Upheaval For Agents

David Goldsmith

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Top-performing Douglas Elliman agent pulls team to Sotheby’s International​

Daniela Sassoun, ranked No. 25 in 2021, and colleagues join East Side Manhattan brokerage​

A top-performing Douglas Elliman agent and her team has made the leap to Sotheby’s International Realty on a hunt to do more business at home and abroad.
Daniela Sassoun, along with her colleagues Mark Mistovich and Daryl Eisenberg, have joined Sotheby’s East Side Manhattan Brokerage.

Sassoun’s sales volume ranked her nationally as Douglas Elliman’s No. 25 agent in 2021 and No. 16 in 2020. In 2022, she was ranked among RealTrends and Tom Ferry America’s Best Real Estate Professionals as No. 400, closing $29.795 million in sales volume.
She has closed nearly $1 billion in sales across her 17-year career, including over 17 deals and over $75 million in transactions at 110 Central Park South.
In addition to closing deals in New York, the brokers have closed deals internationally, in luxury hotspots like France and Brazil. Sassoun said she hopes the team’s move to Sotheby’s will grow their business in other countries.

“As any broker who moves just like us, you expect to grow your business,” Sassoun said.
All three members of the team came from a financial background.
Before real estate, Mistovich worked in the international banking industry, with a focus on hedge funds and currencies. Eisenberg worked in banking prior to entering the real estate world in 2001. The three met at Corcoran before joining Douglas Elliman.
Sassoun said the team will not be expanding as it moves to Sotheby’s.

“We’d like it tight,” Sassoun said. “The client has to have interface with me or Mark or Daryl or one of us.”
The agents are jumping to a smaller firm in terms of headcount, but a well-established New York City footprint.
A ranking by The Real Deal of Manhattan’s top brokerages put Elliman second in the city with $6.02 billion in closed sales across 2,680 deals last year. The brokerage came in as the second largest in the borough, with 1,652 active salespeople.
Smaller-in-size Sotheby’s ranked 10th with 358 active salespeople in NYC, but ranked fifth for closed sales with $1.62 billion across 572 deals.
The city’s residential players were poised to welcome international buyers back when the United States lifted a slew of travel restrictions last fall, but a sales executive told TRD earlier this year their global clientele was a staple of the city’s business.

“The international buyer has been a fixture in New York,” said Marissa Ghesquiere, who leads Sotheby’s East Side brokerage.

David Goldsmith

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices wants to be a New York contender
Steven James, Brad Loe chart headcount, office growth to crack NYC market

Steven James and Brad Loe are looking to make Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices a New York brokerage player.

James, president and CEO, and Loe, director of sales, were poached by HomeServices from top posts at Douglas Elliman in 2021 to grow the company’s brand in New York City, where it hasn’t cracked a place among the industry’s elite firms. The brokerage tied for 24th in The Real Deal’s brokerage rankings with $44 million across 30 deals last year.

After waiting out their year-long noncompetes, the executives are betting on a shoe leather recruitment approach to elevate the brokerage’s place in New York real estate.

Loe and James aim to have 150-200 brokers by the end of 2023 across four offices. In addition to the Midtown office at 590 Madison Avenue, expansions are slated to open next year on the Upper West Side and in Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. Renovations are also underway to double the firm’s space at 590 Madison Avenue.

The brokerage says it recently came one step closer to its goal with the addition of Cynthia Jacinta Keskinkaya, a broker ranked in Douglas Elliman’s top 75 in Manhattan, with $50 million sales over the past 12 months and $250 million in lifetime volume, according to a recent Elliman bio page.

The brokerage pegged Keskinkaya, who peaked in Elliman’s internal rankings at No. 9 in 2015, as their most high-profile arrival, but she comes early in the brokerage’s projected expansion.

Ten Elliman brokers joined HomeServices after Loe and James were announced in their roles. Since their noncompetes expired, the pair have recruited an additional seven from their former firm. That’s roughly one-third as many as they need to make pace for their stated goal of 125 brokers by the end of the year.

Instead of emphasizing Berkshire Hathaway’s technology, the pair are stressing the individual attention brokers will receive upon joining the firm.

“We’re not looking for vast numbers for numbers’ sake, we want people of quality that want to grow their business and that want to be part of a culture,” James said. “We’re going back to the old method of really working closely with your agent staff and team.”

The pitch worked with Keskinkaya, who previously worked with James during his tenure at Corcoran and at Elliman.

“I can run my goals [by them] and discuss with them and I know they’re there to help see them through,” she said.

The approach sticks out among New York City’s top players like Serhant, which emphasizes brand creation, and Compass’ tech-centric pitch. The executive duo also didn’t link their arrival with a splashy get, like Side’s picking up of Elliman’s top-performing Team Alexander after its New York City debut. Loe and James have said recruiting is harder now that firms don’t always release their listings when a broker leaves.

