The Brownstoner Top Leaders in Brooklyn Real Estate, Architecture, Design and Development 2019

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    Meet the 2019 Brownstoner top leaders in Brooklyn real estate, architecture, design and development. Working in fields as various as historic preservation, affordable housing development, architecture and art, they are helping to make Brooklyn a better place.

    Selected by a panel of judges comprising principals from Brooklyn Heights Association, Brooklyn Historical Society, CPEX Real Estate, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Flavor Paper, Komaru Enterprises and Prospect Park Alliance, as well as Brownstoner, they will be honored at the Brownstoner RADD Awards on Thursday, March 21. (Get your tickets here.)

    Here they are, in alphabetical order:

    Tamara Abir
    Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Compass

    An award-winning emerging agent, Tamara Abir has sold more than $150 million worth of properties since 2014. She and her brother co-lead the Tamara + Noah Team, named one of the top 200 teams in New York by the Wall Street Journal. New development sales and marketing and first-time homebuyers are among their specialties. A voice actor, she began buying and selling property in college.

    Morris Adjmi
    Founder and Principal, Morris Adjmi Architects

    Morris Adjmi Architects is known for buildings that are both contextual and contemporary, and their projects are among the most prominent and positive designs contributing to Brooklyn today. A two time winner of the RADD Awards, founder and principal Morris Adjmi was recognized last year for the design of condos at 465 Pacific Street in Boerum Hill, and this year we are honoring him for 211 Schermerhorn, a harmonious 14-story brick condo in Boerum Hill. The adaptive reuse of Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg is among their best known works.

    Brendan Aguayo
    Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Halstead Development Marketing

    Brendan Aguayo handles new development marketing for Halstead and has helped develop more than 300 projects in the New York area, including one of the first Passive House apartment buildings in the U.S. The Aguayo Team was ranked the No. 1 Brooklyn residential team with $289.7 million in sales volume in 2017, according to The Real Deal. A licensed broker, he has served on the board of Arts Gowanus and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and has helped build affordable housing in Suffolk County as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.

    Shlomi Bagdadi
    President, Tri State Commercial Realty Inc.

    Shlomi Bagdadi has more than a decade of experience in commercial real estate. He leads Tri State Commercial Realty Inc., an award-winning commercial real estate brokerage specializing in Brooklyn. The firm handled the highest volume of retail leases in Brooklyn two years in a row, according to the Real Deal.

    Simeon Bankoff
    Executive Director, Historic Districts Council

    A Brooklyn native, Simeon Bankoff is a passionate advocate for historic buildings and neighborhoods throughout New York City. Historic Districts Council supports Brooklyn residents in their preservation efforts from Dumbo to East New York and provides crucial guidance and perspective on landmarking.

    Malene Barnett
    Artist and Founder, Malene B Atelier and Black Artists + Designers Guild

    Artist and designer Malene Barnett is known for her luxurious and abstract carpets, bold use of color and global references. Partners and clients include Kravat, WeWork and Saks Fifth Avenue. In 2018, she founded Black Artists + Designers Guild to highlight the talents of black artists and designers.

    Lindsay Barton Barrett
    Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Douglas Elliman

    Lindsay Barton Barrett is one of the top producing agents in the U.S., with more than $200 million in closed sales in 2017. A resident of Cobble Hill and a former real estate attorney, she believes in humor and a low-pressure attitude.

    Kim Brown
    Founder and Owner, Greenpoint Hill

    Artist and attorney Kim Brown showcases and supports Brooklyn artists, bringing them to a wider audience. Her gallery and store, Greenpoint Hill, is an important node in the Greenpoint and Brooklyn art and design community, focusing on art, wallpaper, jewelry and ceramics.

    Brendan Coburn
    Founder and Principal, CWB Architects

    Brendan Coburn is known for high-end modern and historic townhouse renovations. Before founding CWB Architects in 1997, he worked for I.M. Pei and Partners and Rafael Vinoly Architects. He is on the board for Historic Districts Council, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and Brooklyn Central YMCA. A recent and notable project was gut renovating, updating and restoring a mansard-roof Boerum Hill townhouse.

