I am thrilled to be joining the La Voce family and will be contributing a column designated to the many facets of NY’s ‘real city’ through the eyes of a broker.
Having spent the past 22 yrs. in residential sales, I’ve become a sleuth in the fine art of scanning Manhattan’s busy streets for unusual buildings, new developments, architecturally significant facades & more. (I am greeted by more doormen than I am by family members)
Shortly after joining a small privately owned real estate firm, 22 yrs ago, I was asked to represent a recently converted Tribeca loft building. The total listing was comprised of 4 highly designed lofts equaling a price, of just under 5M. In the mid ‘90’s it was an impressive sales number, for an area of Manhattan, still unknown by many. In fact when I mentioned Tribeca, several asked how it was spelled!
Part of the pitch, in procuring the listing, was the suggestion to advertise these high tech lofts in publications such as Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, etc. I believed they would appeal to bi-coastal types, in the music & film industries. Surprisingly, what resulted, were a slew of calls from location directors inquiring about using these spaces for filming. (a seed was planted). I was eager to present this (outstanding) opportunity to the developer, who with the flicking gesture of his hand, indicated it was ‘out of the question’! (as an Italian, close your eyes & visualize the ‘flicking gesture’) he was only interested in ‘selling’, not offering the lofts to film makers. Period!
I became a ‘downtown residential specialist’; resulting from the success of sales in the Tribeca conversion, & leading to many other similar exclusives. My career was off and running. However, after 5 years, I was beginning to feel a bit burnt & was becoming increasingly disenchanted with the young ‘wanna’be’s who felt ‘entitled’ to a downtown address!
I decided a change was in order.
In 2000 the real estate climate was transitioning; prices were escalating rapidly, and ‘downtown’ stretched a wider span, evoking an even greater cache then it had in the past.
More investment bankers were moving in, and the ‘originals’ (aka artists), were being priced ‘out’.
I was becoming restless, and a move was looming, resulting in change.
I began working for another small real estate organization…. the oldest in Manhattan.
It was pleasant, but not nearly as exciting (or lucrative) as my life had been downtown.
the slings & arrows of getting what you wish for.
In 2004, I reached another crossroad.
It was then that I dug into my reserve fund, and pulled out the ‘seed’ for the idea to merge 2 passions; real estate & film. I developed an idea, whereby I would represent ‘owners’ (of some of the most extraordinary properties that I had sold) and join forces w. the film community. I’d be offering these homes (apartments, lofts, townhouses) for TV/ Film/ PR events, and more. I contacted the Mayors Office (then under Bloomberg) and introduced the idea to Katherine Oliver (the commissioner of Film Theatre, TV ; under Bloomberg).
My idea was to form a link w. the Mayor’s office and my ‘new’ brokerage firm, creating a website which would offer properties suitable for film makers. lights, action, camera…..
A star was born!
What has evolved over the past 13 years, has been an exciting adjunct to my life as a broker. The locations I’ve represented range from lofts to Embassys, with many unusual and film worthy locations in the mix.
It’s been a small but meaningful contribution to my ‘real city’ life.
In the coming months, I hope to broaden your scope by introducing you to neighborhoods that are hot, and those that have weathered the trends by maintaining their integrity. As well as having you join me on a ‘behind the scene’ glimpse of filming a location.