They might get some help from the market as brokers are more likely to jump ship during a downturn, when signing bonuses become more appealing.

Although other firms are tightening their belts amid the slowing market — Compass and Redfin laid off hundreds of employees earlier this month while Elliman saw profits drop 50 percent in the first quarter — Loe said Berkshire Hathaway has the financial backing to weather the storm.

“The powers that be at HomeServices are invested in New York,” Loe said.

David Goldsmith

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Richard Jordan and Nicole Oge make it Official with Alexanders​

Jordan was key exec at Elliman’s new development arm​

Richard Jordan, a top new development marketing executive at Douglas Elliman, is joining top brokers Oren and Tal Alexander at their new firm, The Real Deal has learned.
Jordan is joining Official, the Side-backed brokerage the Alexanders launched in June. Also on board is Nicole Oge, a former top marketing executive at Elliman who later took a senior marketing role at WeWork.

Oge and Jordan are now both founding partners at Official, Oren Alexander confirmed. The hires give Official a platform to compete for new development business with the bigger and more established residential brokerages.
Oge was tapped last year to spearhead growth at residential brokerage Casa Blanca, a position that according to her LinkedIn and Instagram profiles she still holds. Oge is also listed as a “strategic adviser” at Side, which after a March 2021 venture capital round was valued at $2.5 billion. She was chief marketing officer at Elliman between 2014 and 2016, where she made a big push on branded content with two magazines, Elliman and Elevate. The former is still in publication. She joined WeWork at the peak of its venture-backed frenzy, at a time when it was known as the “We Company.”

Jordan left Elliman in recent months after nearly nine years with the brokerage, sources said. At Elliman, he was senior vice president and head of global markets for Douglas Elliman Development Marketing, and a key conduit for Elliman’s international referrals.

Oge and Jordan, who are a couple, did not respond to requests for comment. Elliman also did not immediately respond.
The Alexander brothers left Elliman in June to launch Official. They had been with the firm for a decade, and were the brokerage’s top large team. Last year, the team said it closed more than $1.8 billion in sales, which accounted for 3.5 percent of Elliman’s $51 billion book of business.

The Alexanders plan to expand Official to new markets, as well as take on sales of new projects. Over the last month, Official picked up about $120 million worth of new listings in Miami and $350 million in New York, Oren Alexander said.
Their team in Florida and New York includes Sara Goldfarb, Isaac Lustgarten, Andrew Krasnow, Leah Barney and Jared Schwadron, according to its website.

David Goldsmith

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Top BHS agent jumps back to Sotheby’s​

Chris Poore hit No. 7 in 2021 before concluding 2-year stint​

After two years at Brown Harris Stevens, Chris Poore is making his way back to Sotheby’s International Realty.
Prior to his stint at BHS, Poore spent six years at Sotheby’s, where he sold real estate to celebrities like designer Marc Jacobs and “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah.

Poore has notched over $500 million in sales volume since 2014. He was ranked as BHS’ seventh top agent in New York City in 2021, the same year he closed more than $101 million in sales volume.
A Tennessee native, Poore has lived in New York City since 2000. The agent said he was “excited to be coming home,” citing the marketing resources and “global reach of the network” as a draw for his return to Sotheby’s.
Poore has sold extensively along the Fifth and Park Avenue corridors as well as the downtown market.

Poore moved to BHS two years ago, with a track record of celebrity trades.

In 2019, he was the listing broker for Jacobs, who put his West Village townhouse on the market for just under $16 million before it sold for $10.5 million nearly a year later. In 2017, Poore sold a $10 million penthouse at Stella Tower to Noah. Poore also had the listing for pop artist James Rosenquist’s townhouse at 162 Chambers Street, which sold for $11.8 million in 2018.
Poore has sold units at Walker Tower, 520 Park Avenue and multiple off-market townhouses, including 36 West 11th Street in the West Village, which sold for $11 million.
The Real Deal’s ranking of Manhattan’s top brokerages shows Brown Harris Stevens outpaced Sotheby’s by nearly double its closed sales volume, hitting $3.4 billion across 1,993 deals. Poore’s former brokerage ranked fourth among New York City brokerages, while Smaller-in-size Sotheby’s ranked fifth for closed sales with $1.62 billion across 572 deals.

Despite being side-by-side in sales rankings, BHS came in fourth with 1,012 active salespeople in New York City, while Sotheby’s ranked 10th with 358 active salespeople.