    Rhea Cohen
    Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens

    Lifetime Brooklyn resident Rhea Cohen specializes in Brooklyn Heights real estate, and sold the highest priced townhouse in the neighborhood in 2007 and 2014. A former social worker, she is a filmmaker and knitter and member of the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange and Brooklyn Bridge Park Coalition.



    Dan Conlon
    Managing Director of Leasing, Two Trees Management Co.

    Handling office space leasing for Two Trees in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Dan Conlon has helped shape the character of Dumbo through its commercial tenants, many of whom are tech and creative companies. Prior to joining Two Trees, he was chief financial officer and helmed leasing for the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where he increased the number of tenants from 39 to 275.

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    James Cornell
    Licensed Associate RE Broker, Cornell-Marshall Team at Corcoran

    A top producing agent for Brooklyn, James Cornell is included in the Wall Street Journal top 150 U.S. agents list. He handles townhouses, co-ops, condos and new developments. Theater, cooking and tennis are among his interests.

    Danielle Fennoy
    Partner and Co-Owner, Revamp Interior Design

    Danielle Fennoy designs elegant, livable interiors for residential and commercial spaces. She admires Scandinavian design and met her business partner as a design student in Denmark. Recent projects include creating interiors for a Park Slope brownstone using patterned Ghanaian fabric and Eskayel wallpaper.

    Rob Fields
    President & Executive Director, Weeksville Heritage Center

    On the 50th anniversary of the “rediscovery” of Weeksville, cultural curator and marketer Rob Fields has helped expand programming and collections. Innovative and educational programs relating to African American history include exhibitions, film, dance and theater.

    Jeanne Gang
    Founding Principal, Studio Gang

    Architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang is known for innovative, community-oriented design around the globe. Recent Brooklyn projects include an innovative precast concrete fire station in Ocean Hill and a skyscraper with a wavy, sculptural facade replacing the Macy’s parking garage at 11 Hoyt in Downtown Brooklyn.

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    Glenn Gissler
    President, Glenn Gissler Design

    With a background in architecture and art, Glenn Gissler maximizes flow and ensures spaces have the right amount of visual interest and architectural detail. Renovating a historic Park Slope townhouse in 2007 was his first Brooklyn project. More recently, he designed the parlor of the Brooklyn Heights Association’s first showhouse in 2017. Before starting his own firm in 1987, he worked with designer Juan Montoya and architect Rafael Vinoly. He is a former RISD Museum board member and past president of the New York Metro Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers.

    Sara Golan
    Licensed Associate Broker, Nest Seekers International

    Sara Golen worked as a developer and a lender before focusing on residential sales in Brooklyn and Queens in 2012. A co-manager of Ryan Serhant’s Bed Stuy office, she helps developers customize newly renovated townhouses. Interests include travel and volunteering. She is an investor in Prospect Heights’ Olmsted restaurant.

    Joan Goldberg
    Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Brown Harris Stevens

    Joan Goldberg is one of Brown Harris Stevens’ top producers and frequently appears as a real estate expert in local and national media. A member of the Brooklyn Heights Association, she is active in community affairs.

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    Katherine Hammond
    Stylist and Interior Designer

    Katherine Hammond is a stylist and interior designer whose clients include photographers, architects and homeowners. Recent projects include interior design for a mansard-roof townhouse in Boerum Hill that was gut renovated by CWB Architects.

    Chris Havens
    Managing Director, Office Leasing, TerraCRG

    A force in the Brooklyn real estate market for more than 20 years, Chris Havens has brought innovative tenants to new office conversions throughout Brooklyn. He has worked with Two Trees, aptsandlofts.com, Industry City and 1000 Dean Street, among others. Early in his career, he helped create affordable housing in central Brooklyn. He is a Trustee of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and a member of the Advisory Board to The West Indian-American Day Carnival Association.

    Karen Haycox
    Habitat NYC Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity

    When Karen Haycox joined Habitat for Humanity in 2015, she set a goal of creating affordable housing for 2,021 families in New York City by 2021. Currently has more than 451 affordable units in the works. Recent projects include building 15 condos on Dean Street in Brownsville. Formerly a producer in advertising and film, she serves on the boards of the Stonewall Community Development Coalition and Housing Partnership.

