate firm, Winston Fisher is thinking outside the box – and maybe the galaxy – to create a real estate experience. Fisher is also the CEO of immersive and creative Area15 (get it?) in Las Vegas, bringing a Boeing 747 jumbo jet recently acquired from a Burning Man art exhibit to the desert experience. His firm’s glass vase-inspired luxury residential building at 111 Murray St. towers over Tribeca and turns heads. Contrary to what others might be reporting, Fisher is seeing office occupancy approaching pre-pandemic levels.

23. Lisa Gomez & David Dishy

CEO and Partner; CEO of LMXD, L+M Development Partners
Lisa Gomez & David Dishy / L+M Development Partners

In 2022, Lisa Gomez was elevated to CEO of L+M Development Partners and co-founder Ron Moelis relinquished control of day-to-day operations after almost 40 years at the helm. This put Gomez in the position to grow the affordable multifamily housing developer through partnerships with other industry players and look at its own impact on social and environmental issues. L+M is part of some of the largest projects in the New York City metro area, including a state renewal plan to convert a 28-acre site in East New York, Brooklyn, into 2,400 units along with a health care facility. The company was also involved in developing the National Urban League's upcoming Urban Civil Rights Experience Museum in Harlem, the Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx and the city’s first net-zero development, Arverne East, in the Rockaways. David Dishy, the firm’s former president of development, now heads its affiliate LMXD, which develops mixed-income housing in the Northeast and beyond.

24. Michael McKee

Treasurer, TenantsPAC
Michael McKee / Eric Stenshoel

The veteran tenant advocate Michael McKee has backed a “good cause” eviction proposal in Albany and wants to reform the New York City Rent Guidelines Board, arguing the annual process to review the city’s rent rates is a “charade.” Among the reforms McKee is calling for include fixed terms and New York City Council confirmation for board members. McKee’s reform proposals could face an uphill climb in Albany. TenantsPAC endorsed New York City Public Advocate Jumanne Williams when he challenged Gov. Kathy Hochul for both lieutenant governor in 2018 and governor in 2022.

25. Brian Kingston & Ben Brown

Managing Partner, CEO, Real Estate; Managing Partner, Real Estate, Brookfield Asset Management

As the CEO of the real estate division at Brookfield Asset Management, Brian Kingston recently took an additional role as head honcho at the company’s real estate investment trust after the former boss stepped down. Kingston has been running the Canadian firm’s global real estate operations from New York since 2015. As a managing partner in the company’s Manhattan office, Ben Brown is responsible for its U.S. commercial portfolio. In all, Brookfield has $270 billion in assets under management. Brookfield recently won a 20-year tax break on a $99 million plan to develop a former Superfund site on Long Island and scored the largest lease deal of last year when a consulting firm committed to its new skyscraper in lower Manhattan.

26. Mike Lawler & Ritchie Torres

Members of Congress
Mike Lawler & Ritchie Torres / Randy Monceaux; Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Reps. Ritchie Torres and Mike Lawler may sit on opposite sides of the aisle in the House of Representatives, but both are members of the powerful House Financial Services Committee and its influential Housing and Insurance Subcommittee. Lawler, a first-term Rockland County Republican, has been a vocal opponent of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s suburban housing agenda, arguing it would strip away local land use powers. He has also teamed with New Jersey Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill on legislation to raise the SALT tax deduction. Torres, a second-term Bronx Democrat, grew up in the borough’s public housing and made housing a centerpiece of his agenda in the New York City Council and now in Congress. He is pushing a Housing for All agenda, including a universal housing voucher program, along with legislation regarding eviction prevention, fire safety and the protection of federal public housing funds.

27. Alicka Ampry-Samuel

Regional Administrator, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Region 2
Alicka Ampry-Samuel / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Alicka Ampry-Samuel is on a mission to develop more affordable housing across New York state. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-sponsored Grand Street Guild project in lower Manhattan will help, adding 232 affordable units next year. New home construction in Rochester through the Buy the Block program, $1.1 million awarded to rural housing groups in Chenango and Otsego counties and renovations of Brooklyn housing developments are part of her vision to end homelessness. Ampry-Samuel, a former New York City Council member, had lived in New York City Housing Authority housing for decades.

28. Gary Barnett

Founder and Chair, Extell Development
Gary Barnett / Extell Development

Gary Barnett’s Extell Development has been busy in the Big Apple. After starting construction on a 30-story Upper East Side medical office, with the Hospital for Special Surgery already committed as a tenant, Barnett bought the classic Wellington Hotel near Carnegie Hall for $94 million but has not disclosed plans for the site. The penthouse at Extell-developed Central Park Tower, the highest and most expensive residence in the world, is on the market for $250 million.

29. Mary Ann Tighe

CEO, Tri-State Region, CBRE
Mary Ann Tighe / Weston Wells

There probably isn’t a corner of Manhattan that Mary Ann Tighe hasn’t had a part in transforming over her 30-year career. A Crain’s Hall of Fame businessperson, this year, she was honored by the Real Estate Board of New York as a distinguished New Yorker for her contributions to the city. CBRE’s research arm drives much of the conversation in the commercial market with industry-leading analysis. It recently reported that companies expect to reduce office space even as they are requiring more in-person work.

30. Nadeem Meghji

Head of Real Estate Americas, Blackstone
Nadeem Meghji / Blackstone

Nadeem Meghji’s company, which has a $585 billion real estate portfolio, has been busy raising capital to take advantage in a choppy real estate market. Meghji said that his company has been seeing smart money investing in warehouses, rental housing and data centers. At the beginning of the year, Blackstone’s real estate investment trust got a huge endorsement in the form of an infusion of $4.5 billion in cash from the University of California’s endowment after the company saw an increase in redemption requests by investors as higher interest rates sparked concerns.

