Property Grunt

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Interview: The Oro

Below is an interview I conducted for the sales team and developer of the Oro. I hope to have many more of these in the near future. I have always curious about the how a developer and sales team operate, especially in this market, hopefully this will answer some questions.

I want to thank Kelly Kreth for setting up this interview and Christine Hodgson and Ron Herschko for spending the time to answer my questions.

The Sales Team

1. How long did it take you to form a sales team?

Over the course of several months, we compiled a synergistic sales team - each agent complimenting the others’ strengths. Our three primary sales agents are: Samantha Behringer, Michael Deon Allen and Jonathan Davidson.

2. Usually when new agents are hired they go through training; was there any type of training for the staff or was it simply run and gun?

To best be able to explain the product, the sales agents had an opportunity to meet with the Ismael Leyva team, including Ismael himself. Each finish, feature and appliance was discussed in detail. This included not only the apartments, but the common areas, lobby and amenity spaces.

3. According to Kelly, you have closed a tremendous amount of sales in 6 months, what do you owe to your success?

We have an exceptionally well-designed product with extensive amenities including: a 50 foot lap pool, fitness center, racquetball/basketball court, saunas, a screening room and a residents' lounge and wetbar, prime access to transportation, sharp pricing and a strong sales team. Oro is also the tallest building constructed in brooklyn in the last 80 years, at over 400 feet. Because of that, the views of Manhattan are amazing.

4. How have you been able to adapt to current market conditions?

We believe that our sales velocity indicates that we have been able to adapt to current market conditions. Our pricing is right on target and we offer so much more than one can find in many other areas of Brooklyn and Manhattan .

5. Have you seen more foreign buyers?

Yes, we have seen Asian and South American buyers.

6. What are some common mistakes buyers make?

Many times first-time buyers are unaware of closing costs and basic contract and deposit procedures. We educate them as much as possible to allow the transaction to proceed smoothly.

7. Once all units are sold, what happens to the sales team? Do you go your separate ways or do you plan on managing the Oro?

The sales agents will move on to another project – either together or separately.

The Developer

1. What made you choose this area of Brooklyn ? How many other development sites did you look at before picking this one?

The developers, Ron Herschko, who also developed the Toy Factory in Brooklyn, and Dean Palin believe that this area of Brooklyn is the fastest growing and has an exceptional central location with easy access to Manhattan . They feel it offers some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline available. Additionally, the developers think that this is the proper location for this product based on the fact that they look at sites everyday.

2. What is your history of real estate development?

The development team has 50 years of experience developing properties in all five boroughs.

3. What have been the challenges of putting together this particular development?

Helping people to understand and believe in the neighborhood as much as the developers do. It is an area rich in culture--museums, art, music, restaurants and shopping and offers fantastic access to transportation.

4. Did you go about using traditional sources of financing or did you gather up a group of investors?

Financing was provided by a construction lender and two institutional investors.