“What I did for the gig” is a weekly web feature that chronicles the outlandish, risky and comical strategies that residential and commercial real estate brokers have used to land listings, clients and jobs.
Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. So may go the proverb, but for David Maundrell, founder of aptsandlofts.com, doing just that led him to the golden egg of his first new development contract.
In January 2003, Maundrell — who a few months earlier had started the Brooklyn residential brokerage in a 550-square-foot office in an industrial stretch of Williamsburg — was gunning for his first job marketing a new development. He had his sights set on a 14-unit condominium building planned for 20 Broadway, just off Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, being developed by real estate investor Louis Silverman. (Silverman would later sell the parcels of land that became the Edge condos.)
“I said, ‘Listen, I need an agreement,’” Maundrell recalls telling Silverman, who had christened the development the Broadway Riverview, “and he said, ‘Come in and give me a proposal.’”
Maundrell went back to his office, and with the help of his graphic designer wife and a programmer, banged out a working website for the development, complete with a logo and images—and set it to go live online.
A fortnight later, Maundrell sauntered into Silverman’s office.
“I said, ‘Do me a favor, go to www.broadwayriverview.com,’” Maundrell remembers saying then, the chutzpah of the move evoking a chuckle even a decade later. “He goes to the website and saw we had created a full-blown site on my dime. I even offered to sell the domain back to him if he didn’t like what he saw.”
A flabbergasted Silverman signed a contract shortly after, and Maundrell later won the business for another one of his projects, the Bridgeview condo building at 26 Broadway in Williamsburg.
Maundrell, whose brokerage recently opened a second office in Cobble Hill, has won several plum projects recently, among them 27 on 27th, a luxury 141-unit rental project in Long Island City developed by Heatherwood Communities, and the 44-unit condo-turned-rental Jardin development in Williamsburg.
But the way in which he pulled off his first marquee deal — and Silverman’s reaction — make Broadway Riverview a special place. “You remember the look on his face,” he said.
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