In addition to Brown Harris Stevens power brokers Wendy Maitland and Reid Price, new recruits to Town Residential — the new brokerage launched today by Citi Habitats founder Andrew Heiberger — include Citi Habitats managers Itzaskun “Itzy” Garay and Matthew Van Damm, and Bank of America’s Jeffrey Appel.
Town Residential has opened two branches with space for around 140 agents. The 16,000-square-foot flagship office is located at 110 Fifth Avenue, between 16th and 17th streets, and will house 115 agents. A 30-agent office at 88 Greenwich Street is located in the former sales office of Greenwich Club Residences, a new 452-unit condominium developed by Heiberger’s Manhattan-based development company, Buttonwood Real Estate. The building is now nearly sold out, the firm said, and Heiberger will continue to be active in development under the auspices of Buttonwood, which is a separate company from Town.
Heiberger founded Buttonwood after selling Citi Habitats to NRT, the parent company of the Corcoran Group, for a reported $49.6 million in 2004. He founded Citi Habitats in 1994 at age 25.
Maitland got her start at Citi Habitats, and she and Price were top-selling brokers at Brown Harris Stevens. (One of Maitland’s recent assignments, new condo One Madison Park, proved to be controversial.) Maitland is now a managing director at Town, and will manage the sales division at 110 Fifth Avenue. Price will head new development marketing, and Garay, who until recently was a managing director at Citi Habitats, will lead the office’s rental department. Van Damm, formerly project manager at Citi Habitats Marketing Group, is the company’s director of operations.
The 88 Greenwich Street office, located at the corner of Greenwich and Rector streets, will be headed by Van Damm’s wife Melissa, a Citi Habitats alum who has been a sales director at Buttonwood since 2006. She was sales director at Buttonwood’s Greenwich Club Residences until 2008.
Appel, a mortgage specialist, previously worked at Preferred Empire Mortgage Company then became a vice president at Bank of America. He will be heading corporate training at Town while continuing to work at Bank of America. Appel currently hosts the Real Estate Board of New York’s Real Estate Master’s Series.
In a prepared statement provided to The Real Deal, Heiberger said: “We are excited to have Jeff as a member of the team. His real estate knowledge and dynamic energy are second to none and will ensure that our training program is as well.”
When asked for comment on Heiberger’s new hires, a Citi Habitats spokesperson responded: “Citi Habitats wishes Andrew well in his new venture.” BHS also said it wishes him well.
Town will offer an intensive training course, “education advancement” scholarship programs, concierge services and health club and health insurance reimbursement. A custom-designed propriety listings database will be known as “Townhouse.”
Town will also be operated as a virtual office website, or VOW, which allows customers to view listings from other firms in addition to Town’s exclusives. Agents will also have access to video conferencing stations and training centers with touch-screen capabilities.
In a prepared statement, Maitland said: “Our goal is to provide innovative resources and exceptional service to both our representatives and clients… We are confident that the business plan we’ve designed and the support our representatives will receive will create an atmosphere for success.”
Heiberger is choosing to open a new firm at a difficult time for the real estate market. But veterans noted that he is a force to be reckoned with.
“The man is a player,” Greg Young, Citi Habitats’ former director of sales, said of Heiberger. “Never underestimate him.”
Young is now head of the real estate training company Broker Heaven.