Ruth A. Agnese, one of the foremost experts in commercial real estate valuation and analysis in New York City, died on Thursday, April 18, her 51st birthday, at St. Rafael’s/Yale University Hospital in New Haven, CT.
Talented, tireless, bigger than life and a born leader with tremendous style and flair, Ruth gave new meaning to multitasking. She was passionate about her profession, helping to advance the professional success of women in real estate and making a positive difference in the greater community.
Ruth was president of Appraisers and Planners, Inc., a venerable full service real estate valuation and consulting firm founded in 1933, where she worked for 33 years.
“Her insight, knowledge and warmth endeared her to all who knew her,” said Jim Levy, chairman of Appraisers and Planners. “We have lost a deeply loved member of our family.”
Though much of appraisal work is mathematical and analytical, Ruth enjoyed the creative, unpredictable side of her business where every day and every project is different and each assignment has its own nuances. She believed a good part of appraisal is an art and an accomplished appraiser learns through experience, appreciating that every building has a unique history, architecture, economics and occupancy.
Ruth was involved in major New York City commercial projects valued in excess of a billion dollars. Notable assignments included the World Trade Center site, GM Building, Empire State Building and the Solow Building at West 57th Street , among others.
A past president of the Metropolitan New York Chapter of the Appraisal Institute in 2002, she also served as president of the Association of Real Estate Women (AREW) in 1999-2000.
At the Metropolitan New York Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, she was a member of the 2013 board of directors. She previously served as a regional representative to the national Appraisal Institute and in many other board positions over the past 20 years. She was a recipient of the Chapter’s “Person of the Year” award, given annually to a member who has made outstanding contributions to the Chapter and appraisal profession.
“Ruth has been a tireless champion for our profession and served passionately and continuously long after her presidency,” said 2013 Metropolitan New York Chapter of the Appraisal Institute president Eric B. Lewis, Cushman & Wakefield. “We have lost a very bright light, a strong, clear voice, an extraordinary person, and dear friend.”
In 2009, Ruth was named “Appraiser of the Year” by Associated Builders and Owners of Greater New York (ABOGNY).
Ruth held the MAI designation from the Appraisal Institute, awarded only to those who complete rigorous educational requirements, have extensive appraisal experience and pass a comprehensive examination, all significantly exceeding state and federal requirements. She also held a designation as a Professional Member of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
Frequently sought after to serve as an expert in arbitration and litigation matters, Ruth was a certified general appraiser in the states of New York and Connecticut and qualified expert witness in both states. She was a commercial panel member of the American Arbitration Association.
In addition to serving as president, vice president and in other board positions at AREW, Ruth served as co-chair of AREW’s 25th Anniversary Gala, was AREW’s first representative to the national Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network, helping to facilitate the relationship of the national organization and its new chapter, was a recipient of AREW’s prestigious Founders’ Award and a current member of AREW’s Presidents’ Council, an advisory committee comprised of past presidents.
“Ruth was a role model for women in real estate, a leader, an innovator, indefatigable, gracious and always generous with sharing her time and knowledge,” said 2013 AREW president Lina Telese, Zetlin & De Chiara. “We have lost a brilliant light and AREW will cherish and honor her memory.”
Additionally, Ruth served on the Appraisal Advisory Council of New York University’s Real Estate Masters Program, was a past chair of the Appraisal Committee of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and was appointed to the board of REAC (Real Estate Advisory Coalition).
Ruth was also a current member of the board of governors of the Mortgage Bankers Association of New York.
She was recognized as one of 100 Women Real Estate Leaders for the 21st Century by Real Estate Weekly; named one of the Top 50 Women in New York City Real Estate by Real Estate Weekly; awarded the Galaxy Award, Woman of the Future, in 2000 by the New York Women’s Agenda; and named a Top Women in Commercial Real Estate by Sokol Media in 2011.
Ruth resided in Hamden, Connecticut. She is survived by her husband Tony Agnese, her children John and Erica, sisters Joan Bosco and Lisa Ryan and brother, Paul Andryauskas .