Bracha loses Azure in move from Elliman

By Candace Taylor | February 18, 2011 05:41PM

From left: Ilan Bracha, Azure, Elliman agent Ammanda Espinal, Cassa Hotel & Residences

For the time being at least, the Azure condominium is staying with Prudential Douglas Elliman rather than following super-broker Ilan Bracha to his new company, Keller Williams New York City.

Bracha, formerly an Elliman agent, has been marketing the 34-story Yorkville tower with his team since March 2010, when he took over for Brown Harris Stevens. (Since the real estate downturn hit, many developers have tried switching brokerages to help boost sales at new condominiums.)

Then, in January, Bracha launched the first Manhattan franchise of Keller Williams, a firm with some 80,000 real estate agents throughout North America. He brought several of his Elliman team members with him.

When a real estate agent leaves a firm, sellers are nearly always given the choice of staying with the brokerage, or following that agent to another firm.

In the case of the 128-unit Azure, located at 333 East 91st Street between First and Second Avenues, Bracha said it is currently being marketed by Elliman agent Ammanda Espinal, formerly a member of Bracha’s top-ranking team. When reached by phone, Espinal directed all questions to Karen Mansour, the executive vice president of marketing and sales for Douglas Elliman Development, who declined to comment.

“For now, yes, it’s theirs, it’s Elliman’s,” Bracha said. But he alluded to the arrangement maybe not being permanent. “It’s still [up] in the air,” he said. “I didn’t have a chance to talk with Howard [Lorber] to set everything up.”

Bracha said he has the best interests of the project at heart.

“We don’t want to hurt the project,” he said. Since the building is somewhat more complex than most — it’s a cond-op and has a land lease — the team felt it was best for the project to stay with the agents that had already been marketing it.

“We left everything with the team,” Bracha said. “It’s not a regular project, you need time to work on it and train. We already trained the people over there, so we decided to let them stay.”

He said there are currently a number of signed contracts pending at the Azure. As of this past October, there were 93 units available.

Elliman declined to comment, but on Wednesday sent out a mass e-mail saying it was “introducing the Tower Residences at Azure.” The project’s developers, the Mattone Group and the Dematteis Organization declined to comment.

The Azure has faced its share of drama over the years. This week, a judge upheld manslaughter charges against an owner and a mechanic in connection with a rig collapse at the site that killed two workers in May 2008.

In October, HSBC and four other institutions agreed to convert the Azure’s $145 million construction loan into a shareholder loan, allowing the building to continue to operate while units are sold.

Bracha is still marketing the Cassa Hotel & Residences, and recently signed an agreement to market a penthouse and several other units at 120 West 58th Street.

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