David Goldsmith

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Top new dev team returns to Elliman from Compass​

Stanton Hoch Team left for Compass two years ago​

A top-performing team is heading back to Douglas Elliman, two years after defecting to Compass.
Joining Wesley Stanton and Jordan Hoch in their return to Elliman are team members Annie Osiecki, Catherine Slotnick and Alejandra Cata Posas. The Stanton Hoch Team grossed more than $100 million in sale side transactions last year and placed 40th in The Real Deal’s ranking of Manhattan’s top residential brokers.

Upon joining the brokerage, the team will focus on office to residential conversion projects.
“We’re working with [Elliman Executive Chairman Howard Lorber] on projects that we have in mind, as well as some projects he might have in mind,” Stanton said.
The idea of converting New York’s office space to residential units has been in vogue since work from home policies were established during the pandemic. While the residential market has hit new peaks since an exodus at the start of the pandemic, office buildings have struggled to find tenants.

The recovery of the city’s office market has been uneven across neighborhoods and property types, but largely driven by a flight to quality.

“There’s a housing shortage in Manhattan and over the next couple years that shortage isn’t necessarily going to be solved so quickly, and that’s where new development comes in,” Stanton said.
Chris Schlank, founder and managing partner of Savanna Fund, has said premium, Class A offices will continue to find tenants, but Class C and B spaces are up for grabs.

“The bottom 20 [percent of office space] is going to be ripe for alternative use,” Schlank said at The Real Deal’s NYC Real Estate Showcase and Forum in May. “It’s going to be the middle 60 that I think about and I worry about.”
But developers say the city will need to bring back a defunct tax abatement initiative, known as 421-g, if large scale conversions are to happen. The abatement was enacted after 9/11 to encourage office to residential conversions in lower Manhattan but ended in 2006.
Hoch pointed to Dumbo, once an industrial neighborhood lined with warehouses and freight rail tracks, as an example of the kind of transformation areas of Manhattan could see.
“There’s going to be some buildings that the footprint is too deep and you’re not going to be able to effectively convert it,” Hoch said. “We see how Dumbo has been completely changed in the last 20 years and I think there’s sections of Manhattan where you can see amazing growth.”

A Compass representative wished the team well, saying in a statement the brokerage is looking “forward to continuing to work with them through our Compass agents throughout the greater Tri-State area.”

David Goldsmith

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Louise Sunshine joins Shvo​

New development vet to oversee firm’s resi sales and marketing​

In trying to underline Louise Sunshine’s status as a luxury condo guru, The New York Observer once asked if she considered herself the intellectual godmother of Michael Shvo, at the time a hotshot broker who epitomized New York’s go-go market.
She waved off the designation, but conceded in that 2007 interview: “If he considers me his intellectual godmother, well, then, I’m flattered.”

Things have now come full circle, with Shvo tapping Sunshine to oversee all residential sales and marketing efforts at his eponymous development firm.
In an interview with The Real Deal Monday, Sunshine said her new post will be the first time she will be working under someone since she kicked off her career under Donald Trump.

“He is the most bespoke developer in the market today,” Sunshine said of Shvo. “I think his ideas and his executions are beyond description and I wanted to be a part of that.” Shvo’s residential projects include the Rosewood Hotel and Residences in Miami Beach at the site of the historic Raleigh Hotel, the Mandarin Oriental Residences at 685 Fifth Avenue, and the Mandarin Oriental Residences in Beverly Hills.

Sunshine described her new post as a “last hurrah or swan song.”
“Louise is an institution unto herself,” Shvo wrote to his staff in an email announcing her arrival.

Sunshine started her real estate career working for The Trump Organization, where she helped lead branding and marketing for high-profile projects like Trump Tower. She then went on to launch her own firm, The Sunshine Group, in 1986.

The company represented major properties like Time Warner Center, One Beacon Court, Trump International Hotel and Tower NY, and 40 Bond. A merger with the Corcoran Group established the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group.
More recently, she consulted for Fort Partners on the development and sales of projects such as the Surf Club Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences in Miami Beach, which hit over $1 billion in sales and set record per-square-foot prices.

In her new role, she will be based in Bal Harbour, where she lives, and plans to spend five days a month in New York and Los Angeles.

David Goldsmith

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Eklund-Gomes broker jumps to Corcoran​

Ryan Kaplan joining UWS office from Elliman after CEO Pam Liebman’s recruiting​

A top-performing agent from Douglas Elliman’s Eklund-Gomes Team has left the firm for Corcoran Group.
Ryan Kaplan had over $100 million in sales volume last year on the team. The broker said he was recruited directly by CEO Pam Liebman for his new role, where he’ll be working out of the firm’s Upper West Side office.

Before joining Elliman, Kaplan was a partner at Imperial Development Group, and before that he worked at Elad Properties and Naftali Group. In a statement on the move, Liebman cited Kaplan’s developer background as a foundation that helped him grow his brokerage business.

