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.