    Michael Ingui
    Partner, Baxt Ingui Architects

    Michael Ingui has significantly advanced Passive House construction in Brooklyn with Baxt Ingui Architects’ many Passive House projects. In particular, it is known for its pioneering work retrofitting historic townhouses to Passive House standards. The award-winning firm has many Brooklyn projects, and its volunteer work includes pro bono consulting and designing for Brooklyn Community Housing and Services.

    Karen Karbiener
    President, Walt Whitman Initiative

    Author and NYU professor, Walt Whitman enthusiast Karen Karbiener cofounded the Walt Whitman Initiative to bring together people interested in Brooklyn’s most famous poet. One of its projects is to help landmark Whitman’s home where he wrote “Leaves of Grass” at 99 Ryerson Street in Wallabout.

    Josh Lekwa
    Senior Associate, Elizabeth Roberts Architecture & Design

    Josh Lekwa, a longtime associate at Elizabeth Roberts Architecture & Design, has a special interest in architectural history and historic preservation. He served as project architect on a gut renovation of a mid-19th century Cobble Hill townhouse that involved adding an unusual sculptural stair and other contemporary elements while also reflecting the history of the building. Another recent project was a gut renovation of a Fort Greene townhouse that included an addition and re-creating original details.

    Ban Leow
    Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Halstead Real Estate

    A Bed Stuy expert and one of Brooklyn’s top sellers who is frequently quoted in the media, Ban Leow crushed the previous Bed Stuy townhouse price record when he sold the John C. Kelley mansion at 247 Hancock Street for $6.275 million in September. A champion of local mom and pop businesses, he has worked in the restaurant industry and had a mid-century modern vintage home furnishings store in Bed Stuy called casaBAN.

    Michael Lichtenstein
    President, Heritage Equity Partners

    A zoning lawyer and developer with years of experience in construction, Michael Lichtenstein has been with Heritage Equity Partners since its 2008 debut. The company, whose tag line is “unique contextualized development,” has more than five office and hotel projects completed or in the works in north and central Brooklyn. Recent projects include the Williamsburg Hotel and 25 Kent, a large and high quality spec office development with light manufacturing close to the Williamsburg waterfront.

    Linda Mariano
    Co-Founder, Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus

    A tireless advocate for Gowanus, Linda Mariano co-founded nonprofit community organization FROGG in 2003. The group works to restore the natural environment, clean up the Gowanus Canal, and preserve the area’s historic buildings and heritage. Accomplishments include saving the Green Building, now an event space, from being razed for condos and bringing about an EPA-led Superfund cleanup for the area. FROGG advocates for landmark and National Register of Historic Places designation for the industrial heritage area and individual buildings, such as the Gowanus Station. She is a painter, former art teacher and author who has lived in Gowanus since 1976.

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    Leslie Marshall
    Licensed Associate RE Broker, Cornell-Marshall Team at Corcoran

    A top producing agent for Brooklyn, Leslie Marshall is included in the Wall Street Journal top 150 U.S. agents list. She handles townhouses, co-ops, condos and new developments. She enjoys Pilates, interior design and the Brooklyn Nets and is a member of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and the Heights Casino.

    Meredith Marshall
    Managing Partner and Co-Founder, BRP Companies

    With a background in finance, global development and electrical engineering, Meredith Marshall handles investment strategy for BRP Companies, a New York-based developer known for affordable housing. He puts together deals, acquires property, procures financing, develops properties and oversees strategic partnerships, including with New York City housing agencies. Recent projects include developing more than 290 affordable units at Livonia Commons, a 100 percent affordable complex, in East New York.

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    Toby Moskovits
    Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Equity Partners

    Prior to establishing Heritage Equity Partners in 2008, Toby Moskovits was an analyst for a venture capital firm and managed private equity and venture capital funding for a New York real estate firm. Heritage Equity Partners, whose tag line is “unique contextualized development,” has more than five office and hotel projects completed or in the works in north and central Brooklyn. Recent projects include the Williamsburg Hotel and 25 Kent, a large and high quality spec office development with light manufacturing close to the Williamsburg waterfront. She is also a board member for women in business nonprofit Springtime Enterprises, serves on Community Board 1, and advises St. Nicks Alliance on job creation for north Brooklyn.

