It looks like there may be some disagreement about who fired whom at One Madison Park.
Brown Harris Stevens said in a statement released to The Real Deal today that it terminated the contract at the luxury condominium building, not the developers, Ira Shapiro and Marc Jacobs.
“Brown Harris Stevens On Site Marketing and Sales has terminated its exclusive sales agency agreement for One Madison as of Nov. 20, 2009,” the statement said.
By contrast, the developers claimed through a spokesperson that their exclusive marketing contract with Brown Harris Stevens had expired, enabling them to bring on a new marketing firm, Prudential Douglas Elliman. Tamir Shemesh, a managing director
at Elliman, is handling sales at the project and is acting as a spokesperson for the developer.
“The contract expired, and the developer decided to switch to us,” said Shemesh.
The shake-up comes on the heels of reports that the BHS brokers handling One Madison Park, at 23 East 22nd Street, Wendy Maitland and Wilbur Gonzalez, had flipped apartments in the building. While not illegal, it’s viewed as unethical for brokers to enrich themselves by flipping units while under contract with a developer.
“Your fiduciary duty is to the sponsor, not to yourself,” explained one broker who asked to remain anonymous. “You are hired to sell the sponsor’s apartment, not to buy something and flip it and make money.”
Maitland and Gonzalez were not immediately available for comment. The New York Times reported that Maitland confirmed that she had bought one apartment at One Madison Park, closed on it and resold it. Gonzalez told the Times he was in contract to buy an apartment but had not closed. Shemesh said the developer would not comment on the flips.
At one time the 74-unit project was about 70 percent sold out, Shemesh said, but in recent weeks purchasers have reportedly backed out of their contracts. Early buyers at the project reportedly included Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts, who bought two units in the building, #27 A and #27 B, and then put them on the market again. Both units are currently listed as “in-contract” on Streeteasy.com.
Nine purchasers have moved in and several more are expected in the next few weeks, Shemesh said.
Shemesh said he is now focused on selling the development. “I think the project needs a lot more exposure,” he said. “Our reach to the customers and to the brokerages community is much greater than Brown Harris Stevens.”
One of the city’s most expensive listings, the 60th-floor penthouse at One Madison Park, on the market for $45 million, will be left raw so that “the purchaser can create it the way they want it,” he said.
When asked whether the developer would consider reducing the price of the penthouse, Shemesh said: “I don’t think we need to reduce the price. We are going to act as the market dictates. If somebody comes with a good offer, I would think the developer would negotiate.”