Sotheby’s to launch new development marketing arm

Former BHS exec Kathy Kaye is leading the division

Kathy Korte and Kathy Kaye (Credit: Tobias Truvillion and Getty Images)
Kathy Korte and Kathy Kaye (Credit: Tobias Truvillion and Getty Images)

UPDATED, March 23, 1:14 p.m.: Sotheby’s International Realty is looking to claim a bigger piece of the city’s lucrative new development business, with plans to form a marketing division solely for new projects.

Sotheby’s International Realty Development Advisors will be led by Kathy Kaye, a former executive at Brown Harris Stevens, Crain’s reported. Kaye also previously worked as a senior vice president at Related Companies.

The city’s new development marketing is largely dominated by major firms like the Corcoran Group and Douglas Elliman — both of which have some of the city’s priciest developments on their books. In recent months, however, all firms in the city have seen a drop off in new incoming business, as demand for luxury condos wanes and banks pull back from lending.  Last year, the New York state Attorney General’s office approved just over 2,500 units for sale in Manhattan, down 44 percent from nearly 4,580 in 2015.  Just $9.5 billion worth of product was approved for sale in the borough, down nearly 60 percent from $23.5 billion the previous year.

Kathy Korte, president of Sotheby’s International Realty, told Crain’s the new division will be competitive because of its network of international real estate offices, and its relationship with Sotheby’s auction house.

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“We’ve seen a growing demand from clients who want to use our platform to target buyers throughout the world,” she said, according to the publication.

Last month, the developers of 212 Fifth Avenue — Madison Equities, Joseph Sitt’s Thor Equities and Building and Land Technology — tapped Sotheby’s to market the 47-unit luxury condo project. Town Residential previously had the exclusive on the building. The firm sold 23 units, or just under 50 percent of the project. However, an agreement with the developer provided that the deal could be terminated if the project wasn’t 56 percent sold by Oct. 15. The developers are suing Town, contending the brokerage missed sales targets and fought against being replaced. This week, Town responded by arguing the suit against it is a “sham action” and that the developers withheld commissions.

Last year, Alchemy Properties brought in Sotheby’s brokers Stan Ponte and Joshua Judge to market its 33-unit condo conversion.

Macklowe Properties737 Park Avenue, and Property Markets Group and JDS Development Group’s Stella Tower are also part of Sotheby’s portfolio, according to the company. [Crain’s]Miriam Hall