    Gregory O’Connell
    Managing Partner, The O’Connell Organization

    A positive force in the Red Hook community and beyond, Gregory O’Connell manages commercial and residential property for the family real estate business, founded by his father in 1967. With fully occupied commercial spaces, including numerous historic commercial buildings in Red Hook such as the storied Red Hook Stores, he and The O’Connell Organization acquire, adapt and manage property while also preserving its historic value and enhancing the surrounding community. Past and current tenants include Fairway, Fleisher’s Grassfed and Organic Meats, Mile End Delicatessen and Brooklyn Crab.


    Tonya Ores
    Executive Director, Neighborhood Housing Services of Brooklyn CDC Inc.

    A lifetime Brooklynite, Tonya Ores has helped obtain more than $48 million to support homeownership and home preservation for Brooklyn residents. She formulates strategies, programs, services and partnerships to promote affordable and safe communities and housing. Created in 1982 to combat redlining and its devastating effects, NHS Brooklyn focuses on central and southern Brooklyn. The nonprofit’s programs include rehabilitation and development of affordable housing and home maintenance classes for homeowners.

    Andrea Parker
    Executive Director, Gowanus Canal Conservancy

    Andrea Parker advocates for and helps create innovative green infrastructure around the Gowanus Canal. Recent green infrastructure projects include bioswales, composting, reducing sewage overflow and education. An adjunct lecturer at City College who studied art and landscape architecture, she has worked as a gardener and landscape designer.

    Noah Plener
    Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Compass

    A former resident of the Upper West Side who now lives in Brooklyn, Noah Plener focuses on residential sales in both boroughs. He and his sister co-lead the Tamara + Noah Team, named one of the top 200 teams in New York by the Wall Street Journal. New development sales and marketing and first-time homebuyers are among their specialties. He enjoys the NBA and comedy.

    Tim Quinlan
    Principal, Quinlan Development Group

    Tim Quinlan oversees the operations of Quinlan Development Group and has developed more than 1 million square feet. Founded by a preservationist, Quinlan Development Group aims to create architecturally significant buildings that make the most of the context and character of their environment. Recent projects include the of Fort Greene’s historic Pioneer Building into modern offices. The limestone and terracotta building, recently a self storage facility, was built in 1897 as the Pioneer Warehouse.

    Mark Reigelman
    Artist

    Brooklyn-based artist Mark Reigelman designed Sweetwater Playground at Domino Park to playfully evoke the site’s sugar factory and refinery process, with slides, climbers and catwalks housed in a silo, cabin and industrial container. (The children are the metaphoric raw material in need of refinement.) With a background in sculpture and industrial design, he is known for site-specific installations that provoke and alter interaction with public space.

    Michael Rudin
    Senior Vice President, Rudin Management Company and Managing Partner, Rudin West Development

    Michael Rudin handles new development, commercial and retail leasing, technology and sustainability for the privately held real estate company, founded in 1925. Recent work includes handling commercial leasing for Dock72, which the company helped develop with WeWork and Boston Properties, in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute and on the board of Friends of the BQX.

    Libby Ryan
    Associate Broker, Compass

    Libby Ryan is part of the Ryan and Ryan team, which has sold more than $650 million worth of property and won numerous awards. Specialities include brownstone Brooklyn, boutique new developments, staging and pricing. She has worked on Wall Street, served as a NYC Landmarks Preservation Commissioner, is on the board of the Prospect Park Alliance, and chairs the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center board.

    Maria Ryan
    Real Estate Broker, Compass

    Maria Ryan is part of the Ryan and Ryan team, which has sold more than $650 million worth of property and won numerous awards. Specialities include brownstone Brooklyn, boutique new developments, staging and pricing. A licensed attorney, she was a prosecutor for the Bronx District Attorney. She is a member of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council.