31. Jay Martin

Executive Director, Community Housing Improvement Program

Jay Martin, who heads up one of New York’s top landlord advocacy groups, is focused on pushing state lawmakers to make tweaks to the state’s rent stabilization laws to allow for landlords to raise rents to offset the costs of renovations. The outspoken advocate argues that this will allow for landlords to address needed renovations in New York City apartments that are occupied for several decades at stabilized rents before a vacancy occurs.

32. Joseph Strasburg & Aaron Sirulnick

President; Chair, Rent Stabilization Association
Joseph Strasburg & Aaron Sirulnick / Rent Stabilization Association

The leaders of the Rent Stabilization Association, Joseph Strasburg and Aaron Sirulnick have been pushing for a number of landlord-friendly provisions in Albany and City Hall. This includes advocating against “good cause” eviction legislation, saying it would have negative effects on the state’s housing. (The measure stalled again this year.) The RSA is also pushing for the state to increase the number of housing court judges in New York City, saying a shortage is causing delays with eviction cases, which the organization argues is harming small landlords in the city.

33. Julia Salazar & Pamela Hunter

Sponsors, “Good Cause” Eviction
Julia Salazar & Pamela Hunter / Michael Drake; State Assembly

The driving forces behind the pro-tenant “good cause” eviction legislation, state Sen. Julia Salazar and Assembly Member Pamela Hunter are making headlines but battling the headwinds of the real estate lobby. Salazar, a Brooklyn Democrat, and Hunter, a Syracuse Democrat, had looked to get the legislation, which would make it harder for landlords to evict tenants, into this year’s budget, an effort that failed amid decisions to push all housing-related legislation out of the budget. Salazar, Hunter and their progressives allies do not plan to give up, although they’ll now have to wait until next year’s session.

34. Rich Maroko

President, Hotel and Gaming Trades Council
Rich Maroko / Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, AFL-CIO

One of the most powerful labor leaders in New York City, Rich Maroko represents 40,000 employees in the hotel and gambling sectors. Maroko’s recent actions have included stepping in to stop hotel to residentials conversions during the coronavirus pandemic, an effort that pitted him against advocates looking to build more housing. Maroko’s union negotiated with the city to open the new migrant welcome center at the Roosevelt Hotel to restore union jobs at the hotel and compensate union members for wages lost during the pandemic. He’s also positioned his members to benefit from the expansion of casino gambling in downstate New York.

35. Manny Pastreich

President, 32BJ SEIU
Manny Pastreich / Dave Sanders

The new leader of one of New York City’s most powerful unions, Manny Pastreich is no stranger to the operations of 32BJ SEIU, having served as a top deputy to his predecessor, Kyle Bragg. Pastreich, who represents property service workers, is now pushing for more affordable housing in the city. Appearing at an affordable housing rally with New York City Mayor Eric Adams in Gowanus in early June, Pastreich also pushed for the restoration of the state’s 421-a program, arguing it would create more affordable housing – and more jobs for his members. He noted that increased affordable housing would also allow his members to live closer to work.

36. Barika Williams

Executive Director, Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development
Barika Williams / Joe Hicks

At the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development, Barika Williams uses advocacy and data to lead the fight for better affordable housing conditions in all five boroughs of New York City. ANHD’s annual Housing Risk Chart found that the Bronx topped the list for evictions in 2023. After the collapse of Signature Bank – whose lending practices the association claimed led to poor housing conditions – ANHD joined a coalition renewing calls for a public bank in New York City. Additionally, Williams was selected to serve on a new economic committee that will advise the Biden administration on how to reduce racial inequality.

37. Lisa Bova-Hiatt

Interim CEO, New York City Housing Authority
Lisa Bova-Hiatt / NYCHA

In September, New York City Mayor Eric Adams split the role of chair and CEO at the New York City Housing Authority. Greg Russ stayed in his role as chair while NYCHA General Counsel Lisa Bova-Hiatt was made interim CEO. Since taking on the role, Bova-Hiatt has had to contend with more than a third of the city’s 400,000 tenants falling behind on rent, leading to an economic crisis for the agency. She is calling on Albany to help fill the shortfall with rental assistance that was denied to those in subsidized housing during the coronavirus pandemic.

38. Mark Levine

Manhattan Borough President
Mark Levine / New York City Council

Development projects in the real estate capital of the world at some point end up on the desk of Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine for review. Levine is not shy with sharing his vision for reshaping Manhattan’s housing market, including unveiling a plan in February to create around 73,000 new apartments on 171 specific lots his office identified in the borough. He has weighed in on the future of Penn Station, endorsing a plan to tear down the The Theater at Madison Square Garden to create a new entrance. Levine is also asking state lawmakers to change state zoning laws to increase housing.

39. Jeffrey Gural

Chair and Principal, GFP Real Estate
Jeffrey Gural / GFP Real Estate

At 80 years old, Jeffrey Gural said he’s working hard to shore up his company’s portfolio of properties. He sees turbulent times ahead as credit tightening leads to a choppy market for commercial mortgage-backed securities coming due. A bizarre March auction for the Flatiron Building, which Gural partly owned, ended with the winning bidder failing to make the initial down payment. Gural bought the building during a second auction in May. Last year, President Joe Biden chose Gural to serve on the Public Buildings Reform Board, which helps the federal government offload property.

40. Elizabeth Crowley

President and CEO, Building Trades Employers Association

Two years ago, Elizabeth Crowley was seeking to be the next borough president of Queens, which would have granted her land use oversight and given her a place in the New York City real estate power structure. While Crowley came up short in that race, she’s come out on top this year. This spring, Crowley was selected to succeed the retiring Louis Coletti at the helm of the influential Building Trades Employers Association. The first woman to lead the BTEA, Crowley has a full plate ahead of her, with diversifying the construction industry and climate-friendly construction as her top priorities.

