The Neighborhood Changers
Building, blocking, brokering, they’re transforming the city piece by piece.
Willie Kathryn Suggs, Willie Kathryn Suggs Harlem Real Estate
Predicting another Renaissance, Suggs moved into Harlem in 1985, got to know her neighbors, and eventually matched hundreds of them with buyers willing to pay top dollar. She’s sold dozens of these houses many times over.
(2.) MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS/
Lee Bollinger, Columbia University
The beast that ate upper Manhattan continues to grow, with a proposed Manhattanville campus that will include a neuroscience research center and a public math and science high school. Detractors may cry foul, but there’s no denying Columbia’s power to transform a neighborhood (see Morningside Heights).
(3.) TIMES SQUARE
Gary Barnett, Extell Development Company
He picks the uncanniest places for ultraluxe glass towers, but somehow it works. The Orion, just blocks from the not-so-pretty Port Authority, is a runaway hit, with fans posting obsessively about its progress online.
(4.) GREENWICH VILLAGE
Andrew Berman, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
He persuaded the City Council to stop a spate of “out of context” buildings in their tracks. Now he’s taking on NYU, determined not to let the university take over the neighborhood in its expansion.
(5.) LOWER MANHATTAN
Larry Silverstein, Silverstein Properties
He may be handing off reconstruction of the Freedom Tower, but he’s still got a lock on downtown with three towers he’ll build from scratch.
(6.) LOWER EAST SIDE
Jacob Goldman, LoHo Realty
The latest incarnation of the LES was kick-started by Co-op Village, a 4,500-unit housing project where Goldman has sold hundreds of apartments as cheap, cool alternatives to downtown.
Louis Silverman, G4 Development Group
Decades from now, when the waterfront here is a thriving and—yes—expensive neighborhood, everyone will be wishing they’d gambled with Silverman. Back in the nineties, he bought tracts of land in north Williamsburg, placing bets on future rezoning that would have condo developers a-calling. He was right.
David Walentas, Two Trees Management
By cherry-picking merchants for his retail spaces and enticing artists with relatively low rents, Walentas, who owns the vast majority of the neighborhood, studiously crafted Brooklyn’s answer to Soho.
(9.) FORT GREENE
Pam Liebman, Corcoran
The biggest Manhattan-based broker in Brooklyn, Corcoran conquered Fort Greene way before the big firms paid attention to it. Any wonder the neighborhood is now considered prime?
(10.) PROSPECT HEIGHTS
Bruce Ratner, Forest City Ratner
When he’s finished replacing 22 acres of brownstone Brooklyn with the Atlantic Yards project, the borough will never be the same.
(11.) RED HOOK, MARINE
PARK, SHEEPSHEAD BAY
John Reinhardt, Fillmore Real Estate
Its name may not be a brand, but Fillmore is the largest privately owned brokerage in the city, and the only game in town when it comes to the outlying parts of Brooklyn.