    Christopher Sharples
    Principal, SHoP Architects

    New York City-based architect Christopher Sharples has had no small part in reshaping Brooklyn. As one of the principals of SHoP Architects, he is behind the design of Barclays Center, which was completed in 2012. The firm developed the master plan for the Domino Sugar site in Williamsburg, which includes the recently opened Domino Park and the project’s first residential building, 325 Kent.

    Cece Stelljes
    Partner and Co-Owner, Revamp Interior Design

    Former music industry executive Cece Stelljes brings an adventurous edge to the interiors she creates. She studied in Denmark, where she met her business partner as a fellow design student, and at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. A recent project included creating interiors for a Park Slope brownstone using patterned Ghanaian fabric and Eskayel wallpaper.

    Lisa Tziona Switkin
    Senior Principal, James Corner Field Operations

    Lisa Tzonia Switkin is behind many of the biggest, high-profile projects at landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations, including Domino Park and The High Line. A member of the Board of the Landscape Architecture Foundation, Switkin received the Rome Prize and was a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome in 2007-2008. She is currently overseeing work on the 22-acre Greenpoint Landing project.


    Ariel Tavivian
    Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Douglas Elliman

    Ariel Tavivian is a co-leader of the Tavivian Team at Douglas Elliman, which averages more than 200 closed sales per year and has sold more than $1 billion worth of property to date. A former karate champion and Intelligence Analyst in the Israeli Defense Forces, he and his brother founded of the proprietary price-discovery and valuation platform Compit, used by more than 3,000 agents. He is president of congregation Magen David of Manhattan, and helps organizations such as FIDF Young Professional Committee, Larger than Life and Chabad.

    Yair Tavivian
    Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, Douglas Elliman

    Yair Tavivian is a co-leader of The Tavivian Team at Douglas Elliman, which averages more than 200 closed sales per year and has sold more than $1 billion worth of property to date. Previously, he served in an Air Force Intelligence Unit in the Israel Defense Forces, and with his brother funded he proprietary price-discovery and valuation platform Compit, used by more than 3,000 agents. He is a sponsor of Shoulder to Shoulder in Israel, and active with FIDF and Chabad Institutes in New York and Israel.

    Daniel Tropp
    Investment Sales Professional, Ariel Property Advisors

    A native Brooklynite, Daniel Tropp uses his local knowledge to execute deals throughout the borough. With his team he has sold more than $271 million in multifamily, development, and commercial real estate in Brooklyn since 2012. He is the co-chair of the REBNY Commercial Brooklyn Committee and a volunteer at Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and South Brooklyn Lion’s Club.

    Richard Velotta
    Managing Director, Meridian Investment Sales, Meridian Capital Group

    Richard Velotta focuses on the the sale of residential, mixed-use, commercial and development properties in New York City. In 2018, he helped broker a deal for the sale of a portfolio of New York City residential and commercial properties for more than $100 million. The sale included multiple properties in Brooklyn.

    Matthew Viragh
    Founder, Nitehawk Cinema

    Since founding Williamsburg’s Nitehawk Cinema in 2011, Matthew Viragh has changed the way the borough watches movies, bringing table-side service to the theater experience. More recently, Viragh was a key driving force in helping to rescue and restore the landmarked former home of Park Slope’s Pavilion Theater. Once slated to become condos, it is now Nitehawk Prospect Park.

    Brad Vogel
    Preservationist

    An attorney with a passion for preservation, Brad Vogel serves as the Executive Director of the New York Preservation Archive Project and volunteers on preservation projects in Brooklyn. He has worked to raise the profile of landmarking campaigns for the Gowanus Station, Bowne Warehouse and Walt Whitman house.

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    Christian Zimmerman
    Vice President Capital and Landscape Management, Prospect Park Alliance

    For almost 30 years Christian Zimmerman has been an advocate for and steward of Brooklyn’s backyard. During that time, he has overseen numerous landscape restoration projects that have transformed Prospect Park after years of neglect and returned it to a vibrant community space. Major projects have included Lakeside, the Zucker Natural Exploration Area and the Ravine.

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