41. Rafael Cestero

CEO, Community Preservation Corp.
Rafael Cestero / Community Preservation Corp.

Community Preservation Corp. provided over $1 billion in total financing last year, creating 9,600 units of housing in 18 states. That’s a record for the nonprofit that strives to expand access to workforce housing. Projects in New York include financing to rehab vacant homes into affordable housing in Ulster County and renovation of a 525-unit affordable complex in Brooklyn. CEO Rafael Cestero recently wrote about his concern that the housing crisis in New York is driving up rents and forcing people to leave the state.

42. Douglas Jemal

Founder and President, Douglas Development Corp.
Douglas Jemal / Nick Ciavarella

A top developer in Washington, D.C., Brooklyn-native Douglas Jemal is now conquering Buffalo. Jemal is turning Buffalo’s tallest building into a mixed-use development containing apartments and offices, redeveloping the Statler Hotel, an iconic former hotel in downtown Buffalo’s Niagara Square, into apartments and transforming the Hyatt Regency. He has formed relationships with key Buffalo power players, including Mayor Byron Brown and Bush White House aide turned developer Nick Sinatra. Jemal is proposing a redevelopment of Boulevard Mall, down the block from the University at Buffalo in suburban Amherst, into what the Amherst town supervisor calls “a new urban neighborhood.”

43. Cea Weaver

Campaign Coordinator, Housing Justice for All
Cea Weaver / New York Communities for Change

A longtime tenant activist, Cea Weaver is one of the state’s leading advocates for “good cause” eviction legislation that stalled in Albany. Weaver has also been pushing new rental assistance programs as part of a progressive housing agenda. A thorn in the side of developers and landlords, Weaver was nominated by New York City Public Advocate Jumanne Williams for a seat on the New York City Planning Commission in 2021, but Williams withdrew the nomination after real estate industry opposition set back Weaver’s chances for confirmation.

44. Ian Putnam, Guy Leibler & Ken Narva

President and CEO; President, HBC Developments; Chair and Chief Development Officer, Streetworks Development, HBC Properties and Investments
Ian Putnam, Guy Leibler & Ken Narva / HBC

The parent company of Saks Fifth Avenue, Hudson’s Bay Co. and its development arm, Streetworks Development, are having a major impact on the New York City metropolitan area. HBC Properties and Investments has proposed a casino for the top floors of Saks’ Manhattan flagship store. On Long Island, the company has transformed former Lord & Taylor stores into commercial and medical offices. Streetworks Development is working on a major mixed-use redevelopment project in downtown Westfield, New Jersey, an upper-middle-class suburb popular with Wall Street executives.

45. Michael Hershman

CEO, Soloviev Group

Could world peace be a roll of the dice away? Michael Hershman, CEO of the Soloviev Group, has entered the developer into the bidding for a New York City casino with a proposal for an almost seven-acre entertainment district just south of the United Nations that would feature a Mohegan-operated casino, plus a hotel, four-acre park, entertainment venue, a democracy museum, residential space, sports fields and a Ferris wheel. Even if state regulators award a casino license, the city will need to rezone the property for a casino. The company’s chair is Stefan Soloviev, the son of its late founder, Sheldon Solow.

46. Douglas Eisenberg & Maggie Brunn

Founder and CEO; President, A&E Real Estate
Douglas Eisenberg & Maggie Brunn / A&E Real Estate

A&E Real Estate is having a moment. A lack of supply is driving up rents in New York City apartments, the firm’s bread and butter. A&E recently acquired two luxury rental buildings on the Upper West Side in highly publicized deals. The acquisition of a massive apartment portfolio in Brooklyn in November has made A&E one of the city’s largest landlords. But it’s not all smooth sailing – Douglas Eisenberg had to take back the reins when the former CEO left after less than two years.

47. David Levinson & Robert Lapidus

Chair and CEO; President and Chief Investment Officer, L&L Holding Co.
David Levinson & Robert Lapidus / L&L Holding Co.

L&L Holding Co. founders David Levinson and Robert Lapidus are having a year of ups and downs. L&L made news this year when their joint-venture office building in midtown Manhattan stopped making payments on a $93 million loan. On the flip side, their just-opened billion-dollar glass tower on Park Avenue is 85% leased and boasts one of the largest commercial lease deals in American history. The anticipated opening later this year of TSX Broadway, a hotel, theater and retail project, will be another feather in L&L’s cap.

48. Barry Gosin

CEO, Newmark

It’s been tough recently in New York’s commercial real estate market, so Newmark CEO Barry Gosin is going global. This spring, the company completed the acquisition of Gerald Eve, a top British firm, following the purchase of London-based BH2 last year. That comes after previous European acquisitions. On the domestic front, rumors of a Newmark merger with Cushman & Wakefield were just rumors. Newmark is aggressively pursuing new talent although, like others, its stock price has taken a beating.

49. Hilary Spann

Executive Vice President, New York Region, BXP
Hilary Spann / BXP

Hilary Spann has been at the helm of BXP’s New York region for almost two years, the latest leading role for the New York real estate veteran. While the office market has seen its share of trouble, BXP is upping the ante on Class A properties that tenants seem to want most, a so-called flight to quality. They’re betting big on quality with large projects like a new skyscraper planned for the old Metropolitan Transportation Authority HQ on Madison Avenue and a renovated historic building in the Flatiron District.

50. Ingrid Gould Ellen

Faculty Director, NYU Furman Center
Ingrid Gould Ellen / New York University

Ingrid Gould Ellen is teaching the next generation of urban and housing experts. She also helps define future growth and equity in housing, having edited and authored books on racial segregation. She publishes journal articles on eviction and its consequences to families and individuals and has called for more housing stock. Gould Ellen advised the Obama administration on housing policy appointees, many of whom have made comebacks in top domestic, housing and urban policy posts in the Biden administration.

