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Soccer fan Roth scoring big at the feet of development powerhouse

By Holly Dutton

A would-be soccer player is scoring big as a retail leasing and acquisitions broker with Manhattan Skyline Management Corp.

In the past several months, Josh Roth signed tenants such as the J.Crew-owned Madewell clothing store, TD Bank and Pro Health urgent Care Center.


Now he is learning at the desk of prolific developer Donald Zucker, chairman of Manhattan Skyline.

“My position is somewhat unique in the industry in the sense that my primary responsibility is in leasing the retail portfolio, but I also get to spend a tremendous amount of time in the office of Donald Zucker, one of the most prolific developers in the city,” said Roth.

“As someone who’s looking to learn and grow, I can’t imagine a better place than that.”

Born in Manhattan and raised in Westchester, Roth spent his childhood playing soccer and dreaming about becoming a lawyer (or professional soccer player).

“In pretty short order I realized my skills weren’t going to take me to the soccer fields of the world,” he told Real Estate Weekly.

After he ruled out a professional soccer career, Roth seriously considered going into the field of law, and went on to study labor and industrial relations with a business minor at Penn State University.

“For one reason or another, it never happened,” he said of the possibility of law school. Instead, after graduating from college, Roth worked in a “combination of technology and sales-related positions” for a decade before entering the world of real estate.

Like many before him, Roth found his entry into real estate through a close friend.

“He had been in the retail side of the business for many years, and he was starting up a new brokerage firm and explained the opportunity to me and I thought it would be worth me considering,” said Roth. “He started the firm and I went with him.”

Roth stayed with the company, ZE Realty, for nearly six years, cutting his teeth in the business before being asked to work in-house at Manhattan Skyline by Donald Zucker.

In addition to management, Manhattan Skyline is also a multi-family developer, with buildings all over Manhattan — including one at 85th and Madison Avenue where Roth signed Madewell for 5,600 s/f after negotiations with several different types of tenants and “being patient.”

“It really worked out with Madewell and they fit in with the other tenants, Teavana and LuLuLemon, really well,” said Roth. “We were very happy about it and what’s been going on with that part of Madison in the 80’s.”

Out in the Hamptons, Roth has done several deals on prime shopping corridors in East Hampton and Sag Harbor, including a blow-dry bar and a Les Toiles du Soleil, a luxury French fabric store.

One of the fastest-growing areas of Roth’s firm is in acquisitions of triple-net lease properties. Manhattan Sklyline owns property in 15 states and is actively looking to acquire more.

“We look to close a couple dozen of these deals a year,” said Roth. He added that they are struggling to find the right type of product due to “tremendous” competition.

Now living in Armonk with his wife and two sons Eli, four, and Noah, two, Roth has passed down his love of soccer to his oldest son and in his spare time spends time with his family and is getting back into golfing.

He is looking to continue helping his company grow and keeping its portfolio leased with quality tenants.

“I think in this business it’s all about enhancing the relationships you have,” he said. “I think that’s what drives your growth, deals, types of deals, and volume of deals you can do. I’ve been in the business for nine years now, and I’m always looking to learn more.

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