“The development market around 2019 started to cool and my old business partners decided to end the fund we had,” said Kaplan. “I had a very close friend of mine on the Eklund | Gomes Team and he had been imploring me for years to try the brokerage side of the business.”
Kaplan said he jumped to Corcoran to build his own team, focused on new developments and re-sales.

Kaplan attributed part of his success to StreetEasy Experts, a lead generation program that only charges brokers once they close a sale. The program is a departure from the platform’s model, which has drawn ire from brokers alongside other lead-generation services that charge upfront.

“Any time there’s innovation, you resent it,” he said. “Cab drivers resented Uber, horse-drawn carriages resented the car. I’m meeting people I never would have met through that program.”
The team run by Fredrik Eklund and John Gomes was ranked last year Douglas Elliman’s top residential brokerage team, totaling $492 million in sale-side volume in Manhattan, and over $4 billion nationally. The team recently expanded its presence in Manhattan by establishing a foothold in the West Village.

Corcoran claimed the top spot in The Real Deal’s ranking of Manhattan brokerages with $6.47 billion in closed sale volume across 2,680 deals. Elliman ranked second with $6.02 billion in closed sale volume across 2,680 deals.

David Goldsmith

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Nest Seekers’ Raquel Lomonico jumps to Compass’ top Brooklyn team​

Veteran outer-borough agent brings new development expertise​

Compass’ top-selling Brooklyn team is beefing up its new development chops, luring in a veteran broker from Nest Seekers.
Raquel Lomonico, whose Nest Seekers team was involved in $280 million worth of deals last year, according to Compass, is joining the brokerage’s Barak/Blackburn team, led by Lior Barak and Christine Blackburn.

Lomonico’s addition is part of the team’s strategy to cement itself in the new development and North Brooklyn markets at a time when demand is tilting toward larger, family-sized units, she said.
“There’s always been this natural progression that I saw in Williamsburg and Greenpoint where people have their first baby, they go to school here before first grade, then they’re out of here,” Lomonico said. “Now I’m seeing people stay.”

Lomonico, who began her career at Douglas Elliman more than a decade ago, also brings new listings, such as 217 Franklin Street in Greenpoint, at a time when premium inventory in the borough is difficult to come by, according to Blackburn. At Nest Seekers, she was part of the team managing sales at 510 Driggs Avenue, a 44-unit luxury new development in Williamsburg.

“I do a lot of these small buildings,” Lomonico said. “Those are my babies.”
Once seen as an affordable alternative to Manhattan, Brooklyn’s pricier enclaves have transformed into primary condo markets unto themselves in recent years. Compass alone closed nearly $2.8 billion in sell-side deals in the borough last year, more than any other brokerage, according to a TRD analysis. The townhouse market has also been hot, with Blackburn notching a nearly $8 million sale in Fort Greene last month — a price previously unheard of in the neighborhood.
Buyers are also venturing into newer frontiers, like East Williamsburg. Traditionally an industrial area, units in the neighborhood have also been breaking records as buyers are priced out of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront.

Like much of the city, the borough’s luxury market has slowed from its post-pandemic free-for-all: Signed contracts finally ticked upward again last week from a Labor Day slump, but homes sold at an average discount of 5 percent, the deepest recorded this year.

David Goldsmith

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Top retail broker Richard Hodos jumps from CBRE to JLL​

Veteran dealmaker joined by Michael Remer in move to rival firm​

A pair of notable New York City retail brokers are on the move.
Richard Hodos, who has spent the last 14 years at CBRE and became only the second retail broker to achieve the rank of vice chairman at the brokerage, is jumping to rival JLL, where he’ll retain a similar title in the firm’s Manhattan office.

Joining him in the move to JLL is Michael Remer, who has worked with Hodos at CBRE since 2017.
Hodos was CBRE’s top-ranked retail broker in the Americas in 2014 and 2015, and has twice earned REBNY’s “Most Ingenious Deal of the Year” award. His most recent win, in 2020, came when a team including him and Remer orchestrated the Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s 11,000-square-foot lease in a former Restoration Hardware space at 935 Broadway in the Flatiron District.

Hodos’ representation of Ralph Lauren in its lease for 38,000 square feet at the Coca-Cola Building at 711 Fifth Avenue earned him the same award in 2014.
Prior to CBRE, Hodos co-founded the retail consulting firm Madison HGCD, where he represented brands including Coach, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and Tiffany and Co.
In his five years at CBRE, Remer has worked with Hodos on high-profile deals including Versace’s lease at Wharton Properties’ 747 Madison Avenue in February. At JLL, he’ll serve as vice president of retail brokerage. Prior to CBRE, Remer was a commercial leasing agent at Corcoran Group.