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Store wars have happy ending for busy partners.

When brokers Cory Zelnik and Jeff Winick first met, it was during a lease negotiation in which the two were representing opposite sides.

For two years, the pair bargained on and off but just couldn't seem to hash out a deal, mainly because the tenant, a major retailer represented by Zelnik, was having second thoughts regarding its expansion plans.

The lease wound up never happening, but Winick came away so impressed with Zelnik's skill, he invited Zelnik to interview for a position at his firm, Winick Realty, which predominantly did landlord representation. This time it took the pair all of an hour to hammer out a deal.

With Zelnik taking the position of Winick's right hand man at the firm--which has over 25 brokers--the pair have gone on to broker a streak of big leases over the past decade.

Zelnik's presence has helped the firm to take on a significant chunk of tenant rep work with an impressive list of clients.

Their practice has been to forge relationships with retailers who are poised to become behemoths. Such was the case when the pair began handling Blockbuster Video's Manhattan leases in the early 90s in a partnership that blossomed and became evermore lucrative as Blockbuster experienced growth in the metro area throughout the decade.

"They were already big, but they didn't have that presence in Manhattan really," said Zelnik, who joined Winick Realty as a senior broker, but ascended to the status of joint owner of the firm with Winick seven years ago. "We helped them expand their presence here."

For the past eight years, the pair has been the exclusive brokers for drugstore, Duane Reade. a particularly lucrative assignment for which the aggregate leased square footage totals in the hundreds of thousands.

"We took then: on at about 50 stores and now they're at about 250," Zelnik said.

As if the aforementioned two retailers, whose name recognition gives a clue as to the scale of their space needs, weren't big enough assignments, Zelnik and Winick also handle Starbucks' leases in the outer boroughs and have found more than 50 stores for the coffee-making giant over the last eight years.

They have also had the coveted chance to co-broker a number of Manhattan stores for Starbucks with the retailer's exclusive Manhattan broker, David Firestein.

Of the other major retailers handled by the pair that fit into what Zelnik describes as "nuts and bolts" type tenants, are Exxon Mobil gas stations and JP Morgan Chase.

Before coming to Winick Realty, Zelnik worked for CVS in its real estate department and at a time when the pharmacy was busily expanding its number of stores. He brings to his partnership with Winick a corporate background that he says compliments Winick's more relaxed style.

The pair are currently finding space for such tenants right now such as Bonefish Grill, Cheeseburger in Paradise and Planet, startups new to the New York area that both Zelnik and Winick feel could go on to find major success and provide much leasing work in the future.

"The way a lot of these types of tenants enter the city is by first surrounding it," Winick said.

"They enter the market by first taking space in New Jersey, or the outer boroughs, and then working their way into Manhattan where rents are the highest."

The pair is also very bullish on downtown where they feel there is tremendous potential for more retail.

"With all the residential development. there's an $800 million demand for retail." Winick said.

"We hope to handle a lot of space down there, maybe even do a department store."
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Title Annotation:PROFILE OF THE WEEK: Cory Zelnik & Jeff Winick Winick Realty; Winick Realty
Author:Geiger, Daniel
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jun 15, 2005
Previous Article:Massey Knakal Realty Services.
Next Article:Finance giant inks 130,000 s/f deal for city HQ.

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