The Real Deal New York

Compass hires CORE’s top sales guns

Doug Heddings and David Innocenzi will be "agent coaches"
By E.B. Solomont | March 02, 2018 07:00AM

From left: Robert Reffkin, Douglas Heddings, Shaun Osher and David Innocenzi

UPDATED, March 2, 10:17 a.m.: CORE’s top two sales executives — Doug Heddings and David Innocenzi — have left the boutique firm and joined Compass.

The longtime managers will become “agent coaches” at the startup beginning March 5, a spokesperson for Compass said.

Heddings — who oversaw CORE’s resale business as the firm’s executive vice president of sales — said he “loved” the culture at his former brokerage but felt it was time for a move. “There was nowhere further for me to go in the organization. The step above me was Shaun,” he said, referring to founder and CEO Shaun Osher. Innocenzi worked as CORE’s sales manager in Manhattan.

In a statement, CORE wished Heddings and Innocenzi “all the best in their future endeavors.”

But their departure is a blow to the brokerage, which some say has lost its edge since Related Companies acquired a 50 percent stake in 2014. CORE is involved in marketing a handful of Related’s new developments, including 70 Vestry and 520 West 28th Street, designed by Zaha Hadid. But Related and Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group have a $5 billion contract that includes Hudson Yards.

Thanks to a slower market in 2017, CORE closed $347.8 million sell-side deals in Manhattan last year, a 24 percent drop from 2016, according to The Real Deal‘s February ranking of the top residential firms in Manhattan. “Anyone who tells you it was great is lying,” Osher said at the time. CORE currently has 185 agents, about 16 more than it did in 2016.

Heddings, who has been in the business nearly three decades, got his start at Douglas Elliman and Rutenberg Realty. In 1998, he launched his own brokerage, Heddings Property Group with higher-than-average splits and profit sharing. In 2014, CORE hired Heddings and absorbed HPG, which at one time had outposts in Manhattan, Southampton, Greenwich, Connecticut, and Westchester and Rockland counties, as well as a virtual office in Westport, Connecticut.

Heddings said he initiated talks with Compass and was “blown away” during a demo of the agent tools. “I’ve been in the business 26 years, I know what will make agents’ business churn, and the platform that Compass has is beyond impressive,” he said.

As “agent coaches,” Heddings and Innocenzi will mentor agents and help them to increase their productivity. The role is national, but they will focus on agents in New York in the near term.

Compass has doubled down on its hiring in recent months, after SoftBank invested $450 million in the startup. This fall, CEO Robert Reffkin outlined a plan to capture 20 percent market share in 20 major U.S. markets by 2020. He said in New York, Compass aims to double its office count to 12 locations by the end of the year.

At the end of last year, Compass had 713 Manhattan agents, up from 300 in 2016, according to TRD‘s 2018 ranking of top residential firms. It closed $1.37 billion in sell-side deals last year, up from $663.3 million in 2016. As of Thursday, Compass had 871 licensed agents in New York City.