Real estate broker, Heights Cafe owner, and lifelong Brooklyn booster Glenn Markman died of stomach cancer on Nov. 4.
A Bensonhurst native, Markman also owned Dellarocco’s Pizza in Brooklyn Heights with his brother, father, and a family friend. Markman’s ahead-of-the-curve vision for real estate deals helped transform Kings County into a hub of economic activity. He spent decades working to bring big-time corporate operations to the borough, MakerBot and the Nets’ company office and practice facility among them. Markman was a broker for the last 12 years at Cushman and Wakefield. An executive there said the man always had home on his mind.
“He lived, breathed, and promoted all things Brooklyn,” said Bruce Mosler, a chairman at the firm. “Everything he thought about and cared about outside of his family had to do with the borough of Brooklyn.”
Markman spent nearly half of his life helping businesses find digs on this side of the East River, especially Downtown, envisioning the area as a potential center for the tech sector back when most realtors still thought of it as a receptacle for back-office operations, according to the head of a Downtown business group.
“He was one of the first people to articulate Downtown Brooklyn as a hub for the technology economy,” said Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “He was visionary in that respect.”
Real estate mogul Bruce Ratner, who oversaw the building of MetroTech Center, the Barclays Center, and Atlantic Terminal mall, remembered Markman as an early ally.
“We were drawn together in the late 1980s by a shared vision of Brooklyn as a center of vitality, energy, and immense economic and cultural possibility,” Ratner said in a statement. “Most people had written the borough off, but Glenn, who was born and raised on its streets, was that rare and passionate believer who felt drawn to act.”
In recent years Markman clinched deals for MakerBot’s production facility and the Nets practice compound, both in Sunset Park’s Industry City. The complex was also the home of Markman’s latest endeavor, BKLYN1834, which seeks to foster creativity by providing a platform for artists, musicians, and small-scale manufacturers to connect and share their work.
Judy Stanton, executive director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, said Markman had a big impact on Montague Street, but stressed that his influence extended more broadly through projects like BKLYN1834.
“He was an important member of the Downtown business community,” Stanton said. “But his reach went much further. He was forward-thinking and really had some innovative ideas.”
Mosler pointed out that Markman worked outside of his home borough, including inking a deal to get a National Basketball Association retail store on the distant island of Manhattan. But, he said, Brooklyn was always foremost in his thoughts.
“His love and passion, and first inkling were always about Brooklyn,” Mosler said.
Markman is survived by his wife Jan Testori-Markman, their son Clio, and daughter Edie Ray.
His family has established the Glenn Markman Memorial Fund in his memory. Contributions can be made to: The New York Community Trust — Glenn Markman Memorial Fund, 909 Third Ave., 22nd Fl., New York, NY, 10022.