At the desk of: Gary Malin

The brokerage Citi Habitats, which has long emphasized rentals over condos, may have been kicking itself at the peak of the boom, when everyone in New York seemed to be buying. But in the depths of the recession, as prices cratered and more New Yorkers began flocking to rentals, that strategy suddenly seemed smart. Now under the leadership of firm president Gary Malin, 42, the 650 agents at Citi Habitats are leasing some of the biggest new rental projects in the city. The most high-profile of them is the 76-story Frank Gehry-designed tower on Spruce Street in Lower Manhattan, which has 903 units, and studios starting at $2,630. While leasing up that project is a serious job, the tone Malin sets in his corner office at the firm’s headquarters on Park Avenue South is playful.

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