The Real Deal Los Angeles

After Agency deal collapses, Town’s Heiberger buys out partner’s stake

Deal marks the end of a five-year long partnership

July 27, 2016 05:00PM
By Katherine Clarke

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From left: Andrew Heiberger and Joseph Sitt

From the New York site: A battle that threatened several times to tear apart New York City residential brokerage Town Residential has finally reached a conclusion.

Andrew Heiberger, the founder of the brokerage, has purchased partner Joseph Sitt’s 50 percent ownership stake in Town, sources told The Real Deal. The deal, which comes five years after the two first went into business together, is said to make Heiberger the sole owner of Town. The firm recently made headlines in L.A. when the partners came close to making a deal to merge with Beverly Hills based firm the Agency. That deal fell apart.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources said Heiberger was financing the deal with investment from one or more high net-worth individuals.

The deal comprises all affiliated entities including Town New Development, Town Marketing & Leasing, and Town Commercial. Sitt, who runs Thor Equities, had been rumored to be trying to sell his stake for well over a year.

Heiberger, who sold his previous firm Citi Habitats to a subsidiary of Realogy in 2004, said in a statement that the buyout would mean a new chapter for the company, which launched in 2010 with a splash, opening sleek offices , throwing flashy parties, and recruiting top talent.

“Today’s transaction is the highest expression of my commitment to our vision and future,” he said. “I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge Joe for his contributions to Town over the years. I am thrilled that our latest venture concluded amicably and to everyone’s satisfaction.”

A spokesperson for Sitt declined to comment.

It was a troubled partnership, spawning competing lawsuits in 2014 over failure to meet financial targets. Sitt blamed Heiberger, Heiberger blamed Sitt.

More recently, Heiberger has had to watch as Sitt, who’s been controlling the company’s finances, duked it out in court with Wendy Maitland, Town’s former president of sales, who claims Sitt starved the brokerage of financial resources, causing dozens of agents to leave. Recent defections include Judi Lederer and Jason Karadus.

That litigation is still pending.

Still, both Town’s overall number of agents and dollar volume of listings are up year-over-year, according to a recent TRD ranking. The company was the seventh-largest in Manhattan by number of agents as of May, with 523 agents and $514.3 million worth of listings.

“What has been accomplished over the past five years has been tremendous and is just the beginning,” Heiberger said.