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WHO’S NEWS: Noble Black and team join Douglas Elliman, Jim Gricar jumps to Houlihan Lawrence

Douglas Elliman Real Estate announced that Noble Black and his team have joined the firm’s New York brokerage.

Previously one of Corcoran’s long-ranking top 10 sales associates, and consistently named the top downtown sales producer, the Wall Street Journal ranks Noble 8th in New York City and 44th in the nation with over $175,000,000 in sales for 2014.

Noble Black
Noble Black

The Noble Black Team includes Erik Ternon, Justin Figari, Sarah Smith, Cory Cahlon and Jennifer Kaufman Stillman – veteran agents with a diverse range of skills and expertise from attorneys to Wall Street bankers.

The team will work out of the 575 Madison office – Douglas Elliman’s flagship office.

Black has marketed and sold properties ranging from penthouses at Jean Nouvel’s 100 11th Avenue and the Four Seasons downtown to luxurious homes at One Beacon Court.

In 2012, he set the record for selling Manhattan’s most expensive co-op – a $54 million penthouse duplex at 785 Fifth Avenue.

Before entering real estate, Black spent several years practicing securities law and a season consulting for the producers of “The Apprentice.”

He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Millsaps College, where he was Student Body President.

He later received his J.D. degree from the University of Virginia and studied at both the London School of Economics and Georgetown University.


Westchester brokerage Houlihan Lawrence has carved out a new position for former Halstead president Jim Gricar.

The company announced that Gricar will fill the newly-created position of general sales manager of Houlihan Lawrence.

A Cleveland native, Gricar moved to New York City in 1989, working in financial services.

Jim Gricar
Jim Gricar

He started in real estate at The Corcoran Group, where as an agent he was recognized for his sales expertise, sharp judgment and ability to close deals quickly.

He later served as executive vice president and managing director of sales for Brown Harris Stevens West Side division.

Gricar became president of New York-based Halstead Property in 2011, rising from his prior title of General Sales Manager and presiding over the firm’s growth from 900 to 1,200 agents.

He left Halstead earlier this year when his contract expired.

At Houlihan Lawrence, Gricar will oversee sales and agent development for the firm’s residential, commercial and project marketing divisions.


City Connections Realty announced that Wen Hsu has joined the firm.

Wen Hsu
Wen Hsu

Hsu worked at Keller Williams NYC for three years and was the #1 producing individual broker in 2013

and 2014.

She started her career in the commercial real estate division at Goldman Sachs.

City Connections awaits approval for its EB-5 Regional Center and plans to launch the website to market NYC real estate in China. Hsu will be part of a global international sales team.


Warburg Realty announced that Charles W. Russell Jr. has joined the firm’s management team as Sales Director for its 654 Madison Avenue office.

With over two decades of experience in the industry, Russell has managed the strategic planning,

Charles Russell
Charles Russell

marketing, and sales efforts for numerous international luxury real estate developments, in addition to working with select New York-based brokerages on their corporate partnerships and alliances.

Having held notable positions within the real estate industry at firms including Corcoran, Corcoran Sunshine, Douglas Elliman, and Stribling & Associates, Russell has handled a portfolio of global development projects worth over $700 million.

He was named “Rookie of the Year” at Corcoran, becoming the youngest-ever recipient of the award.

He graduated from Boston University with a concentration in International Economics and a minor in Architecture.


David Fernandez, formerly of The Spire Group in Brooklyn, has just joined Corcoran’s Brooklyn Heights office.

With over 12 years in real estate and $30 million in sales for 2014, David has acquired broad experience in various facets of the business.

He previously worked alongside a major South Brooklyn developer as an owner’s representative,

David Fernandez
David Fernandez

handling everything from land acquisitions to funding, pre-development planning, development/project management, design, sales and marketing.

Fernandez recently sold out a 40-unit building in the pre-construction phase in a record-breaking three months.

He currently has a co-exclusive sales agreement for a 48-unit Brooklyn development, and is also marketing 2752 East 27th Street in Sheepshead Bay, a six-unit condo.

Prior to his involvement in residential and commercial real estate, Fernandez worked in the mortgage and sales industry.

He speaks fluent Spanish as well as English.


Stribling & Associates announced that three new agents have joined the company’s Chelsea location.
The new hires are industry veterans Eyal Zabari and his assistant Lissette Nolasco of the Zabari Team and the brother-sister team of Zafir Uddin and Riyah Mahariya.

Eyal Zabari has more than 25 years of experience in sales and senior level management as a business owner in the worlds of fashion design and retail.

The Zabari Team is fluent in Hebrew and Spanish.

The Uddin-Mahariya Team is a successful brother and sister duo with more than ten years of collective experience in real estate.

With backgrounds in law and marketing, the Uddin-Mahariya Team offers a full service approach specializing in sales, rentals, and investment properties.

Riyah Mahariya is fluent in Hindi and proficient in Spanish and Italian. The team previously worked at Corcoran.


Brown Harris Stevens sales associate John Venekamp was awarded the elite distinction of “Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Specialist” following his participation in the second edition of the

John Venekamp
John Venekamp

luxury real estate network’s Top Agents Conference.

Venekamp was among the most successful real estate professionals within the Christie’s International Real Estate network who took part in the symposium in Chicago on June 8-9. Criteria for participation in the Top Agents Conference required that each attendee be among the top 10 percent in sales volume of their affiliated brokerage.

The prestigious designations awarded by Christie’s Education were presented to each of the attendees at the event’s close.


Real estate associate broker Jay Meringoff has joined the Syosset-Muttontown office of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty.

Jay Meringoff
Jay Meringoff

The 19-year industry veteran is a luxury marketing specialist and resides in Syosset.

Meringoff is a 37-year resident of the North Shore of Long Island. He has been a member of the Long Island Board of Realtors since 1996 and has held multiple leadership positions within the organization.
He has been a member of both the National Association of Realtors and the New York State Association of Realtors since 1996.


Heather Croner Real Estate Sotheby’s International Realty in Millbrook, New York, announced the

Elizabeth Peters
Elizabeth Peters

appointment of two sales associates, Elizabeth Peters and Sapana Shakya.

Elizabeth Peters, who joined the firm in March, specializes in finding country properties that have ideal access to New York City.

In addition to her love of art and architecture, Peters is a certified yoga and Gyrotonic exercise instructor and an avid outdoorswoman and gardener.

She has worked as a professional artist for more than 20 years, primarily sculpting clay and metal.
Sapana Shakya, who has lived in the area since 2008, joined the firm in January.

Since relocating from Nepal, she continues to serve The Bodhivastu Foundation for Enlightened Activity,

Sapana Shakya
Sapana Shakya


a not-for-profit organization. In 1998, she became director and president of the not-for-profit

Himalayan Light Foundation, which she still serves in that capacity.

Both organizations benefit remote village development, women’s empowerment and clean energy technologies.

Shakya also worked in the Nepal energy industry in various management and financial capacities.

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