Developments swap brokers to boost sales

Several new developments have changed marketing teams in recent months, reviving the debate about whether marketing or prices are to blame for lackluster sales. Among the high-profile buildings switching brokers was BellTel Lofts, the Downtown Brooklyn development, which decided to drop the Bracha Group and go instead with fellow Prudential Douglas Elliman agents Michael Ettelson, Mordy Werde and Nishila Mustafa. Developer JJ Bistricer said the decision was made because of the other team’s experience in Brooklyn.

Ilan Bracha was on the other end of a switch in March, when the Azure announced that it was removing Brown Harris Stevens for Elliman. The Bracha Group now handles marketing for the 34-story tower.

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And most recently, Stonehenge Partners ousted Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group last month at the Merritt House condominium conversion at 167 East 82nd Street and went with Brown Harris Stevens.

While developers presumably make these swaps to boost sales, Noah Rosenblatt, founder of brokerage and real estate analysis group UrbanDigs.com, said that this strategy doesn’t always work. Often, Rosenblatt said, there are other problems.

“In [the] developers’ minds it will freshen up a listing … when in my mind, the prices [often] need to go down,” Rosenblatt said. “If the market deems a building to be overpriced, resulting in lackluster sales, it’s hard to blame anybody else but the person who [arranged] the pricing strategy.”