The Real Deal New York

Sharon Baum

Sharon Baum

By Candace Taylor | March 03, 2009 02:44PM

Senior vice president and director of the exclusive properties division of the Corcoran Group. A specialist in high-end properties, Baum has sold more than a billion dollars of real estate in some of New York’s most exclusive co-ops since she joined the Corcoran Group in 1991. A graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Baum was one of seven women in the first co-ed graduating class of Harvard Business School. Before entering the real estate field, Baum worked at Chemical Bank for 17 years, where she was Chemical’s first female vice president. In March, Baum sold a 12-room Park Avenue co-op for $12 million to Holly Speyer Lipton, the daughter of mega-developer Jerry Speyer. Currently, her listings include a 14-room duplex at 998 Fifth Avenue priced at $25 million, and a $13 million five-bedroom co-op at 888 Park Avenue.

What is your full name?
Sharon Ann Enloe Baum.

What is your date of birth?
January 3, 1940.

Where did you grow up?
In Jefferson City, Missouri.

Where do you live?
[On the] Upper East Side, Park Avenue. We also have a home in Greenwich, Conn. My husband is a fourth-generation Manhattanite. I didn’t even know those people existed when I was growing up in a small town in the Midwest. I have a seven-month-old baby granddaughter so I try to get to Minnesota once a month [to see baby Hannah, her son Ben and daughter-in-law Heather]. They live in a place called the Calhoun Beach Club on a big lake in Minnesota. They have two guest apartments. We can be right in the same building but not tripping over each other.

Do you still have a “Sold 1” license plate on your Rolls-Royce?
I do.

Do you really have a yellow Vespa?
It is a yellow Vespa. It has a leopard-print seat. We have it up in Connecticut. I’ve always been fascinated with motorcycles and motor scooters. A few years ago we did get a custom Harley Davidson. When we told our sons they said, ‘We’re disowning you. It’s not safe.’ So we owned it for like one day. We never even got one ride on it. But we do have fun with the Vespa in Connecticut.

Do you have any pets?
No pets. [But] I love pets. I especially love cats. Part of my youth was on a farm. We had every kind of pet known to man … baby foxes whose mothers had been killed, flying squirrels, you name it, we had it. I always loved animals … When I was young I was a member of 4-H. I raised registered Black Angus cattle. I had my favorite heifer whose name was Roxanne. She was my prized show heifer. I joke that I really learned my skills as a broker by taking care of Roxanne, because she needed a lot
of care and attention.

What was the first job you ever had?
I almost don’t remember a time I didn’t work. In fifth grade, I was maybe 11, I wanted to buy these charms out of a gum machine but my mother said it was ridiculous. I was thinking, ‘How could I make money?’ As I walked home from school, I noticed a men’s barbershop with hair on the floor. I went in and asked if I could sweep the floor on my
way home from school for 25 cents. They said that sounded like a good idea. But after about five days somebody told my mother, and that was the end of that.

What did you think you’d be when you grew up?
I really wanted to be a doctor. I had quite a few doctors in my family.But I found out that I was not cut out for physics and science. How can you be a doctor if you don’t excel in science?

How did you get into real estate?
When it became clear I was not going to become the chairman of Chemical Bank, I was looking for something else to do. I had met Barbara Corcoran years before that. She said, ‘You should go into real estate.’ I thought, why not? That’s what I did, and the rest was history. It was really a total fluke because I never would have thought about it. But I love what I do. I don’t have any plans ever of retiring. I just want to keep doing it.

What do you make of all the fuss over you having dated Mayor Bloomberg?
Not much. He’s a terrific person. Such a strong work ethic. He was one year behind me at [Harvard], but we really met here in New York. On the day I got married in March 1969 he sent a dozen red roses [with a card that said] ‘I wish you a lot of happiness.’ That’s the kind of stand-up guy he is. I can’t imagine that our city could have anyone better to run it than Michael Bloomberg.

 

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