The Real Deal New York

Move over, mega-agents

While the city’s top realtors are often the talk of the town, there are plenty of other agents brokering big deals of their own
By Meenal Vamburkar | December 01, 2018 10:00AM

357 West 17th Street

Some residential brokers in New York are household names. Think Fredrik Eklund, John Burger, Carrie Chiang, Paula del Nunzio, Raphael De Niro, and Leonard Steinberg. The list goes on. But they are not the only ones clinching multimillion-dollar deals in the city. Some agents not known for headlining industry rankings are handling many of Manhattan’s $10 million-plus transactions. Here’s a quick look at a few of the many brokers who have closed or listed pricey deals while flying relatively under the radar.

Alyssa Soto Brody

Alyssa Soto Brody
357 West 17th Street

Compass’ Alyssa Soto Brody threw her hat in the ring for a Chelsea townhouse listing at 357 West 17th Street despite being the self-proclaimed rookie of the bunch. While eight months pregnant, the former real estate lawyer studied up on the property — which was bought by developer Wonder Works Construction from designer Karim Rashid in 2014 and subsequently transformed by architect Andres Escobar — and landed the listing at $36.8 million in 2016. The price tag has since come down to $29.5 million. Brody’s other active listings are under the $10 million mark. “It’s all about earning it,” she said, adding that part of the process is learning how to avoid fatigue.

Liza Nematnejad

Liza Nematnejad
520 Park Avenue

Douglas Elliman’s Liza Nematnejad is no stranger to pricey sales. But the sale of unit 52 at Zeckendorf Development’s 520 Park Avenue was in a different echelon. The deal for the 9,200-square-foot duplex penthouse closed in late November for $62 million after a $73 million ask, making it one of the most expensive residential buys of the year. Nematnejad declined to discuss the deal, whose buyer was billionaire investment banker Ken Moelis. (Vacuum cleaner mogul James Dyson recently picked up another 520 Park duplex for $73.8 million.) Nematnejad’s three-person team, which also includes Sandy Scheinman and Isaac Nematnejad, has sold a number of properties in the $8 million to $10 million range, but unit 52 was its first sale in the über-luxury sector. And it might not be the last. The team had a $39 million listing at Trump World Tower’s 845 United Nations Plaza that was no longer available at press time.

Sonia Seth
520 Park Avenue

Elliman’s Sonia Seth was the buyer’s agent for unit 22 at 520 Park Avenue, which sold for $20 million in September. Seth said she previously represented the buyers — infomercial king Jay Kurani and his wife — on a deal at 310 East 53rd Street. The couple came knocking again when they were ready to relocate. The Kuranis looked at other prominent buildings, such as 220 Central Park South, before settling on 520 Park. Seth’s deals are generally not as big as this one, she said. Her other deals include a $2.9 million condo at the Seville at 300 East 77th Street and an $8.1 million unit at 310 East 53rd Street.

One Sutton Place

Mary Kent
One Sutton Place

Sotheby’s International Realty’s Mary Kent snagged the listing for One Sutton Place — the townhouse being marketed for $20 million by the estate of late Heinz food heiress and Paris Review publisher Drue Heinz. The 7,000-square-foot home has access to a shared neighborhood garden and includes a 32-foot-long drawing room, a library and an elevator. Kent, who is also selling a $3.6 million co-op at 840 Park Avenue, declined to discuss the listing. While the “select solds” section on her website lists mostly properties in the under-$5 million range, she has brokered some megadeals. In 2015, Kent was the listing broker on a triplex at 775 Park Avenue that sold for $35 million to Elizabeth Right, the daughter of Blackstone Group founder Stephen Schwarzman. Other notable clients include Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife Anna Murdoch Mann, who tapped Kent to handle the $6.3 million sale of a Sutton Place co-op in 2010.

Lawrence Sicular

Lawrence Sicular
9 East 82nd Street

Brown Harris Stevens’ Lawrence Sicular is marketing a townhouse at 9 East 82nd Street listed for $16.5 million. The Upper East Side property, which came on the market in July, spans about 9,000 square feet and comprises eight vacant apartments. Sicular — a former editor and publisher of real estate and public policy journal the Stamford Review — was raised in Northern California, India and Singapore. He worked as a real estate agent in San Francisco in the early 1980s and spent years as a real estate appraiser and market analyst. He joined BHS in 2010. Sicular’s previous deals include an $8.5 million property at 50 East 77th Street.

Devin Hugh Leahy
101 Central Park West

101 Central Park West

Elliman’s Devin Hugh Leahy and Ariel Sassoon sold unit 10E at 101 Central Park West. Leahy met the sellers, who had struggled to unload the property since 2015, through their daughter — a former classmate of Leahy’s at Manhattan’s Trevor Day School. The co-op unit — initially priced at $20 million and reduced to $15 million — had two bids at the end of 2017 and eventually went to an existing resident in the building for $13.96 million. “There’s a certain percentage of luck and fortune that goes into any deal,” said Leahy, who before launching his own team with Sassoon was a top producer on Luis Ortiz’s team of “Million Dollar Listing New York” fame. While Leahy handles other luxury listings, his deals are generally smaller.

Linda Maloney
810 Fifth Avenue

The 11th floor unit at 810 Fifth Avenue, listed by Stribling & Associates’ Linda Maloney, is in contract. The asking price was $24 million. The 10-room unit in the co-op, whose famous residents over the years have included Nelson Rockefeller, Felix Rohatyn and David Geffen, went on the market with Maloney in April. Maloney worked in fixed-income sales and trading at First Boston before leaving finance to embark on a real estate career. The Westchester County native said her business is primarily co-op deals across the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, with the $4 million-to-$6 million range being her “bread and butter.” Maloney’s other listings include a $2.1 million condo at 188 East 70th Street.

Bahar Tavakolian
1125 Fifth Avenue

Bahar Tavakolian and Ido Friedman sold unit 14 at 1125 Fifth Avenue — located directly beneath upstairs neighbor Bette Midler — in July for $19 million, $1 million less than its ask. The 18-unit co-op was built in 1925. Other listings for Tavakolian include a $6.9 million condo at 60 Beach Street in Tribeca and a $2 million unit at 45 West 54th Street. After nine years at Stribling, Tavakolian joined Compass in October, where she now runs the Bahar Team. Tavakolian had more than $250 million in sales over the last decade, according to her website bio.

Dogan Baruh
960 Fifth Avenue

960 Fifth Avenue

The $55 million sale of a third-floor co-op designed by Rosario Candela was a big one for Dogan Baruh. He had the 960 Fifth Avenue listing in 2017 as co-founder and president of RES New York, a boutique firm. Baruh said nearly all his listings are through referrals and his personal connections — and this one was no exception. He has represented other multimillion-dollar properties, but a price point this high is rare. “I cannot say it’s typical,” said the Istanbul-born Baruh, who joined Compass in January. He specializes in luxury sales and rentals and had more than $60 million in sales volume in 2017, according to his website bio. His previous transactions include a $5.8 million property at 479 4th Avenue in Park Slope and a $1.8 million unit at 181 East 90th Street.