Brokers at work:
Khodadadian (left)
and Polsinelli (right).
Photo by Jacqueline Hlavenka.

(RealShare New York comes to the Grand Hyatt, New York, NY, October 9.)

NEW YORK CITY-Expanding product lines and bulking up offerings may be the strategy for some brokerage shops. But the team at Eastern Consolidated is sticking to what it knows best: sales.

In response to the increased demand throughout Manhattan and the outer-boroughs for retail development, Eastern has selected a new group to specifically target the city’s top retail markets, appointing industry veteran Adelaide Polsinelli to lead the group as senior director. The firm has also tapped Robert Khodadadian, Patricia Garcia, Matt Crosby, Mat Avital, Ari Schwartz and Jamie Rogovin to provide sales brokerage, advisory, research, financial structuring and marketing services from Midtown’s high streets to the depths of Downtown—and even out-of-state.

“We’ve always been strong in retail sales, but the demand and volume has just increased to the extent that we realized that we really should create an entity just focused on that,” Daun Paris, president at Eastern Consolidated, tells GlobeSt.com in a sit-down interview at Eastern’s Lexington Avenue headquarters in Midtown earlier this week.  Thus far, Paris notes that the firm has already completed 15 retail sales totaling in excess of $200 million over the last four months—and the upsurge is linked directly to the flood of international capital flowing into sector. “People are trying to park their money, and retail sales are something that are understandable to foreign buyers,” she adds.

According to mid-year data from Eastern, property volume in the retail condominium market more than tripled to $780 million from $222 million in the first quarter citywide, and the sector shows no sign of slowing down. Eastern alone has run the gamut of deals, including a $46 million sale of retail condominiums totaling 6,800 square feet at 141 Fifth Ave.; the sale of the note secured by the Torchlight Portfolio, eight elevator apartment buildings with over 23,000 square feet of retail and professional space, including major Broadway retail frontage consisting of 22 stores, which sold for $65.25 million; Tribeca’s 66 Leonard Street, in which the retail sold for $6.1 million; 15 West 20th Street and 32 West 18th Street, two prime Flatiron retail condominiums, which also sold for $6.1 million; and the sale of the operating leasehold interest in the retail and lower level office space at 201-203 East 86th St., which sold for $42.5 million.

Polsinelli—who recently joined Eastern earlier in the year—says the new group will help build upon the company’s already-strong foundation in the business. “What’s unique is that we are probably the only firm that has a retail sales division within an investment sales company,” she says, explaining that she’s completed deals for Diesel and Kardashian in Miami Beach, as well as the Stefano Ricci flagship on Park Avenue in Manhattan, among several others throughout the city. “You’ll see others trying to do leasing, mortgage brokerage, or management, but we stick to what we know, and that’s sales.  And within sales, we have a division that we just realized as standing on its own is the retail section. We do a lot of retail sales in Manhattan, in the boroughs and other states, and that includes retail condos, retail co-ops and retail driven buildings, where office buildings have a component that’s all retail. Anything that has retail in it, we realize we’ve been so strong in that, probably we’ve done more deals than any other firm has that does only investment sales.”

And based on firm’s long track record and experience, Polsinelli says Eastern has seen “a huge amount” of retail assignments come through this year, showing off mountain of paperwork and files on her desk. The exclusives include: the retail co-op at 237 Lafayette St.; the master lease on the ground floor and retail units at 301 64th St.; a one-story double-net leased building at 2087 Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow, Long Island; a retail condominium at 57-63 Greene St. in SoHo; a one-story plus mezzanine and basement retail building at 30-30 Steinway St. in Queens; a 3,000-square-foot retail condominium at 60 Orchard St; a retail condominium at 119 Chambers St. in TriBeCa; an Upper East Side corner elevatored mixed-use building at 1854 Second Ave.; an East Harlem residential development site at 1790 & 1792 Third Ave.; a corner retail condominium at 167-177 Lenox Avenue in Harlem; a redevelopment opportunity at West Chelsea’s 311 10th Avenue; and the 33,537-square-foot Shoppers World in Paterson, NJ.

“No one else does what we are doing,” she says. “Clients depend on us to give them that expertise to go find the product for them. We do a lot of off-market deals too, and we’ve been strong in off-market deals because we strike quickly and selectively and effectively.”

But overall, Paris says the main difference in the deals is not just about numbers—it’s about people. “We celebrate superstars and there’s lots of room for that at the top,” she says. “Most places have a few people that are the name, but we really are the place that these brokers that are known and hugely successful stay and work and collaborate together. And that works to the benefit of the sellers and the buyers because you have a team of seasoned people that are out there representing their interests.”