When the boys of summer are on the field, the New York real estate industry is playing ball.
Pros from across the commercial and residential side of the business rub shoulders at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field during baseball season, taking in games, forging relationships, and occasionally, when the action is at an ebb, talking deals and market conditions.
“Sports are a universal language. Everyone gets it. And that allows you to loosen up,” said David Maundrell, president of aptandlofts.com and a lifelong Mets fan.
Michael Rudin, vice president at Rudin Management Company, also a Mets fan, said his firm regularly hosts parties in luxury suites at Citi Field for brokers, investors, clients, and tenants. “It’s a great way to get out of the office, get to know people and talk about something other than business,” he said.
“Business does get done there, all the time,” said Benjamin Levine, a Yankees supporter and vice president of Douglaston Development. But, he noted, it depends on the state of the game. “If it’s bases loaded, two outs, not a lot of people in our industry want to talk about market rents and competitive sales,” he said.
In fact, camaraderie can be the top priority when it comes to crossing business with the national pastime.
“When I started out, I was 24, single, trying to relate to these older, established, married men,” said Maundrell. “The common ground I ended up finding with them was sports.”
Dealmaking also depends on the market itself. With inventories low and prices sky-high, there may be fewer bits of business to discuss.
Describing a relaxed, relationship-building outing he recently had with a colleague, Mets fan Ronald Bonelli, managing partner at Bondee Properties, said, “If the economy wasn’t what it is, we’d have been talking about transactions.”
And no matter what the topic, a loud crack of the bat and a long fly ball will halt any conversation, Maundrell said. “You stop mid-sentence, jump up and start cheering.”