What I Did for the Gig: Adelaide Polsinelli

By Hiten Samtani | February 20, 2013 03:00PM

“What I did for the gig” is a weekly web feature that chronicles the outlandish, risky and comical strategies that residential and commercial real estate brokers have used to land listings, clients and jobs.

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Five years ago, Adelaide Polsinelli, an investment sales broker at Eastern Consolidated, was trying to nab an exclusive listing for a walk-up apartment building in the East Village. But the owner, a landlord who Polsinelli declined to name, refused to hear her pitch. 

Multiple calls and messages over a number of weeks were left unreturned. Undaunted, Polsinelli, then a broker at Marcus & Millichap, bought a disposable cellphone and programmed her number in it. She mailed the phone to the landlord with a note saying: “So it’s easy for you to call me.”

The ballsy move could have backfired spectacularly, but the next day, Polsinelli got the call, and subsequently, the deal.

“He called me back from that same cellphone,” she said. It was a question of getting his attention, she said. “You’re a broker, not everybody wants to talk to you. Sometimes their agenda just doesn’t jive with yours.”

Polsinelli is no stranger to stepping outside the norm to make things happen. She said it’s something she’s done several times over the course of a 26-year-career with $8 billion in sales under her belt, including Savanna Partners’ $43 million purchase in 2007 of the Children’s Wear Building at 131 West 33rd Street in Midtown and the 2008 sale of the Knitting Factory at 74 Leonard Street in Tribeca for $12 million.

“That’s what I’m good at, trying to think out of the box,” she said, adding that she once spent an entire week visiting 90 different offices in an office building in order to find the property’s landlord and secure an exclusive listing. She even sent a bag of casino chips to a landlord who was having personal problems. The note she attached with the package said: “I’m here for you when the chips are down.”

Check out our previous gig stories on David Maundrell and Robert Shapiro. To share your story in a future column, please email [email protected] with “gig” in the subject line.