Fortune partners with Christie’s

Edgardo Defortuna cited the tech, branding that comes with Christie’s affiliation

Thad Wong and Edgardo Defortuna (@properties, Fortune, Getty)
Thad Wong and Edgardo Defortuna (@properties, Fortune, Getty)

Fortune International Group is partnering with Christie’s International Real Estate, becoming Christie’s affiliate in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, The Real Deal has learned.

Miami-based Fortune, one of the largest independent brokerages in South Florida, will continue to be fully owned by the Defortuna family. The affiliation comes nearly a year after Chicago-based @properties entered into a 100-year lease/brand license agreement with Christie’s. It gives Fortune and its more than 600 agents access to @properties’ technology, Christie’s marketing, and agent training resources, according to a press release.

Fortune’s brokerage is now Fortune International Christie’s Real Estate. The affiliation does not apply to Fortune’s new development sales or development business, said Thad Wong, an @properties co-founder.

Fortune signed a 10-year deal with Christie’s with the option to extend, said Edgardo Defortuna, Fortune’s president and CEO. With the partnership, Christie’s gains a foothold in the luxury market in Latin America, which Fortune has long dominated.

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Fortune has been approached by all the major brands over the years, but Defortune said he “was never convinced that it really added any significant value” until he met with Christie’s. Defortuna said the technology, including the integrated content management system, was “better than Compass, with all due respect.”

“The overall combination sounded like something we shouldn’t pass up,” he said. Fortune will pay a per-transaction fee for Christie’s services. Defortuna and Wong declined to disclose the specific fees.

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Fortune plans to open an office in Fort Lauderdale later this year and expand further into Broward County, Defortuna said. The firm, with Christie’s branding, plans to expand in Europe, where it already has relationships in Spain, and work with Christie’s-affiliated firms across the U.S. in markets from which buyers are migrating.

Fortune had an alliance with New York City-based Warburg Realty until Coldwell Banker acquired Warburg last year, and it also had a partnership with London-based Savills PLC.

EWM, now Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty, was the longtime Christie’s affiliate in Miami-Dade and Broward counties until @properties acquired the Christie’s rights.

Christie’s is affiliated with Premier Estate Properties in Palm Beach, and recently secured an affiliation with Naples-based John R. Wood Properties.

“It was very important to the auction house that we have an affiliate in Miami because it’s one of the areas that has been growing the most,” Wong of @properties said. Fortune had been in talks with Christie’s prior to the acquisition, and the new Christie’s resumed those talks, Wong said. He also referred to the migration of New Yorkers to South Florida as a reason to establish the East Coast New York to Miami connection.

“The world is becoming smaller and smaller in terms of the connections you need to have,” Defortuna said.