By Liana Grey
Industry leader David Winoker died in a skydiving accident last Friday at the age of 49.
Known for repositioning office buildings such as 347 West 36th Street in the Garment District, the Winoker Realty president took over the family business from his father, Sid, over two decades ago.
“Dave will be missed more than I can express at this moment,” said Winoker’s surviving partner, Corey Abdo, a principal and executive vice president at the firm. “But his legacy survives, and the wonderful team of professionals he assembled and guided will make that legacy even stronger in the years ahead.”
Under Winoker’s leadership, the firm branched out from the Garment District to virtually every Manhattan submarket. Last June, the company landed a major assignment,leasing and managing a nearly 400,000 s/f office tower at 1450 Broadway near Times Square.
Though optimistic about the firm’s future, Abdo didn’t pinpoint any specific changes in leadership or strategy.
“At this moment, our thoughts are focused on David’s beautiful family and whatever we can do to make these terrible circumstances more bearable,” he said.
Winoker died while skydiving in upstate New York during a friend’s 50th birthday celebration. According to police, he parachute malfunctioned, leading to his death and that of his 25-year-old instructor, Aleksandr Chulsky.
The Chappaqua, NY, resident was survived by his wife, Jillian, his 15-year-old son, and two daughters ages 13 and seven. Memorial services were held last Sunday at temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford Corners, NY.
A graduate of Purdue University with a degree in construction and contracting, Winoker launched his career as a project and construction manager with Lehrer McGovern Bovis.
After taking the helm of the brokerage and investment firm his father founded over 30 years ago, he carved a niche in repositioning properties to accommodate changing markets, and was personally involved in transactions totaling more than one million square feet. In addition to transforming 347 West 36th Street and handling leasing at 1450 Broadway, the firm made capital improvements to a pair of 190,000 s/f office towers at 148 and 152 Madison Avenue as well as a 12-story building at 32 Union Square East. According to its website, the company currently manages 22 properties across Manhattan. “We both ran similar companies, and so we often bounced things off each other,” said David Levy, principal at the brokerage firm Adams & Co. “I could always trust him for honest answers and opinions. He was a credit to our industry, and he will be missed.”
Winoker was a member of the Real Estate Board of New York, and active in a number of civic and charitable causes.
He was honored for his efforts by the Starlight Children’s Foundation and the MANN Foundation, and served as co-chairman of The State of Israel Bonds’ Real Estate New Leadership Division, winning the Max J. Feld Achievement Award.
“David Winoker was a very distinguished and respected member of New York’s real estate community and a long-time, active member in the Real Estate Board of New York,” said REBNY president Steven Spinola.
“On behalf of REBNY’s Board of Governors, members and staff at REBNY, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the entire Winoker family. He will be greatly missed by his colleagues and friends in the industry.”