51. Dean Shapiro

Head of U.S. Development, Oxford Properties
Dean Shapiro / Oxford Properties

Oxford Properties is just about done with a $2 billion office building that will serve as Google’s Manhattan headquarters, one of the largest lease deals ever in the city. Two miles north, in the famed Hudson Yards complex, an additional impressive superstructure opened last year in yet another joint venture, one that will be occupied by investment firm BlackRock. It was Oxford’s Head of U.S. Development Dean Shapiro who steered the company’s investment in redeveloping the former railway yard.

52. Farah Louis & Kevin Riley

Chair, Landmarks, Public Sitings and Dispositions Subcommittee; Chair, Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee, New York City Council
Farah Louis & Kevin Riley / Roman Vail; New York City Council

New York City Council Members Farah Louis and Kevin Riley are using their posts leading key land use subcommittees to guide the future of development across the city. Louis is focused on the city’s historic preservation and landmarks, expressing a desire to maintain the city’s architectural history. Riley has been focused on several large-scale zoning proposals, including the Innovation QNS project in Astoria. Riley and his colleagues did give member deference to City Council Member Julie Won on the issue as Won was negotiating for increased affordable housing. Riley has proposed converting unused office space in the city to housing and focused on the New York City Department of City Planning’s efforts to recruit and retain staff.

53. Rachel Fee

Executive Director, New York Housing Conference
Rachel Fee / Jill Wachter

With a housing shortage in New York state reaching crisis levels, Rachel Fee has directed her ire at Albany for its inaction after lobbying the state Legislature to do something about the lack of affordable housing. Despite this year’s failure of a housing package, her coalition is pushing forward because she says that the right policies need to be put in place to resolve the crisis. She has expressed support for projects like the Gowanus rezoning that will add thousands of affordable housing units to New York City.

54. Nina Kubota

President and CEO, New York City School Construction Authority

As the head of the New York City School Construction Authority, Nina Kubota is at the forefront of Mayor Eric Adams’ climate policy, in particular, a $4 billion plan to electrify the city’s school building stock. The plan requires all new school buildings to be all electric, which is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3%. Other projects Kubota has worked on include a new $15 million urban farm adjacent to a public school in Bergen Beach and a new 547-seat elementary school in Long Island City.

55. Jason Alderman & Sarah Hawkins

Senior Managing Director and City Head, New York; CEO, East Region, Hines
Jason Alderman & Sarah Hawkins / Hines

With 10.3 million square feet of commercial space and $13.8 billion of assets under management, Jason Alderman oversees Hines’ real estate presence in New York. This includes large commercial projects including One Vanderbilt and One Madison, along with 1,350 residential units, both in New York City and the suburbs. Sarah Hawkins oversees the Texas-based real estate company’s interests in New York, Washington, Boston and Philadelphia, with $20 billion in assets under management.

56. Peter Riguardi

Chair and President, New York Tri-State Region, JLL

As head of JLL’s team in the tri-state area, Peter Riguardi has established the firm as a leader in the commercial real estate market. In early June, JLL released an analysis of commercial real estate which showed that 15 million square feet of space is underwater financially, albeit with a projected uptick in the market coming next year. Riguardi is well positioned to lead his team through any troubled waters, with a background that includes brokering deals for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, JetBlue, BlackRock and General Motors.

57. Anthony Malkin

Chair, President and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust
Anthony Malkin / Empire State Realty Trust

The Empire State Building is the most recognizable structure in the world – but the 800-pound gorilla in the room is, with the rate of hybrid work climbing, is the iconic building actually just another office bear? To the contrary, in the first quarter, the observatory had a 110% increase in net operating income, and Empire State Realty Trust’s entire portfolio reported occupancy over 90%. They even replaced a major loss of Signature Bank in one property when Flagstar Bank assumed its lease. The real estate investment trust also saw its stock upgraded by an analyst.

58. Jolie Milstein

President and CEO, New York State Association for Affordable Housing
Jolie Milstein / New York State Association for Affordable Housing

Jolie Milstein went to bat for Gov. Kathy Hochul’s ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful plan to increase the state’s housing stock. While disappointing to affordable housing advocates, other projects are still getting done, like Harbor View Square in Oswego – made up of mostly affordable units that the association recognized as its Upstate Project of the Year – and another new project breaking ground in Rochester. She is also pushing for zoning reform in New York City to help cut carbon emissions.

59. Bruce Teitelbaum

Founder and CEO, RPG

Bruce Teitelbaum has shown that if at first you don’t succeed, just outwait a member of the New York City Council. Teitelbaum’s proposed One45 development in Harlem has been halted by Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan, who pushed for 100% below-market-rate housing and used her member deference to block the project. Teitelbaum, who proposed 50% below market rate, said he’d turn the lot into a truck depot but has plans to bring One45 back. Teitelbaum’s chances have gone up as Richardson Jordan recently dropped her reelection campaign.

60. Suri Kasirer & Eldad Gothelf

President and Founder; Senior Vice President, Real Estate, Kasirer
Suri Kasirer & Eldad Gothelf / Sara Beth Turner

Suri Kasirer has made real estate a cornerstone of her eponymous firm, which remains New York City’s top-ranked lobbying firm by revenue. Kasirer’s real estate practice, led by Eldad Gothelf, has notched a series of wins in the last year. This includes steering the government and community relations work for the $2 billion Innovation QNS project in Astoria. Kasirer was the strategy lead for Stony Brook University’s successful bid to develop the $700 million New York Climate Exchange on Governors Island, a new climate policy and solutions center.

61. James Capalino

CEO, Capalino
James Capalino / Leigh Beckett

Before he founded his government relations firm, James Capalino strategized to help Ed Koch get elected as New York City mayor three times. Since then, he’s grown Capalino to become one of the biggest urban strategy consultancies in New York City with clients that have remade the skyline and culture of the city through projects like the High Line and Hudson Yards. The firm ranked third in the list of top 10 lobbyists by compensation in 2022 as reported by the city clerk’s office.

