The Real Deal New York

Corcoran agent hopes to ‘survive’ in jungle

August 11, 2010 06:00PM
By Amy Tennery

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alternate textCorcoran agent Matthew Lenahan, who will appear on “Survivor,” has listings at the Soha 118 in Harlem (Lenahan photo source: CBS)

While New York City real estate agents need thick skin — enduring a cutthroat industry with infighting, mind games and, at times, harsh environs — there’s one jungle that most of them would not be prepared for: the Nicaraguan wilderness.

But one agent, Matthew Lenahan from the Corcoran Group, who specializes in the Harlem market and whose listings include units in the Soha 118 at 301 West 118th Street, will face a challenge unthinkable by most. He is among the cast members for the new season of “Survivor,” set to debut Sept. 15, during which time contests will face numerous mental and physical challenges, in a bid to win a $1 million grand prize.

In addition to his name appearing on the Corcoran website, it can be found on an online “Survivor” fan page.

While Lenahan is taking hits on the official CBS fan page (“Anyone else think Matthew is a MAJOR [past contestant] Tyson [Apostol] WANNABE???” snarks one poster), his Corcoran family has been more generous when talking to The Real Deal about him.

“I think he’ll be amazing,” said Lior Politi, a Corcoran senior associate who is currently marketing several listings in the condo 239 West 135th Street, and who works in Lenahan’s office at 888 Seventh Avenue between 56th and 57th streets.

“He has a strong personality,” Politi added.

“Strong personality” may be an understatement, if we are to believe Lenahan’s contestant bio.

Lenahan — who goes by the nickname “Sash” on the show — lists “extreme adventures, running, [and] dating beautiful women” as his “hobbies” and says being “one of the youngest brokers ever on Wall Street” is a “personal claim to fame.”

In a taped interview for the show, Lenahan says that he has the female contestants “wrapped around my finger” while flashing an improbably white grin (“As soon as they sign them, do they hand them Crest Whitestrips??” queries another poster on the CBS fan page).

Lenahan did not respond to phone calls or e-mails from The Real Deal. According to a CBS spokesperson, contestants on the show are not permitted to comment to the press until right before the show airs.

Sandy Wilson, a senior vice president with Corcoran, who also works in Lenahan’s office, paints a different picture from the naysayers.

“He’s a terrific young man,” Wilson said, describing Lenahan as “hard-working” and “a sweet guy.”

Of course, experience braving the urban jungle could also be an asset for Lenahan.

“In New York City [as an agent], you have to be really aggressive, strategic,” said Jana Kolpen, an associate broker with Corcoran.

It’s no surprise, then, that many in the real estate community have been drawn to reality television.

On HGTV’s “Selling New York,” for example, Michele Kleier’s boutique brokerage, Gumley Haft Kleier, is featured alongside fellow firm Core Group Marketing, on a mission to sell pricey apartments.

But Kleier said she would “never, never, never in 100 years” appear on a show like “Survivor,” preferring to participate with a show whose direct focus is on real estate.

“We felt [the producers of "Selling New York"] were not out to catch us doing something that would humiliate us,” Kleier said, of her firm’s decision to appear on the show.

As for those in Lenahan’s shoes, she has fairly succinct advice.

“Just be yourself,” Kleier said. “Hopefully being yourself is appealing.”

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