Ryan Serhant has lined up quite the challenge for his new firm.
Serhant has been tapped by Extell Development to handle marketing and sales at its 458-unit Brooklyn Point, which towers over the borough at about 700 feet tall.
The celebrity broker, famous for his TV roles and marketing stunts, is an unusual choice for Extell, which often has its discreet in-house team promote and sell its projects.
Gary Barnett, Extell’s founder and chairman, admitted hiring Serhant was out of character.
“I think Ryan’s a very experienced and accomplished broker,” the developer said. “[But] taking on a building like Brooklyn Point is a leap up for him.”
Barnett said he chose Serhant to lead sales because of the broker’s “tremendous following” on social media. The Manhattan-based developer said his Brooklyn building was “exactly the right kind of project” for the upstart firm’s brand of marketing.
The project, which has a 25-year tax abatement, is a condop: Its residential units are structured as a cooperative which forms a singular condo unit. The development is the first in the borough for Barnett, whose firm dates back to the early 1990s. Its projected sellout is nearly $900 million. Units range from studios to three bedrooms with asking prices between $860,000 and $3.7 million, according to the offering plan.
Brooklyn Point does have made-for-Instagram amenities. Among them is a roof deck overlooking Manhattan and boasting the world’s tallest infinity pool. That’s where Serhant staged his virtual launch event Tuesday afternoon, finally filling in his 1.5 million Instagram followers on the details of his firm’s first new development project after teasing the news for days.
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The broker divulged his assignment on an Instagram Live stream as a handful of Extell executives, minus Barnett, looked on.
“Brooklyn Point is going to blow you all away,” Serhant gushed. As 2,000 people watched on the livestream, a string quartet began playing Alicia Keys and Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” while a masked ballerina twirled and pranced on the pool deck.
“Don’t jump in the pool,” wrote Emilia Bechrakis Serhant, the broker’s wife, in the stream’s live chat. He didn’t, because that’s not what brokerage CEOs do, he explained later.
Brooklyn Point is no newcomer to the city’s luxury market.
Sales launched in March 2018 but an analysis by The Real Deal found only 43 of the 458 units have closed. The average price was $1.2 million, or about $1,600 per square foot. The building was declared effective in April 2019 with 17 percent of units in contract. A closing cannot occur on a unit until it has a temporary certificate of occupancy.
Barnett said the number of units in contract is now “well into triple digits” but declined to provide more information.
Regardless, Serhant’s brokers face headwinds. The number of third-quarter sales in the borough was down 43 percent year-over-year, the steepest drop in 11 years.
For new development condos, the median sale price slid 11 percent last quarter to $819,000 from $918,000 during the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, average time on the market reached 197 days in the third quarter, up from 114 a year ago.
Buyers looking in Brooklyn also have plenty of options and many, particularly in the borough’s luxury market, have opted for townhouses over apartments of late. The houses are asking a lower price per square foot on average and come with more room and often private outdoor space. Even Serhant is planning to live in a Brooklyn townhouse that he is renovating.
But the broker isn’t daunted. He believes concerns and preferences driven by Covid are temporary.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a challenge, actually,” he said. “I think people just need to know about it, but it’s the only building like it in the world, definitely in Brooklyn.”