Top retail broker Amira Yunis dead at 51

Award-winning Newmark, CBRE dealmaker passed away after long battle with cancer

New York /
Sep.September 10, 2021 04:00 PM
Amira Yunis (Sarcoma Foundation of America)

Amira Yunis (Sarcoma Foundation of America)

Amira Yunis, the former model who turned to real estate and became one of the city’s top-performing retail brokers over her two-decade career, has died after an eight-year battle with cancer. She was 51.

Born in a small town in Minnesota, Yunis worked as a model and a waitress in a Queens sports bar as a single mother before breaking into the male-dominated field of retail brokerage, joining Newmark in 2000. In 2006, she won the REBNY Ingenious Deal of the Year Award for helping New York University bring Manhattan’s first Trader Joe’s to Union Square.

By then one of Newmark’s top retail brokers, she became the first female principal in Newmark’s New York office, building a reputation for reeling in major national and international brands seeking to plant a flag in Manhattan. Her jump to CBRE in 2011, shortly after Newmark was acquired by BGC Partners, made waves in the industry.

Yunis attributed much of her success to her skill at deciphering the opaque retail market — and not waiting for spaces to become vacant before pouncing.

“Typically, good retail areas have very low vacancy rates,” she told the New York Times in 2012. “Finding out who owns which buildings, who are the decision makers and when leases come due can be very hard to figure out,” she said, adding that 35 percent of her deals have been for spaces that were never officially on the market.

In 2013, Yunis was diagnosed with sarcoma in her hip bone. After treatment, she was in remission for five years before the cancer reappeared in her heart in 2018. Then last year, she was diagnosed with a glioma in her brain.

In the years since her initial diagnosis, Yunis became active in the Sarcoma Foundation of America as a board member and fundraiser, and in 2014 received the Stand Up to Sarcoma Courage Award.

She died of the disease in early September, according to a statement from the SFA.

“We are deeply saddened at the passing of our dear friend and colleague Amira Yunis,” CBRE’s Matt Van Buren said in a statement provided to Commercial Observer. “The courage, determination and grace with which Amira carried on throughout her battle was most admirable. We wish Amira’s family our deepest condolences.”

Yunis is survived by her husband, Dudley Hancox, three stepchildren and her son, Anthony.

[Real Estate Weekly] — Bill Egbert


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani (Getty Images, WeWork)
WeWork stock has taken a WeDive. Will it resurface?
WeWork stock has taken a WeDive. Will it resurface?
Cartier's Cyrille Vigneron and 653 Fifth Avenue (Cartier, Linkedin, Getty)
Cartier betting on appetite for luxury with US retail expansion
Cartier betting on appetite for luxury with US retail expansion
Gale Brewer (Getty, Gale Brewer)
City takes aim at landlords’ empty retail space
City takes aim at landlords’ empty retail space
SL Green chairman Marc Holliday and One Madison Avenue (Getty Images, SL Green Realty Corp)
Franklin Templeton takes 347K sf at SL Green’s One Madison Avenue
Franklin Templeton takes 347K sf at SL Green’s One Madison Avenue
Leslie Alexander with 1117 Main Road in Riverhead (top) and 2045 Sound Avenue in Mattituck (Getty, Compass)
Leslie Alexander lists pair of North Fork properties with development rights
Leslie Alexander lists pair of North Fork properties with development rights
(Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)
Office occupancy stalls after Labor Day push
Office occupancy stalls after Labor Day push
A photo illustration of 1776 Nostrand Avenue (Getty Images, Google Maps)
Flatbush landlord sentenced in deadly space heater fire
Flatbush landlord sentenced in deadly space heater fire
Tankhouse’s Sam Alison-Mayne with 452 Union Street (Facades Plus, Google Maps, Getty)
Multifamily deals dominate strong week of NYC i-sales
Multifamily deals dominate strong week of NYC i-sales
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...