62. Ethan Geto & Michele de Milly

Principals, Geto & de Milly
Ethan Geto & Michele de Milly / Geto & de Milly

Public affairs firm Geto & de Milly works with real estate developers doing some of the biggest deals in New York City. Ethan Geto’s influence goes up to the top; he was on the board of Mayor Eric Adams’ nonprofit One Brooklyn Fund when Adams was Brooklyn borough president. The firm represents many of the developers who are now buying up and building residential apartment complexes in the massive Gowanus rezoning district.

63. George Fontas

Founder and CEO, Fontas Advisors
George Fontas / Erin Silber Photography

A lifelong Brooklynite, George Fontas’ firm advises real estate clients in New York City during all phases of development – but now, Fontas Advisors is growing past its roots, opening a California office in 2022. A poll they conducted last spring showed that 74% of respondents were in favor of converting office space into housing in Manhattan. Last year, the firm was hired by an organization that is battling the “good cause” eviction bill, which did not pass in Albany this year.

64. Don Peebles

Chair and CEO, The Peebles Corp.
Don Peebles / Nicole Pereira Photography

Don Peebles, one of the most successful Black developers in the country, plans to resubmit plans to develop Site K, a Hudson Yards-adjacent property controlled by the state. Peebles had sought to build a tower with two hotels, office space, an observation deck and the Rev. Al Sharpton’s proposed civil rights museum, but Gov. Kathy Hochul blocked the plan in 2021 citing a lack of affordable housing. Peebles has said it is too expensive to build housing near Hudson Yards and that revenues from his plan could be used to build housing elsewhere in New York City.

65. Jonathan Mechanic, Melanie Meyers & David Karnovsky

Partners, Fried Frank

Representing clients in some of the largest deals in New York City, all three attorneys work in Fried Frank’s real estate division and are known for their knowledge of the city’s land use processes. They’ve been involved in some of the biggest deals in the city: Hudson Yards, the sale of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village to Blackstone and even their own expected move from the Seagram Building to 535 Madison Ave. Melanie Meyers and David Karnovsky are both former general counsels for the New York City Department of City Planning. This year, Jonathan Mechanic was honored at the 2023 Real Estate Development Awards for Lifetime Leadership in Law Practice.

66. Kenneth Fisher

Member, Cozen O’Connor
Kenneth Fisher / Cozen O’Connor

Kenneth Fisher has New York politics coursing through his veins (his father was MTA chair and represented former Gov. Hugh Carey) and his law practice extends that family history. The former Brooklyn New York City council member specialties in zoning law and government relations and is considered a leading land use lawyer. Fisher’s recent work includes projects in the Gowanus redevelopment and land-based issues related to offshore wind. He also thinks that office-to-residential conversions should begin in Manhattan’s Garment District as the space has been underutilized since COVID-19 struck.

67. Teresa Gonzalez & Samara Daly

Partners, Bolton-St. Johns
Teresa Gonzalez & Samara Daly / Bolton-St. Johns; Helena Palazzi

At public relations firm Bolton-St. Johns, Teresa Gonzalez and Samara Daly both work with real estate developers on a range of projects. The pair had previously co-founded DalyGonzalez, a boutique minority and women-owned business enterprise government relations company that they still run. Gonzalez specializes in land use matters and community engagement. She recently opened another firm to empower Latina women in politics, Evolution Strategies. Daly has worked extensively with affordable housing developers and nonprofit capital projects. In 2021, she also co-founded the education and advocacy organization Let’s Talk Menopause.

68. Kristen J. Lonergan, Samir NeJame, Stephen Rabinowitz & Edward Wallace

Shareholders, Greenberg Traurig
Kristen J. Lonergan, Samir NeJame, Stephen Rabinowitz & Edward Wallace / Greenberg Traurig

It was a good year for the shareholders of the New York Real Estate team at Greenberg Traurig. The firm received six Law360 Practice Groups of the Year awards this year, half of which were for the real estate group. In one of their largest transactions at the practice, the team represented owners in part of a $1.7 billion debt restructuring deal of 5 Times Square to renovate the skyscraper. They were also involved in the deal that brought Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to the Lipstick Building at 885 Third Ave., and they advised CBRE in its $4.9 billion acquisition of a portfolio of logistics properties globally.

69. Joe Apicella

Executive Vice President, MacQuesten Development LLC
Joe Apicella / John Roca

MacQuesten Development LLC is a leader in the Westchester development community, and Joe Apicella, the company’s executive vice president, has been integral to that success. MacQuesten has been focused on affordable housing development and transit-oriented housing development across Westchester. Apicella notes that the company’s affordable housing strategy is to include a mix of income levels and to make the buildings look and feel like luxury housing. The Pelham-based developer’s footprint reaches outside of Westchester with projects in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

70. Ross Moskowitz

Partner, Stroock
Ross Moskowitz / Stroock

A power player in New York City’s real estate industry, Ross Moskowitz specializes in advising his clients on zoning and tax law, appearing before government agencies to plead their case. After leading the charge to create a special zoning district in Flushing, his clients are now developing the neighborhood’s Chinatown, which has become a hot spot for building new condos and affordable apartments. He has also recently commented on the success of the office-to-residential conversion trend in downtown Manhattan.

71. Jay Neveloff

Chair, Real Estate, Kramer Levin
Jay Neveloff / David Beyda Studio, NYC

When a big real estate deal is getting done in New York City, there’s a good chance that attorney Jay Neveloff has a seat at the table. He said clients are trying to put more flexibility and protections into deals in a post-pandemic world, and luxury apartment tenants are going into sticker shock as rents rise as much as 30% at renewal. Rising rates, expiration of the 421-a tax exemption and turmoil in the marketplace have kept his firm as busy as ever.

