The Real Deal New York

In wake of Town settlement, two of firm’s top-grossing brokers jump to Elliman

Frank Arends and Daniela Zakarya sold penthouse at 445 Lafayette Street last year
By Katherine Clarke | March 05, 2014 11:15AM

Two of Town Residential’s top-grossing brokers, Frank Arends and Daniela Zakarya, have defected to Douglas Elliman, their former firm. The moves comes just as Town’s owners, Joseph Sitt and Andrew Heiberger, have settled their drawn-out legal battle for control of the firm. (The two reached a settlement last night.)

In a joint statement, Heiberger and Sitt said: “Frank’s and Daniela’s departure is extremely unfortunate. They are the quintessential Town representatives and were enjoying tremendous success here. We are sorry that our public dispute caused them to leave our firm. They will always have an office waiting for them should they decide to return”

Last year, partners Arends and Zakarya sold a penthouse at 445 Lafayette Street for $14.25 million and represented Robert Duffy, the president of fashion designer Marc Jacobs, in his $11.3 million acquisition of a townhouse at 62 West 12th Street.

Arends, one of Town’s three high-producing agent, is also the resident broker at 555 West 23rd Street, where he lives.

The two brokers will be based out of the Eliman’s downtown office at 26 West 17th Street.

Arends told The Real Deal that he’s glad that Heiberger and Sitt reached a settlement in their “toxic” spat, but that it was time for him to move on.

“The people at Town deserve a happy, good future,” he said. “I was in the top tier at Town but there are people at Elliman who are in even better shape. All the key players in the New York market are in one office right now. [Working alongside them] will give me something to aspire to.”

In a statement to TRD, Dottie Herman, president and CEO of Elliman, said: “Frank is a top-notch broker who possesses great knowledge of the New York market. His expertise and professionalism earned him the trust and loyalty of his buyers and sellers and I am thrilled to welcome him back home to Douglas Elliman.”

The Heiberger-Sitt dispute began in January when Sitt refused to renew Heiberger’s contract as CEO. Sitt claimed that Heiberger had failed to meet the financial targets the two agreed to when Thor first invested in 2011. Heiberger denied those claims.

Last month, another of Town’s top brokers, Patty LaRocco, also jumped to Elliman.

  • Super Samuel

    Daniela Zakarya and Frank Arends are two of the nicest, level headed and professional people in this industry. Best of luck to them. There is no doubt they will succeed wherever they go.

  • JJ Bonamus

    The Real Deal needs to get its facts straight about who produces what amount at TOWN. This article is definitely wrong.

    • …says the #1 and #2 actual top producing agents

  • alabaster columns

    I agree with you JJ. “one of Town’s three high-producing agents” Yeah, ok….Fact check please! Just Sayin!

  • Ginger Feet

    I like Frank and Daniela, super sweet people. But it’s true real deals facts are always wrong, it’s like the national enquirer for real estate.

  • RealMan

    Frank was a top tier agent. Definitely not the #1 at TOWN, but very successful. Daniela just assists & tries to take credit for his work. She adds no real value. I wish Frank the best of luck. Really nice, professional guy.

    • disqus_biixlyodTL

      Why would you say that about her? That’s really mean, and unprofessional. A real man wouldn’t insult a woman like that. Man up, you loser.

      • Tracy Thomas

        Daniela was my inspiration to move to TOWN. She is a terrific person and a fantastic agent. Leaders need No luck. Congratulations~

    • under the radar

      Why does not one talk about the $100,000 Elliman is paying as “signing bonuses”?

  • RayBlaze

    They are both great people and wish them the best of luck!

    • rayblaze

      Their energy will definitely be missed in the office!

  • JTC

    For some reason folks on these threads like to argue and say the stupidest things about their peers. Stop hating others and talking down what someone has accomplished, and work to be a better professional, day in and day out. The ego that some of you have in this industry is simply disgusting. Kudos to Daniela and her partner. Best of luck with the move!

  • jon

    Frank worked for DE prior to TOWN so he is back @ the 17th Street office…same group as before. Nothing new to that but will he get the $100k signing bonus DE is offering agents to jump ship???

  • Char4Dew

    While Andrew is smart he is far from loyal to anyone who had been loyal to him. KARMA is a funny thing. Good luck…Elliman is a nice firm. :)

  • Long john

    Brokers work on commission, and they usually have their own clients.
    So why would they actually care what firm they work for? I mean it’s there own team, their own listings, they’re not salaried employees, so what’s their incentive?
    I know this question is very basic, but I’m not from the industry and trying to learn.
    Is it that at their old place they got for example 40% of the commission and 60% went to TOWN and wit hello man the negotiated for example that they’ll keep 50% of their commission?
    Or is it that some buildings go to elliman first as opposed to naming a broker and then Ellimabbgives it’s people that action?

    • Say what

      Elliman could have taken advantage of the situation at Town and offered a commission structure that couldn’t be beat. Also, potential clients might not want to do business with a brokerage that has been involved in internal struggles.