When Kevin Durant, the reigning Most Valuable Player in the National Basketball Association, wanted a downtown Miami penthouse with a waterfront view, he turned to luxury real estate broker Ben Moss.
Now One Sotheby’s International Realty is counting on Moss to build up their celebrity portfolio. The Real Deal has learned the South Florida-based luxury residential brokerage is launching a sports and entertainment division spearheaded by Moss, who is joining One Sotheby’s as managing director of the division.
“It’s a natural fit,” Moss told TRD.
Moss and his former fiancé and business partner Katrina Campins are closing down Campins Luxury Real Estate, the sports-and-entertainment focused brokerage they co-founded in 2004. Earlier this week, Campins, an alumni of “The Apprentice” realty show, joined Trump International Realty as part of that firm’s South Florida expansion.
Campins is joining the Trump office at Trump National Doral as a luxury real estate specialist focusing on Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Ponce/Davis, Coconut Grove and Miami. While she has represented several sports stars in the past, it’s unclear if her work with Trump will focus on celebrity clients.
One Sotheby’s president Daniel de la Vega said the firm was approached on several occasions by other brokers looking to start a division catering to the real estate needs of athletes and entertainers.
“It wasn’t until we found Ben that we decided to move forward,” de la Vega told TRD.
In the last decade, Moss assisted more than 350 athletes and entertainers with their real estate transactions throughout the U.S. He closed more than $500 million in sales and leases, representing such notable figures as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Durant, actor Russell Brand and St. Louis Rams offensive tackle and former Miami Dolphin Jake Long.
“Ben knows what the entertainers and the athletes’ needs and wants are,” de la Vega said. “He has built lasting relationships. He brings a tremendous added value to our firm, both locally and nationally.”
Moss represented Durant in March 2011, when the five-time All-Star purchased a penthouse at downtown Miami’s 900 Biscayne Bay for about $1.8 million. Today, Durant’s pad is worth more than $3 million, according to Moss. When Durant bought it, the unit was being used as the developer’s sales office.
A similar unit four floors below Durant’s is being marketed with an asking price of $2.5 million, according to 900 Biscayne’s website.
“We went in, tore down the office, built it out and had it fully furnished in six weeks,” Moss said. “The penthouse has the best [sight] line, facing east with views of Biscayne Bay and Miami Beach.”
Since then, Moss represented Durant in five other real estate transactions around the country.
“I’ve helped him with sales, purchases and leasing of properties,” Moss said. “I helped him make educated decisions and structure real estate deals properly.”
Moss is now helping a Major League Baseball first round draft pick find a place to live in Clearwater while he plays Minor League ball. The player needs to move into a fully furnished apartment within one week. Moss declined to identify the player, citing a confidentiality agreement.
“I have to make sure he can get a rental agreement that allows him to terminate early, without getting penalized,” Moss said. “When he moves up, I can refer him to brokers in the other markets he has to go to.”
Joining One Sotheby’s allows Moss to tap into the firm’s national network of brokers, de la Vega said. “He can make sure that in each city they are buying in, they have the [same] level of service that he has to offer.”
With more celebrities looking for seasonal homes in South Florida, establishing a dedicated division to such clients is a viable strategy for real estate firms in the region, said Miami sports and entertainment attorney Darren Heitner.
“It has the potential to allow a brokerage to expand its client base in that segment of the market,” Heitner told TRD. “For the athlete or entertainer, they will have a level of comfort that the broker is an individual who has experience with the burdensome lives of celebrities. When you are moving from place to place, it’s nice to have someone like that in your corner.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article included an inaccurate claim that One Sotheby’s was the first South Florida brokerage to launch a dedicated division to sports and entertainment clients. At least one other firm based in the region, Opulence International Realty, has a sports and entertainment division. Opulence created its division earlier this year.