72. Mitchell Korbey

Partner; Chair, Land Use and Zoning Group, Herrick
Mitchell Korbey / Herrick

Mitchell Korbey helps his company’s clients to navigate New York City’s complex and massive zoning regulations and with the proposed adaptive reuse of existing office buildings to residential units, his services will be as important as ever. A former director of city planning in Brooklyn, Korbey has already seen through the rezoning of the Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods. In addition to his practice at Herrick, he is a professor at Brooklyn Law School.

73. Gary R. Eisenman

Of Counsel, Rosenberg & Estis
Gary R. Eisenman / Amy Mayes, Rosenberg & Estis

Gary R. Eisenman has more than 30 years experience in real estate and government, including stints as deputy federal housing commissioner and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s deputy general counsel in the Clinton administration. At Rosenberg & Estis, his practice covers transactions ranging from joint ventures for hotel and condominium development, office and retail leasing and acquisition to disposition of a range of property types. Eisenman jumped to two other large firms after leaving Cravath, Swaine & Moore before he landed at his current position in 2021.

74. Jim Hedden

Managing Member, Treun Realty Investments

Jim Hedden and his team managed to win over one of the New York City Council’s most progressive members to succeed in getting his roughly 1,300-unit Hallett’s North development in western Queens approved. City Council Member Tiffany Cabán signed off on the development after negotiations with Hedden’s team that saw the quarter of below market-rate units moved to even deeper discounted rates, a move Cabán called a success for increasing affordable housing in Queens.

75. Shaun Donovan

Incoming CEO and President, Enterprise Community Partners
Shaun Donovan / Enterprise Community Partners

Coming off his 2021 New York City mayoral bid, former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan is returning full time to housing. He’s taking over Sept. 1 as the new CEO and president of Enterprise Community Partners, a national affordable housing and community development organization. Donovan, a former Bloomberg-era housing commissioner, was a key Obama power player in Washington, helming both HUD and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Enterprise, which has invested $64 billion and developed about 1 million homes across all 50 states, has another former politician serving as its chair – Rick Lazio.

76. Tracy Capune & Jamison Divoll

Vice President; Vice President, Kaufman Astoria Studios; Silverstein Properties
Tracy Capune & Jamison Divoll / Jill Lotenberg, Jill Photography; Silverstein Properties

Part of the team behind the $2 billion Innovation QNS projects, one of the most talked about major developments in Queens, Tracy Capune from Kaufman Astoria Studios and Jamison Divoll from Silverstein Properties helped guide the project to approval. The project won approval after the developers agreed to about 1,400 below market rate units, just under half the project. The Astoria development, blocks from the studio, is being jointly overseen by Kaufman Astoria, Silverstein and BedRock Real Estate Partners. In addition to housing, the project will bring new retail and office space, public parks and a creative space to western Queens.

77. Chuck Berman, Tracey Appelbaum & Jay Martin

Co-Founder and Managing Principal; Co-Founder and Managing Principal; Principal, BedRock Real Estate Partners
Chuck Berman, Tracey Appelbaum & Jay Martin / Submitted; Ed Lederman, Ed Lederman Photography;

With projects dotting Brooklyn and Queens, BedRock Real Estate Partners has been expanding its portfolio across New York. BedRock partnered with Kaufman Astoria Studios and Silverstein Properties on the buzzed-about Innovation QNS project, the recently approved $2 billion mixed-use project in Astoria. The project was navigated through turbulent political waters with local New York City Council Member Julie Won only signing off after a commitment for roughly 1,400 below-market-rate apartments. Chuck Berman previously founded Avalon Properties and later was president of Avalon Bay Communities, while fellow BedRock co-founder Tracey Appelbaum is an Avalon Bay veteran as well. Jay Martin previously was general counsel for architect Rem Koolhaas’ firm. BedRock is also active in Boston and Washington.

78. Jeff Wilpon, Richard Browne & David Ehrenberg

Founding Partner; Managing Partner; Director, P3 Strategic Advisors, Sterling Project Development

The future of Willet’s Point in Queens is still very much tied to the Wilpon family. Wilpon-owned Sterling Equities has partnered with Related Companies as Queens Development Group to build out the massive project, which will include a new soccer stadium for the New York City Football Club, 2,500 units of 100% affordable housing, retail, hotel space and a public elementary school. Jeff Wilpon and Richard Browne are longtime partners in Sterling Project Development, which among other projects developed nearby Citi Field when the Wilpons owned the Mets. David Ehrenberg, a former CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, has recently joined Wilpon and Browne to form P3 Strategic Advisors, which will focus on public-private partnerships and civic development projects.

79. Matt Finkle, Jeff Brodsky & Leleah James

President; Vice Chair; Vice President of Community Engagement, Related Affordable
Leleah James / Asia Geiger

Matt Finkle, Jeff Brodsky and Leleah James lead the affordable housing arm of international real estate company, Related, with a $5 billion portfolio made up of over 50,000 affordable residences nationwide. Related unveiled its vision, along with partners Sterling Equities and the New York City Football Club soccer team, for the Willets Point revitalization plan in Queens that will provide one of the largest 100% affordable housing developments in decades and a 25,000-seat soccer stadium. James also manages the company’s nonprofit Related Affordable Foundation, which recently worked with Kaboom, an organization committed to building community play spaces across the county, to put together a playground in San Antonio.

80. Joel Marcus & John Cunningham

Executive Chair and Founder; Executive Vice President and Regional Market Director for New York City, Alexandria Real Estate Equities

Alexandria Real Estate Equities was an early investor in the life sciences real estate sector when the company was founded in 1994. The real estate investment trust crafted an early vision of life sciences in New York City, resulting in the Alexandria Center for Life Sciences in Kips Bay, one of the first in Manhattan. Alexandria has plans to construct a second phase within the recently proposed Science Park and Research Campus in Kips Bay, a public-private partnership that will expand the city’s life sciences industry.

