Selling luxury real estate in Naples and New York City, especially in the recent surge in housing prices, isn’t so rare these days. What is rare? Being the broker who helped a client buy a Manhattan apartment for $9 million from Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in Asia.
That broker is Jenny Lenz, managing director of Dolly Lenz Real Estate, with offices in Naples and New York City. The deal for that apartment, in what’s known as the Superior Ink building in the West Village, closed in August.
Lenz has been in luxury real estate for eight years, working side-by-side with her mother and mentor, Dolly Lenz. The elder Lenz, dubbed “New York’s Real Estate Queen” by The Economist, founded her own firm in 2013 after a decade-plus working for other luxury real estate brokerages in New York. Clients over the years have included News Corp. founder and media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Jenny Lenz joined the company in 2015, after a stint in investment banking with Barclays Capital and U.S. Trust. She tracked and analyzed stocks in industrials and waste management — not the sought-after sexy assignments, but Lenz says the work gave her insight into high-level business strategies. “It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot,” says Lenz, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where she majored in Economics and French and competed on the women’s fencing team.
The lure of luxury real estate — and the 90-hour workweeks for young investment bankers — drew Lenz to real estate. She moved to Naples, along with Dolly Lenz, at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. Not only to escape New York, but to follow clients, who had been making similar moves, to Naples and South Florida, for years.
While she’s based in a different market, the passion for the industry remains, says Lenz, who travels frequently for clients to Los Angeles, Houston and New York. Along with Dolly, she also makes appearances on Fox Business News and CNBC to talk real estate trends. “It’s so fascinating,” says Lenz, on working with billionaire clients. “It keeps you on your toes.”
Lenz has immersed herself in Naples’ philanthropic scene, getting involved in the Naples Children & Education Foundation and the Humane Society of Naples, among other charities.
Her give-back mindset comes, in part, from Dolly Lenz and her father, Aaron Lenz, a CPA. Her work ethic comes from her parents, too. Dolly’s family is from Spain and she grew up in the Bronx, while her father is from Jerusalem. Jenny says seeing her mom work so hard growing up while raising a family has been an important role model in her life.
Another lesson from her mom? Don’t take a rejection at face value. “Nothing is a no forever,” Jenny says. “If it’s a no today it could be a yes tomorrow.”