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The Influentials: Real Estate

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Louise Sunshine
Chairwoman emeritus, Corcoran Sunshine Marketing
Real estate is marketed today with as much press and fanfare as a Hollywood blockbuster because Sunshine paved the way. Having learned a thing or two about sales from her grandfather Barney Pressman—yes, that Barney—and from her boss of fifteen years, Donald Trump, she proved herself a branding genius with every condo she debuted (One Central Park, One Beacon Court, 165 Charles), selling not bricks and mortar but a gauzy vision of the good life. Even though she’s handed over the reins, at least in part, to Corcoran CEO Pam Liebman, Sunshine still gets calls from developers who want to know if she thinks a project’s viable and how she’d go about selling it.

Matthew Haines and Ryan Slack
Co-owners, PropertyShark
In real estate, information is power, and PropertyShark is putting it in the hands of buyers like never before. Want to know how much the apartment next door went for? If there’s a lien on that brownstone? If you’re near a toxic dump? With Woodward-and-Bernstein-like zeal, they dig up every bit of public dirt on every building in the city, all in the name of transparency.

Stephen Ross
CEO of the Related Companies
Related has developed more units than any other developer in Manhattan in the past five years, and its iconic projects change neighborhoods. The Time Warner Center sparked a chain reaction of luxury construction and conversions on 59th Street, including 110 Central Park South and the Plaza, all of which has turned the once also-ran thoroughfare (compared to Central Park West and Fifth Avenue) into one of the most expensive streets in the city. Despite sluggish sales, the Charles Gwathmey–designed Astor Place has similarly signaled changes in the offing for the East Village.

Dean Furbush
CEO, FreshDirect
The grocery-delivery service can make or break a fringe neighborhood. If FreshDirect delivers there, you can bet it’s on the fast track to gentrification. If not, the turnaround is likely to be a lot slower. The “FreshDirect effect” is so potent, brokers drop the service’s name when they meet with resistant buyers, and developers have carved out precious square feet in their lobbies for massive refrigerators to store deliveries.

Donald Trump
President, the Trump Organization
He may have become a pop-culture punch line, and his most talked-about addition to the skyline is his hair, but he has developed more than 15 million square feet of condos in the city, splashing his name on one phallic edifice after another. Among other things, he created an entire neighborhood (the far West Sixties) where there was none. Still a player in the building game, he recently converted the old Hotel Delmonico and named it—what else?—Trump Park Avenue.

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