81. Tom & Frederick Elghanayan

Chair; President, TF Cornerstone
Tom & Frederick Elghanayan / TF Cornerstone

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? If you’re Tom and Frederick Elghanayan, it’s not too far. The brothers own Carnegie Hall Tower, right next door to the world famous concert venue. It seems like there isn’t a corner of New York City that these brothers haven’t turned to gold recently and with impeccable timing. A 798-unit mixed-use project in Brooklyn that includes 240 affordable apartments just opened, and in Queens, a three-building development is under way that promises almost 1,200 new units, 719 of them affordable.

82. Frank Marino & John Marino

CEO; President, Marino
Frank Marino & John Marino / Marty Berman

Frank and John Marino’s public relations agency celebrated three big rezoning wins and the firm’s 30th anniversary this year. Marino’s work includes the $2 billion Innovation QNS project, the largest private affordable housing development in Queens history. Another project in Hallets North makes way for 1,340 new apartments in Queens. In the Bronx, a proposal for more than 340 apartment units on Bruckner Boulevard brought fierce opposition from residents who rallied against the rezoning, but the New York City Council approved the project.

83. David Picket & Bryan Kelly

CEO; President of Development, Gotham Organization; Gotham Development
David Picket & Bryan Kelly / Gotham Organization

It’s a good time to be developing multifamily housing in New York City. Gotham has over 2.5 million square feet of housing in development, more than 50% of which is affordable. At Gotham’s helm is David Picket, a fourth-generation leader at Gotham. Bryan Kelly has been leading the development team at Gotham since 2016. Projects include the Broome Street Development, a mixed-use project in the Lower East Side that began leasing this year. In East New York, Gotham is partnering with local community organizations to develop a mixed-use “urban village” concept containing affordable housing, a grocery store, pharmacy, walk-in medical center and a day care facility.

84. Aaron Carr

Founder and Executive Director, Housing Rights Initiative
Aaron Carr / Celeste Sloman

A leading advocate for tenants rights and affordable housing, Aaron Carr has been focused on trying to open up more affordable housing in New York City – both in the courts and in the court of public opinion. In February, a federal judge allowed Housing Rights Initiative’s lawsuit against 77 real estate firms and property owners for denying Section 8 housing voucher use to proceed. In the spring, Carr and HRI filed a similar lawsuit against brokerages on Long Island. If successful, the lawsuits could bring sweeping changes to the rental market in New York City and Long Island.

85. Robert Rodriguez

Secretary of State

While many secretaries of state across the country primarily handle election administration, Robert Rodriguez is knee-deep in redevelopment. Rodriguez oversees several key local development programs, including the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and the NY Forward program, which focuses on villages and rural communities. Projects that are funded by the Downtown Revitalization Initiative include a solar village in Geneva, craft breweries in Olean and Batavia, downtown revitalization projects in Oswego, Niagara Falls and Staten Island, new housing in Manhattan’s Chinatown and a $10 million grant for a multifaceted redevelopment project in downtown Troy.

86. Jacqui Williams

Founder, 99 Solutions

When you’re in the real estate industry and you have a problem, Jacqui Williams has 99 Solutions. Her lobbying firm works with some of the biggest names in the the industry including the Real Estate Board of New York and Tishman Speyer as well as some in cannabis and telecommunications. Williams went from serving the country in the Navy to homelessness before she worked her way up to become a government relations consultant, where she worked to bring the first Wegmans supermarket to Brooklyn.

87. Kyle Strober

Executive Director, Association for a Better Long Island
Kyle Strober / Judy Walker

A former top Long Island aide for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Kyle Strober is in the thicket of battles against “good cause” eviction legislation and other development needs on Long Island. Strober has called the proponents of “good cause” eviction “a small group of self-proclaimed New York City-based socialists” and argued that the legislation would harm tenants and housing development. Strober, who has said he has to balance those who want more housing with those who argue there is too much growth, was recently named to the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

88. MaryAnne Gilmartin

Founder and CEO, MAG Partners

MaryAnne Gilmartin founded MAG Partners in 2020, and the company she built is already a force to be reckoned with in New York City’s real estate power structure with a vision to “build beauty and create lasting value.” Gilmartin also won’t shy away from the tough deals. Earlier this year, the company began leasing apartments at its first New York City building called Ruby. The company has a total of $1 billion in the development pipeline in New York.

89. Ann Korchak

President, Small Property Owners of New York
Ann Korchak / Pete Coco Photography

A top advocate for New York’s small landlords, Ann Korchak has emerged as a key opponent of two of contentious policies: “good cause” eviction, which hasn’t passed, and congestion pricing, which has. Korchak, who owns two multifamily buildings on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, has argued that congestion pricing will create new costs for her, which she will likely have to pass on to her tenants. Korchak and others are opposing “good cause” eviction legislation on the grounds that it will harm small landlords.

90. Nick Romito & Ryan Masiello

Co-Founders, VTS
Nick Romito & Ryan Masiello / VTS

Data and tech is vital to every single business, and real estate is certainly no exception. So much so that it is defined as property technology, also known as proptech. Nick Romito and Ryan Masiello’s proptech company VTS is utilized by some of the biggest players in the industry to lease and manage their properties. VTS has been on an expansion spree in the last year or so, acquiring companies and increasing its product offerings. Last year, CBRE pledged $100 million to VTS, joined its board and is helping to develop a platform for its own brokers and clients.

