The Real Deal New York

Day in the life of: Stephen Kliegerman

The new development marketing guru on competing in triathlons, his $3B pipeline and making his mom’s matzo brei
By Miriam Hall | July 01, 2017 01:00PM

(Photo by Emily Assiran)

Stephen Kliegerman is the president of Terra Development Marketing, the parent company of Brown Harris Stevens Development Marketing and Halstead Property Development Marketing. Last year, the firms picked up a combined $335 million in approved new development exclusives, according to The Real Deal’s most recent ranking. And firm executives say the companies have a pipeline of more than $3 billion in developments coming to market in the next year. The companies are currently overseeing projects such as 51 Jay Street in Dumbo, 200 Amsterdam Avenue and a proposed 170-unit condo building in Morningside Heights, among dozens of others.

Kliegerman is a graduate of George Washington University and has been a broker in the city since 1989. He operated his own firm, Herbert H. Kliegerman Associates, which he sold to Halstead Property in 1998. He worked as the director of Downtown sales at Halstead until 2004, when he switched over to the development division. Kliegerman was appointed president of Halstead Property Development Marketing in 2010 and president of Brown Harris Stevens Development Marketing in 2013. The 50-year-old lives in New Rochelle with his wife, Allie, his 17-year-old daughter and his 14-year-old son.   

6:45 a.m. I wake up, go into the kitchen, make my son his lunch and put it in his backpack. Most days it’s a sliced turkey sandwich on challah with mayo, some chips or crackers, and either squeeze applesauce or cookies. Every once in awhile, I do forget and I get a nasty text saying, “Dad, I don’t have lunch.” I have custody of my kids, so it’s my job every day to get them to and from and in and out. My daughter now drives — it is a game changer.

7:20 a.m. I am dragging my son out of his bed.

8:00 a.m. I usually start my conference calls or get on the phone on my drive to the train. If I have a little bit of time on the train, I’ll play Words with Friends, just to get my brain going for the day. I’m pretty good, or at least I think I am.

8:50 a.m. Four or five days a month, I’ll start with a breakfast meeting — usually at Pershing Square over at 42nd Street and Park Avenue.

10:00 a.m. I’m usually out of the office. We have meetings about any of our 30 to 40 active developments. A lot of my time is spent doing pre-development planning with my clients. For instance, on Tuesday mornings, we have a standing meeting with Savanna for the project they’re doing on West 122nd Street and Broadway.

12:00 p.m. Days that I’m in the office, at 445 Park Avenue, I’ll go down to Oxford Cafe and grab a salad. About 10 years ago, I started eating much healthier. I lost 50 pounds. I stopped eating big sandwiches for lunch. I stopped drinking soda. I started exercising a lot more and started competing in triathlons. And I promised I’d never go back.

12:30 p.m. I’m back out, jumping from client to client. If I can, I walk. I wear Cole Haans with a Nike Air sole. We’re working with SJP Properties on 200 Amsterdam Avenue. Their office is all the way over at 11 Times Square. At the end of the day, when I look at my phone, I say, “Wow, I’ve walked four miles.” I am often with our director of business development, Robin Schneiderman, as well as Brendan Aguayo, Roberta Benzilio, Bill Ross and Hunter Frick.

2:00 p.m. Often, my day will take me to Brooklyn. We’re working on the Hendrik at 509 Pacific Street. Sometimes from there we go to Long Island City to look at a project Adam America is developing. We also have a project in Astoria with a company called Rock Farmer. I would say walking and mass transit account for 90 percent of my transportation.

3:00 p.m. If I feel like I’m dragging, I’ll grab an iced coffee. And sometimes I’ll grab a power bar or some nuts. I only started drinking coffee 18 months ago. I’ve never been a person who’s had trouble keeping my energy level up.

3:30 p.m. I’ll check in to make sure [my kids] are home or wherever they are supposed to be. During the day, I’m also coordinating with my wife, Allie. But I’m responsible for the kids, because they’re not her kids. She’s a private mortgage banker at Wells Fargo. We met at a REBNY event in 2005 — Allie was talking to one of our brokers, and the broker said, “You really need to meet Steve.” We were fast friends before starting to date in 2006, and we married in 2007.

4:00 p.m. If I have the time, or if I need to process my thoughts, I take a walk around the block and just breathe and refocus myself. I definitely get emotional when a project isn’t going as well as we wanted or expected it to. Thank god, it doesn’t happen that often.

5:00 p.m. I usually come back to my desk to a stack of paper. Our assistant controller leaves me a pile of invoices to review and approve.

6:00 p.m. Two days a week, I try to get home to my kids by 7:30 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. But other days of the week, there are charity events, speaking events, open houses, grand openings and panel discussions. It’s part of the job.

7:00 p.m. In the summer, I try to swim a half-mile every day at the Bronxville Field Club, where my wife and I are currently summer members. On weekends, I like to bike 30 or so miles, and I run when I have to. I’ve competed in three sprint triathlons in Naples, Florida, over the past few years.

8:00 p.m. [For dinner], my daughter likes salmon, my son is in the pasta and chicken phase, and I like to barbecue. For a treat, my kids love when I make them matzo brei. I am proud to say my mother taught me how to make it very well.

9:00 p.m. I’m usually catching up with [the kids]. Did they do their homework? What’s their schedule for the next morning? Is my daughter going to drive my son to school or am I going to drop him off? And then I’m starting to organize for the next day.

11:30 p.m. I am getting in bed. I’ll usually watch the news. And if I want to take my mind off things, I love “The Big Bang Theory.” I fall asleep easily. I have a unique ability to put things aside, even on the most stressful of days. I’m able to say, “OK, it happened, it’s time to go to bed, we’ll pick it up in the morning.”