The Real Deal New York

Osher hangs out boutique shingle

By Alison Gregor | October 18, 2007 12:58PM

Shaun Osher has left the New York area’s largest residential real estate brokerage to form a boutique firm, where he plans to be intimately involved in every project.

Osher, who headed the top producing team at Prudential Douglas Elliman in 2004, resigned in April in much the same way Michael Shvo, leader of the previous year’s top team left the company in October 2004 for his own venture. Iva Spitzer, Elliman’s No. 3 broker in 2003, left the company in March to go to its biggest competitor, The Corcoran Group.

“I left there on incredible terms,” said 38-year-old Osher, who was consistently among the firm’s top-10 brokers for a decade, and leader in the Downtown market.

“It was a very amicable ending of our relationship. I just felt this was something that I wanted to do.”

“I have a big company, there are about 3,000 brokers, so obviously there’s always a little attrition,” said Elliman CEO Dottie Herman. “Shaun talked to me about doing this. If somebody wants to try something on their own, you have to wish them well.”

Osher said his boutique firm, tentatively named Newcastle Realty Group, though that may change, located at 417 Fifth Avenue, will focus on providing services to new residential developments, something he had specialized in at Elliman since the mid-1990s. It also will offer brokerage services for resales and rentals of co-ops, condominiums and townhouses. As of late May, Newcastle had eight employees, whose names Osher did not disclose, though brokers said former Elliman teammate Tom Postilio was a safe bet.

“I have a number of people who are top producers who have actually joined me,” Osher said. “For each individual person, it’s going to be newsworthy to announce they’re joining the company.”

Osher said that, also as of late May, he had already signed up in excess of 10 onsite development deals. He pledged that any business he committed to through Douglas Elliman would remain there, though said, “I have yet to have a customer or client not come with me with respect to any future business.”

Efraim Tessler, an Elliman broker who worked closely with Osher in the successful marketing of 150 Nassau Street and 260 Park Avenue South, said Osher is an experienced broker “who’s been around the block.”

“He’s a very good broker; his favorite topic is himself; he always finds time to laugh,” Tessler said. “I wish him the best of luck.”

It may take just that combination of skill, experience, ego and levity to make it on your own in New York City’s bruising real estate market. Shvo, now president of the Shvo Group, found himself ordered to take a brief ethics class by the Real Estate Board of New York following a complaint filed against him, as well as raked over the coals by brokers quoted in various publications.

Elliman senior vice president Lisa Wong, who marketed 150 Nassau, said she is not inclined to brave the real estate world without the reinforcement of a large firm with a strong legal division. Wong never worked closely with Osher, but she said she watched both Osher and Shvo develop as brokers during her eight year tenure.

“The people that have left have been very dynamic, strong personalities,” she said. “But Douglas Elliman moves on.”

Osher has been somewhat of a Cheshire cat, as his name has been disappearing from and partially reappearing on Elliman’s Web site, leading to speculation about his intentions, though he was quoted as being with Newcastle Realty Group in New York magazine in late May.

Wong said that may be one of the difficulties of starting one’s own firm.

“The Internet presence is really important, and for a smaller company, it takes a lot of work, and it takes an IT department to have a really good Web site,” she said.

Osher also pointed out that he has no intention of competing with Douglas Elliman. He said he was inspired by a brief published in The Real Deal in April in which Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group, said the future “belongs to small brokers.”

“I’m not looking at making this a large company,” he said.

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