91. Jesse Lazar

Interim Executive Director, American Institute of Architects New York
Jesse Lazar / Samuel Lahoz

Jesse Lazar succeeded Benjamin Prosky as executive director of the American Institute of Architects New York on an interim basis in February. In March, AIA hosted the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s third round Buildings of Excellence awards program, which honors architects focused on low carbon emissions buildings. Lazar, a former senior project manager at the New York City Economic Development Corp., has been with AIA since 2014 in a variety of roles.

92. Ken Glazer

Chair and CEO, Buckingham Properties

A top developer in Rochester, Ken Glazer has led the company founded by his father, Larry Glazer, since his father’s 2014 death. Buckingham has 10 million square feet of office, industrial, retail and residential property space in the Rochester area, along with owning 200 acres of development land. The portfolio includes some of the largest buildings in downtown Rochester. Glazer also leads Canstruction Rochester, an annual design-build competition with structures made from canned food that is later donated to a local food bank.

93. Adam Flatto

President and CEO, The Georgetown Co.
Adam Flatto / The Georgetown Co.

New York-based The Georgetown Co. has been guided by President and CEO Adam Flatto for over 30 years. After the 2022 acquisition of the 707 Eleventh Ave. building for $95 million, Georgetown decided to raze the former HQ of shoemaker Kenneth Cole. Up the street at 787 Eleventh Ave., the company is finishing up renovating the 10-story office building. Flatto has spearheaded projects to renovate iconic institutions like the New York Public Library and this year gave a sizable donation to the Park Avenue Armory where he is a board member.

94. Alex Zablocki

Executive Director, Public Housing Community Fund
Alex Zablocki / Submitted

When he took the helm at the Public Housing Community Fund a year ago, Alex Zablocki hit the ground running. Zablocki, a 2009 New York City public advocate candidate, announced the creation of a new Clean Energy Academy, which will train New York City Housing Authority residents for careers in renewable energy, a program backed by a who’s who of the state’s clean energy community. He also announced a $3.2 million grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust for new resident-driven green space projects at NYCHA housing and presided over a successful youth media academy.

95. Andrew Joblon & Ryan Nelson

Founder and Managing Principal; Managing Principal, Turnbridge Equities
Andrew Joblon & Ryan Nelson / Turnbridge Equities

Turnbridge Equities, the New York City-based real estate developer, kicked off a number of big projects across the country this year, including a 116,500-square-foot mixed-use development in Nashville and the redevelopment of a mall in Long Beach, California. Andrew Joblon launched the firm in 2014 after leaving the legendary Fisher Brothers. Ryan Nelson joined as managing principal in 2018, coming from MRP Realty where he opened its New York office. The company has amassed a diverse portfolio of properties worth over $2 billion. Closer to home, Turnbridge topped out a five-story industrial building in the South Bronx in December, a major project to create a last mile logistics center.

96. Vaughn Ratchford

Chief Real Estate Officer, New York Blood Center
Vaughn Ratchford / Andy Ryan Photography

In November, Vaughn Ratchford left his post at New York City Economic Development Corp., where he oversaw the company’s massive real estate portfolio, to become the chief real estate officer at New York Blood Center. Ratchford manages strategy for the New York Blood Center’s real estate holdings and future development. Ratchford steps in as the nonprofit embarks on a $750 million project to redevelop its existing headquarters on the Upper East Side into a 16-story life sciences hub, a plan that has been getting pushback from local residents.

97. Kevin Bette

President, First Columbia

A leading developer in the Capital Region, Kevin Bette is working on projects to reinvent the riverfront area in downtown Troy. Bette’s work includes new commercial and residential development along the waterfront, along with a new hotel. Bette’s work expands outside the Albany region, including New York International Plaza in the Orange County community of New Windsor. This project will include over 2 million square feet of office and industrial space, retail space, hotels, housing, restaurants and health care access.

98. Jack Stoller

Supervising Judge, New York City Housing Court

Since the moratorium on evictions ended, New York has seen a flood of cases hit the courtrooms, and many tenants are not being represented. Supervising Housing Court Judge Jack Stoller said as much in a virtual Q&A session last October. Also at issue is the lack of courtroom staff to help handle cases. The backlog has gotten so bad that the Kings County Bar Association is considering a lawsuit against the courts; Stoller is meeting with other high-level judges to discuss the problem.

99. Michael Borges & Julie Chevalier

Executive Director; Chair, Rural Housing Coalition of New York; New York State Rural Advocates

Rural New York has an older population with a higher disability rate, alongside an aging and less adapted housing stock, creating a specific housing crisis in a large swath of the state. Michael Borges of the Rural Housing Coalition of New York and New York State Rural Advocates’ Julie Chevalier have become the primary affordable housing advocates for rural New Yorkers. While many housing advocates were left disappointed by Albany this year, Borges and Chevalier are not among them. A number of Rural Housing Coalition of New York’s priorities made it into the state budget, including increased funding for programs that help low-to-moderate-income seniors and disabled homeowners with repairs and modifications. In the state budget, the Rural Housing Coalition of New York also received a $250,000 carve-out from the rural preservation program funding to support training and technical assistance for New York State Rural Advocates’ member nonprofits.

100. Brendan Wallace

Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Fifth Wall

Real estate tech – aka proptech – is a hot commodity in the industry, giving users the ability to track data across services and properties and visualize it from every angle. Brendan Wallace from proptech investment firm Fifth Wall agrees. The company he co-founded has benefitted from it, to the tune of $3.2 billion in assets currently under management, and so have the companies they invested in, like VTS, real estate services platform Lessen and a number that have since gone public, such as construction management software service Procore.

Did we miss anyone? Let us know at lists@cityandstateny.com. And pitch us names for our upcoming power lists here.

Correction: This post has been updated to reflect the valuation of Blackstone's real estate portfolio and investment from the University of California Endowment. Scott Rechler's entry was updated to reflect that the name of his company is now RXR. The name of the Grand Street Guild project has been updated. 

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