Insights from TRD: Price cuts key to sales at Africa Israel’s 20 Pine

By Adam Pincus | January 17, 2011 12:26PM

Real estate developer Africa Israel USA made major investments in residential conversion projects during the boom years. Two of its Downtown condominium projects, 111 Fulton Street and 20 Pine Street, hit successful milestones last month, but serious challenges remain for two others, the Upper West Side’s Apthorp and the Clock Tower, formerly the Metropolitan Life headquarters at 5 Madison Avenue.
This week, Lori Ordover, a sales and marketing consultant to Africa Israel, talks to Insights from The Real Deal about how the company cut prices by as much as 30 percent to attract sales at 20 Pine Street, where prices ranged from a low of $666 per foot in 2009 to more than $1,000 per foot recently. Forty units remain for sale.

Asked if she thought the company left money on the table as she compared the low $700 per foot deals to the $1,000 per foot deals, she said, “We really try hard to sell at the market. If I were starting sales today in this building, instead of three years ago — right when the market took its downturn — we would be pricing at a higher number.” (Note: correction appended).

She also addresses why Shvo Marketing, the former exclusive sales agent at 20 Pine Street, was replaced as announced last week by Warburg Realty Partnership, despite hitting the 90 percent-sold mark. She would not discuss any aspects of the 163 condominium units being marketed at the Apthorp at 390 West End Avenue or the 100-unit Clock Tower, which is looking to secure construction financing.