The Real Deal New York

Sotheby’s Nikki Field tapped to lead Puck penthouse sales

Group replaces Douglas Elliman Development Marketing’s De Niro team, which led pre-sales
By David Jones | September 05, 2014 06:31PM

Developer Jared Kushner named Nikki Field of Sotheby’s International Realty to lead the brokerage team at the landmark Puck Building, where he converted the top floors into luxury penthouses, The Real Deal has learned.

Field, senior global real estate advisor and associate broker at Sotheby’s, leads a team that beat out four finalists at the six-unit converted luxury condo, called the Puck Penthouses, at 293 Lafayette Street. That group replaces a team led by Douglas Elliman’s Raphael De Niro, who was leading pre-sale efforts there.

“As we approached completion we met with four different brokerage groups to get their opinions and perspectives on the final product,” Jared Kushner, chief executive of Kushner Cos., told TRD.

Officials familiar with the process said that Kushner had never met Field before naming her to the project, but was taken in by her presentation.

“She understands unique real estate,” he said. “This is just not a commodity real estate.”

Field, a 20-year industry veteran, has worked at Sotheby’s since 1998 and ranks as one of the top three producers at the brokerage with more than $1 billion in sales. Among her most notable deals, is the $30 million sale of a full-floor unit at the Stanhope at 995 Fifth Avenue and the $48 million sale of former Tommy Hilfiger CEO Joel Horowitz’s Lake Tahoe estate.

The Puck Penthouses include six custom built units atop the landmark Puck Building, a famed 203,000-square-foot mixed-use property in Soho.

Field will be joined at the on-site office by associate brokers Jessica Weitzman and Jeanne Bucknam, Field told TRD.

De Niro and Dennis Mangone, of Douglas Elliman Development Marketing, sold a three-bedroom unit measuring nearly 6,000 square feet for $28 million, or more than $4,500 a square foot, to an entity called HNZ Group according to city records. According to published reports, David Ganeck of Level Global Investors and his wife Danielle acquired the unit.

Kushner praised the team for their efforts in getting sales off the ground.

“They were instrumental in really helping build a fantastic product,” he said.

Sources told The Real Deal that there were problems with the response time when making inquiries and issues with gaining access to the property with clients who were ready to negotiate deals.

“You had to go up the chain to try and get somebody to pay attention,” said a broker who asked not to be identified.

Kushner, however, denied that the changes were due to slow response times.

Field said that the developers wanted to make sure the units were completely ready before officially launching sales. She confirmed that the units had been off the market for a while.

Field said that two of the remaining five units will be released to the market when sales officially launch the first week of October, with starting prices at $23 million, for a 4,896 square foot penthouse.

De Niro, who worked at the property for two years, was not immediately available for comment.

  • Leonard Steinberg

    I simply do not believe that Raphael or Dennis were not responsive when selling this property: that sounds like BS to me!

    • Slapintheface

      Leonard: I never had any professional dealings with
      Raphael or Dennis, so I cannot speak from personal knowledge, but I can tell
      you that it is often the case for requests to show to go unanswered for way too
      long when dealing with agents that run teams of 3 people or more. You might
      have high success rates at gaining access because other “top” agents know your name
      and know you personally. But just
      because you get easy, quick access doesn’t mean that other serious agents who
      are less high profile than you get the same responsiveness from the listing
      agent. Often, request-for-access emails
      are (unacceptably) misplaced in the sea of emails that a busy team receives.
      Or, the lead agent might eventually (but unacceptably) respond “oh I
      thought my partner or my assistant had responded.” Or perhaps the administrative
      assistant who is working on a low, fixed salary (as is standard in the
      industry) has little incentive to keep a tight grip on the flood of emails that
      flow in every day and is general lazy and sloppy about keeping on top of all
      parties until appointments are set. Of course, any of these scenarios is
      completely unacceptable. It is the job
      of the lead agent to ensure that none of these scenarios occur, but often the
      lead agent is incapable of being an effective executive. Real estate agents (even the “top” ones that
      make a lot of money) are notorious for being A.D,D. scatter brains. A scatter-brained agent who can barely
      organize his/her own work life cannot tightly manage a team of others and
      ensure that they are working effectively.
      I have personally interacted with tens of agents in the field doing $50
      million or more per year in sales who are total scatter-brains. Making money, being organized and possessing
      skills to be a competent executive are three separate, often non-interdependent
      concepts in the business of selling Manhattan
      residential real estate.

      • john

        Dolly Lenz! Have her return a call from an agent that doesn’t have notoriety. Many, Many top agents do not answer the requests to view their listings. Ive had bad experience where I had to contact the owner directly and notify them of their crap broker. Owner should do quality control calls to the agents they hire. Have someone call to see response time.

      • Leonard Steinberg

        I have personally worked with Raphael to KNOW that he and his team return all calls and requests promptly, not just mine. He has a dedicated person who handles his schedule. This accusation is poorly placed when there are indeed other top brokers who do not respond to calls and e-mails not to mention smarmy quiet deals that they brag about later. Its time to change this!

        • TNG

          Leonard, as much as I respect you, I actually heard the opposite from many many other top Brokers. your experience might be excellent with him, but overall that doesn’t make the whole pie.
          anyhow congrats on your new venture and on how highly humble you are.

        • Nik

          Leonard, you’re right. I think people should always be courteous and respond to one another.

  • john

    I cant believe they arent hiring Trump. Makes Trump Int RE sound like they arnt very good.

    • Nik

      People partner with those they connect with. Nikki is a star who has a rare authenticity you don’t find often in this industry. She has a aristocratic grace and charm that projects through a very relatable personality… she’s a wonderful agent.

      Trump Int is a great brand and from having worked with them directly, I can promise they have an outstanding talent base and some of the most progressive minds in the business. Never judge a brand by a connection not working out; it’s the way this industry works.