New York Real Estate Journal | Karen Bellantoni of Robert K. Futterman & Associates: Uses Retail Expertise to Bring Top Retailers to NY
NEW YORK, NY – Karen Bellantoni has been involved in retail in one form or another since she was 11 years old. Her family discovered her interest in fashion and helped to develop her passion by putting her in contact with fashion buyers from a now-defunct department store called Stern & Mann’s. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communications from Ohio University, Bellantoni began her professional career as a fashion buyer with May Co. before moving to New York to pursue opportunities in the fashion industry there.
Years of experience in the fashion industry led Bellantoni to a boutique landlord that owned and leased some of the most prestigious shopping centers in the Unites States. Corporate Property Investors, or CPI, owned Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island, N.Y., and Lenox Square in Atlanta, among many others. She traveled the country for CPI, familiarizing herself with fashion at every level along with the proper merchandise mix that makes a shopping center successful.
The nine years she spent with CPI were tremendously influential to her career. Bellantoni worked closely with Bruce Tobin, CPI’s vice president of leasing, and the rest of the company’s leasing team. She absorbed a great deal of knowledge about retail leasing, and met many of the nation’s retailers. The experience she gained and the contacts she made at CPI served her very well when she began working with Robert K. Futterman.
Bellantoni signed on with Futterman five years ago at the inception of his new company, Robert K. Futterman & Associates, LLC. She learned more of the details pertaining to retail leasing from RobertCohen, now an executive vice president of RKF. Bellantoni also gained valuable expertise in what it takes to be a retail broker in Manhattan, one of the most exciting yet difficult markets in the United States.
Today, Bellantoni uses her retail expertise to bring top-notch retailers into New York, fitting them into the best neighborhoods and locations, and negotiating the most economical transactions possible. The relationships she built at CPI continue to this day, as she still represents many of the retailers she met there. They rely on Bellantoni’s knowledge of retail and her ability to define an appropriate retail real estate strategy.
Bellantoni has represented Zales Jewelers in securing all of its New York locations. In addition, she has successfully concluded deals for L’Occitane en Provence and Oliviers & Co., including their new flagship lifestyle store in SoHo; American Eagle Outfitters; Arden B, a successful division of Wet Seal; and Dylan’s Candy Bar. Bellantoni has also enjoyed very successful landlord representation assignments with Time Warner Center, Argent Ventures in Manhattan Mall, RFR Davis with Empire, and most recently Sumitiomo, now Hines, at 425 Lexington Ave. She was recently appointed a member of the RKF team that will handle retail leasing and merchandise consulting for Grand Central Terminal. The assignment entails more than 130,000 s/f of retail space and is one of the most exciting retail opportunities in Manhattan.
In a very short time, Bellantoni has risen to the challenge of succeeding as a female retail broker. She was able to reach the top of her profession through integrity and perseverance, a lesson she tried to pass on to all women in real estate. Bellantoni’s knowledge and professionalism has cemented her reputation as one of the top female brokers, not only in the New York metropolitan area, but throughout the country.